Some of Taylor Swift fans want you to know three things: They’re not still 16, they have careers and resources and, right now, they’re angry. That’s a powerful political motivator, researchers say.
Look what Ticketmaster made them do.
It started Tuesday, when millions crowded a presale for Swift’s long-awaited Eras Tour, resulting in crashes, prolonged waits and frantic purchases. By Thursday, Ticketmaster had canceled the general sale, citing insufficient remaining tickets and inciting a firestorm of outrage from fans. Swift herself said the ordeal “really pisses her off.”
Ticketmaster apologized, but the bad blood had already been sowed. And now fans — and politicians — have started acting on it.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez directed Swifties to where they could make U.S. Department of Justice complaints. Multiple state attorneys general — including in Pennsylvania and Tennessee, key states in Swift’s origin story — have announced investigations.
For years, Stephanie Aly, a New York-based professional who has worked on community organizing for progressive politics, has thought mobilizing fandoms for social progress could be beneficial.
“Fandoms are natural organizers,” said the 33-year-old Swiftie. “If you find the right issues and you activate them and engage them, then you can effect real change.”
In 2020, for instance, K-pop fans organized to back the Black Lives Matter movement and sought to inflate registration for a Donald Trump rally. Aly and Swifties from different industries — law, public relations, cybersecurity and more — have joined forces to create Vigilante Legal, a group targeting Ticketmaster by creating email templates to petition attorneys general and providing antitrust information. Thousands have expressed interest in helping or learning more.
“The level of anger that you’ve just seen in the country around this issue is astounding,” said Jean Sinzdak, associate director for the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “People are really sharing their feelings about that and building a movement about that online, which I really think is quite fascinating. It’s certainly an opportunity to engage people politically. Whether it lasts is hard to say, but it certainly feels like a real opportunity.”Taylor Swift sweeps American Music AwardsTaylor Swift swept the American Music Awards, taking home six trophies, including artist of the year. She’s won 40 times at the show, more than any other any artist.