How Twitter, Swifties, and Live-streaming Helped Democratize the Eras Tour

The work of fan-to-fan ticket connectors has helped make engaging within the community of Taylor Swift fans easier.

How Twitter, Swifties, and Live-streaming Helped Democratize the Eras Tour
Image:Photo by Kevin Winter for TAS Rights Management (Getty Images)

2023 was the year of the Eras Tour. An average of 70,000 attendees per concert saw Taylor Swift travel through chapters in her discography over the three-hour run, resulting in grossing $13 million in ticket sales per night. It’s staggering to think about those stats when looking back on when Swift was promoting Midnights, as she touched on the fact that, at 32, she’d be considered a “geriartic” pop star, stating “they start trying to put us out to pasture at 25.” But Taylor Swift fans, as rabid and intense as they are, mobilized to help each other experience the Eras Tour in whatever way possible, to democratize the tour as much as possible.

Shortly after the release of Midnights in late 2022, Ticketmaster would see 3.5 million fans register for their much-loathed Verified Fan program. It would be the largest registration in the ticketing conglomerate’s 47-year history. The supply and demand meant many fans, including yours truly, were completely shut out from getting seats at all and, if funds allowed it, had to pay upwards of 10x the ticket price on third-party resale sites. As a response, fans began creating initiatives to help get face-value tickets into the hands of other fans. Accounts like Eras Tour Resell not only connected sellers and buyers, but they also required specific information—the ticket confirmation email, a screen recording of the Ticketmaster app, and more—as a way to vet the tickets and seller.

As desperation grew for tickets, so did the Eras Tour Resell account. Their work became a godsend to so many, inspiring other fans to begin connecting with each other for face-value tickets. Jayna, who runs a similar account called @Eras_Resale, wanted to pay it forward after talking to hundreds of scammers and, eventually, finding someone selling real tickets for near face value. “After all of that, it motivated me to create this account to share what I’d learned,” they explain, “how to avoid scammers, their common tactics, and ways you can be safe while looking for tickets. Originally, I just planned to use my account to expose scammers, but then I started to have people reach out to me asking for help selling their tickets because some of the larger accounts were harder to get ahold of.”

As a way to ensure the process is equal for all fans, Jayna creates a Google form for sellers to fill out and, once closed, they use a number generator to choose a random submission. Once verifying the buyer isn’t a scammer or scalper looking to resell the tickets, Jayna places them in a group chat with the fan and seller, monitoring the transaction to ensure no price gouging takes place. “I have developed this method after trying a bunch, but this seems, in my opinion, to be the safest and fairest,” they say. “And it’s also why a lot of sellers come to me to help sell their tickets.”

Cossette, another Swiftie, went so far as to personally purchase 30 tickets to different shows for fans. “I was incredibly lucky to be in a position where I kept getting verified fan codes, or my friends would get them and give me their codes, and that my credit cards were eligible for presale,” she explains. “I’ve loved Taylor for years and just wanted to make sure other people got the experience of seeing her live.” Although she describes getting Eras Tour tickets boils down to luck and touches on the systemic and structural barriers in place that hinder people’s chances at going, Cossette is just one of the countless fans attempting to get actual diehard fans into the venue. “I truly don’t think anything has made me happier than being able to tell a friend, or a fellow Swiftie that I helped them get tickets to the Eras Tour, and then seeing their memories from it,” she adds. “Usually, I’ll try to also send those friends some bracelets and also tune into the livestreams so I can see what they’re experiencing in that moment.”

Fans and non-fans alike would see the spectacle of a show on their feeds, creating a fear of missing out on what is now the tour of the year. What do fans who don’t have the funds to drop $20,000 on tickets or money to travel to various parts of the U.S. do to see the show? They watch it on TikTok. Despite most of the videos being grainy and the sound muffled, a regular weekend evening for fans often ends with finding a live stream to watch Swift perform her surprise songs at the latter end of the set. Most of the time, the numbers on the livestream can hit up to 100k, surpassing the number of people actually at the concert itself.

Last month in Brazil, Swift acknowledged this phenomenon, stating “There are a lot of people who watch the acoustic set from all different parts of the world, which is an absolute honour.” TikTok user @tessdear has become known in the Swiftie community for sourcing live streams, sometimes going to great lengths to pair a clear live video on TikTok with great audio from an Instagram live video, or vice versa. It’s a lot of time and effort, not to mention giving up weekend evenings, just to make it easier for other Swifties to get involved in what she describes as “The Eras Tour (Couch Version)”. For Tess, it’s clear it’s become a space of joy and passion. “I think people start out by wanting to see what surprise songs Taylor is going to sing and it turns into something a lot more,” she states. “There is such a huge, positive community of people who tune in for every minute, each night of the tour. That becomes elevated even more with Fantasy Swiftball. I think a lot of people have found a safe place in watching live streams.”

Although Taylor is the common denominator that brings fans together, Tess discovered just how important these spaces are. “I have learned a lot about people,” she says when asked about what she’s learned from livestreaming the concert, “how much we long for a place to belong and connect and feel heard and valued. We’ve found someone who puts our confusing, isolating feelings and thoughts-we-thought-only-we-had into words and experiences. Into beauty and art. Then, on top of that, through her we find people who feel the same. There is a community where we don’t feel alone and we have created friends who understand us on the deepest level.”

The myriad of reasons why someone can’t attend live events—resale prices, location, health reasons, and beyond—became the catalyst to livestreaming. Although not perfect, they help give access to those who might not have a chance to see the concert otherwise. Going one step further to make it easier for fans to know when their favourite set is happening or what surprise songs Swift is playing, Kyle Mumma created an app called Swift Alert. “As the tour unfolded, we were watching livestreams alongside millions of other Swifties around the world, and we were constantly seeing the same things in the comments: What time will the Surprise Songs start in my timezone if I live in Sydney, Australia? When does the folklore set start? Has she played ‘Picture To Burn’ as a surprise song yet?,” Mumma explains. “One morning, I was listening to the Every Single Album podcast and Nora Princioti suggested that an app could solve these problems, especially as the tour goes international. The more we thought about the concept, the more we believed that an app like Swift Alert could really enhance the way Swifties can engage with the Eras Tour from home.”

The work Mumma, Tess, and fan-to-fan ticket connectors are doing has helped make engaging within the Swift community easier. “Why wait for Ticketmaster to get it right when Jayna can verify tickets are real, verify buyers are legitimate, and monitor a transaction for you? Why wait for Amazon or YouTube to stream the show when Tess can set up a command centre in her house and give more authentic Swiftie commentary than you could get anywhere else? The more the fans take ownership, the more positively Taylor responds, and the momentum continues to build on itself in a really powerful way,” Mumma explains. “We’re lucky to be a small part of the Swiftie ecosystem that has come to life around the Eras Tour.”

As much as Swift crafts and controls every aspect of her art, there are some things she cannot control, like Ticketmaster crashing or the price of third party scalper tickets. What she has been able to do, though, is to embolden her fans to take action. It’s something Mumma has seen firsthand. “Swifties have a unique connection to the artist that they love in a way that is more personal than most fan-to-artist connections,” he says. “Taylor has always been very open and vulnerable with Swifties, whether through her lyrics, her documentaries, or her secret sessions. The feeling of personal connection that she’s been able to create leaves fans feeling empowered to be part of the experience. You see this at the shows with the friendship bracelets and the chants and the other traditions, but you also see it in how fans have taken ownership of the tour from home.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin