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Beyoncé fans are starting to secure pre-sale tickets. Navigating Ticketmaster was easier than they thought.

Many concertgoers said they expected the worst after the Taylor Swift "Eras" debacle.
Beyoncé performs on stage during the "On the Run II" Tour with Jay-Z at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland on Jun. 9, 2018.
Beyoncé performs during the "On the Run II" Tour with Jay-Z at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on June 9, 2018.Kevin Mazur / Getty Images For Parkwood Entertainment file

When Beyoncé announced that tickets would soon be available for the Renaissance World Tour, many members of the “Beyhive” braced themselves for chaos.

Ticketmaster announced last week that demand for Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour had far exceeded the amount of available tickets — by more than 800% in the first presale group alone.

Some fans deployed as many strategies as possible to increase the likelihood of securing tickets. Others gave up entirely, knowing what fans of Taylor Swift endured in attempting to secure “Eras” tickets. In November, long wait times and technical issues disrupted a presale for Swift’s tour, leaving thousands of fans in the lurch and prompting Ticketmaster to cancel the public sale.

But as presale codes started getting emailed to Beyoncé fans who'd signed up (either via Ticketmaster, Verizon or Citi), many appeared surprised by the ease of securing tickets.

"It was both easier and harder than I expected," said Elena Trierweiler, 32, who, with help from her bridesmaids, secured 18 tickets to a SoFi Stadium show for her bachelorette party. "If you had never used Ticketmaster before, I think it would have been confusing, but compared to past experiences it wasn’t too bad.”

What shocked many fans, however, were the prices they encountered.

"If you still have a chance to get tickets, this is how much you need to be prepared to spend," said one TikTok creator, who said she spent $6,000 on two tickets. "We had no choice. But I have to say I've been preparing for this moment ever since the Renaissance album came out." She did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Akunnia Akubuilo, 21, said while attempting to get tickets to Beyoncé's show in Los Angeles, she noticed ticket prices were changing rapidly.

“I saw there was one set of seats that were like $400,” Akubuilo said. “And when I clicked them again, not like two minutes later, it was priced at $1,100 and I have no idea why.”

She ended up nabbing tickets for about $300 per person, but noted "if it was anyone else other than Beyoncé’, I would not even bother doing all of this."

Other fans who secured tickets echoed similar thoughts, complaining about apparent dynamic pricing on Ticketmaster, which is the real-time fluctuation of ticket prices according to live demand. High traffic on the site would then drive up prices of tickets, causing fans to adjust their budgets during the purchasing process.

Ticketmaster did not respond to several requests for comment. 

In a reply to one Twitter user complaining about dynamic pricing and “prices fluctuating depending on demand and show,” Ticketmaster responded: “Clarification for fans: no prices have changed since onsale began. You are seeing ranges for different available tickets.” 

Ticketmaster has faced mounting scrutiny, including from lawmakers and state authorities, over its selling practices. In January, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to examine Ticketmaster’s outsize role in the ticketing industry. Senators were critical of Ticketmaster, which merged with Live Nation in 2010, suggesting it is a monopoly, and investigated whether a lack of competition in the ticketing industry has unfairly hurt customers.

The company has also been blasted in the past for its inclusion of premium seats for concerts, whose prices vary based on demand, in its “Official Platinum” feature. For example, last year, tickets for Bruce Springsteen's shows were listed as high as $5,000 each on the first day of going on sale, CNBC reported.

Live Nation said for the Renaissance Tour, it will try to “create a less crowded ticket shopping experience” by staggering registration for Verified Fans into three groups, according to region, aiming to ensure “Verified Fans’’ are real people, rather than bots or scalpers.

The presale is divided into three groups of cities — Group A, B and C —  and each group is split into three staggered presale categories: a Verified Fan presale for Beyhive fan club members, a Citi Verified Fan presale exclusively for cardholders and a General Verified Fan Onsale.

The first round of Beyoncé fans — those registered for Group A tour stops through the Beyhive fan club presale — received their Verified Fan codes last Sunday. They were the first group to buy presale tickets starting last Monday.

Jobe McDermott, 24, was nervous about securing Beyoncé tickets because of his experience buying Taylor Swift tickets in November.

“I managed to get selected for the Verified Fan for that and I was in the queue for over six hours the day the tickets went on sale, but was successful,” said McDermott.

For Beyoncé, he had signed up for Beyhive, Citi Verified Fan and General Verified Fan presales for the MetLife Stadium show in East Rutherford, New Jersey, which were slotted in Group A.

During the Renaissance presale, his group secured three tickets and it took about 30 minutes. McDermott called the experience “smoother and easier than I was expecting.

“I think some of the stuff they did, like breaking up the presales into groups so that not everybody trying to go to the tour was logging on at once was helpful,” he said. “Cutting down on who could actually get in the queue was helpful. So I think it would be nice if they kept some of those practices going forward.”

Even though he succeeded in getting tickets, McDermott said he wished that Ticketmaster would provide “more transparency with how the prices are determined and why they change."

Ticketmaster warned fans ahead of the presale that some could ultimately walk away empty-handed.

“Registration does not guarantee tickets,” the company said. “We expect there will be more demand than there are tickets available and a lottery-style process will determine which registered Verified Fans receive a unique access code and which are put on the waitlist.”

But many who were "wait-listed" during presale expressed disappointment on social media.

"I’m literally crying I never got a code," one Twitter user wrote, tagging Ticketmaster. "this was the worst experience ever."

There were also some fan-reported technical glitches in the last week. Some on Twitter noticed they could get around the presale ordeal and gain access to Verizon Up presale tickets without entering a code or verifying their Verizon accounts, or even being Verizon customers at all.

“So today was the Verizon presale for Beyoncé’s tour but let me tell ya Ticketmaster messed up once again cause everyone was able to access and purchase the tickets without a presale code,” one fan tweeted.

Others tweeted one supposed code that Verizon was distributing to those who had signed up, urging others to use it.

Verizon did not immediately respond to request for comment surrounding the reported glitch.

The Renaissance Tour, which is scheduled to kick off in Stockholm in May, will make more than 40 stops across Europe and North America before it culminates in New Orleans in September.

In the coming weeks, fans in Groups B and C will get their chance to score tickets during their allotted verified presale ticket times.

Akubuilo, who also bought floor tickets for the Tottenham, England, show, said she’s really glad she gets to see Beyoncé live. But she also lamented how expensive seeing shows has become.

“Going to concerts used to be so easy and there used to be ... so much less stress involved and less hurdles to go through,” she said. “And I don’t know now, it just seems like such a charade, like a circus. And concert tickets are only getting more expensive.”