Categories
News

Swifties react to Ticketmaster site fiasco

“A surge in activity on any IT service can cause it to be unavailable to some or all of the people trying to access it,” Tracy Weber, office of information technologies (OIT) assistant vice president, told the Observer.

Taylor Swift fans across the tri-campus helped generate the 3.5 billion system requests on Ticketmaster’s website on Tuesday, Nov. 15, causing hours-long delays for Swifites jockeying to purchase presale tickets for Swift’s sixth headlining concert tour, “The Eras Tour.”

Swift hasn’t gone on tour in five years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since her 2018 “Reputation Stadium Tour,” the singer-songwriter has released four studio albums including “Midnights” which came out in October 2022. Swift was supposed to go on tour for her album “Lover” but cancelled due to the pandemic.

Notre Dame junior Jillian Brunner, a self-described “uberfan” with two Ticketmaster accounts, spent seven hours waiting to secure tickets on that mid-November Tuesday. Sales commenced by venue time zone at 10 a.m. for verified fans.

“I went to the library. I had one Ticketmaster account on a MacBook and one on the desktop computer, and my friend had his, one on his MacBook and one on the desktop,” Brunner said. “I was skipping all my classes, but I had to go TA at [2 p.m.], so I left my computer with [my friend]. He ended up getting one date when I was gone.”

After hours of site glitching, Brunner managed to pick off tickets for the two concerts in Mile High Stadium in Denver on July 14 and 15, doling out almost $500 in the process. Brunner expressed her frustration with Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster.

“Ticketmaster has a monopoly on everything. So they suck,” she said. “They take advantage of people, and their fees are almost as expensive as their tickets — it’s so stupid. Something needs to change.”

Brunner added that the “same thing” happened when concert tickets came out for Harry Styles’ ongoing tour, “Love On Tour.”

“When Harry Styles tickets went on sale, it was the same issue. It’s the same problem every time,” she said. “The demand is so high for some artists that Ticketmaster can’t handle it, but I don’t know who could handle it. It seems impossible.”

Notre Dame junior Jessica Wysocki, a Taylor Swift “Twitter stan,” bought a “Midnights” vinyl to guarantee a presale ticket line boost.

“That’s my big Taylor Swift collection — I have all of her vinyl,” Wysocki said. “I had the line boost which made it more likely that I would get verified. I signed up for the verification a long time ago. And I got it, but none of my friends got it. We all signed up, including my parents [and] none of them got it. So, I’m pretty sure the line boost is why I got a presale verification code.”

Wysocki was prepared for a hectic day on the morning of Nov. 15, but she said the fiasco exceeded her “expectations of bad.”

“I went to my first class, plugged my computer into the outlet and I just sat there. We had a review for an exam, but I didn’t care… immediately when [10 a.m. struck], I hit the button to be in the queue [and] there must have been thousands of people ahead of me,” she said. “We put a hotspot on someone’s phone and moved my computer across campus, so that I didn’t lose my spot in the line. About six hours later, I got in.”

Though happy to get a seat, Wysocki said it was disappointing to learn about so many diehard fans missing out on ticket opportunities.

“I have a lot of friends on Twitter … that couldn’t even get tickets for their young daughters, and it was unfortunate,” Wysocki said. “I would say Ticketmaster had an upper hand in this.”

Weber, drawing from Notre Dame’s own experience responding to spikes in network traffic, e.g., during class registration and football Saturdays, said a “well-designed IT service” will anticipate peaks and have the ability to scale up to meet the demand.

“There’s complexity to this because all aspects of the service need to be able to scale. It can also be expensive to build in all this flexibility to IT service components like servers, software and networks,” she said. “Even with autoscaling, supporting [millions of] requests in such a short time is very difficult to handle.”

Contact Peter Breen at pbreen2@nd.edu.

Categories
Viewpoint

A controversial column

An inside column can be many things: Funny, cliche, informational, emotional, controversial or otherwise. When I realized (a bit too late) that I had an inside column due this Sunday, I had a decision to make.  

I’ve already covered funny-ish when I told the campus that I was using Taylor Swift’s Red to recover from a break-up. And my last column was emotional, a detailed account of my mental health struggles and my journey to self-compassion — which I am still working on to this day. 

I decided I wanted to try my hand at a Ryan Peters-esque controversial column. Unlike Ryan’s tie to athletic endeavors (see: making physical education a requirement again and removing the last names off the football team’s jerseys), I don’t particularly care about the sports program outside of cheering on our teams at games. My love of sports lies in Wisconsin and the Packer’s horrible season, definitely not in the nuances of college football or gym class (which I did everything in my power to avoid as a high schooler). 

But nonetheless, throughout my time here, I too have collected a myriad of “unpopular” opinions. Are they horribly wrong and extremely unimportant? Probably, but I have a column to write and no other ideas. 

My top controversial Notre Dame-themed opinions (separated into sections in true Bella fashion)

1. Southwest salad >>> 

Starting off strong with my least unpopular opinion (I think). When I first got to campus in the year of our Lord 2020, one of the first stories I wrote was an update to the dining halls with the new COVID-19 regulations. During my interview, the administrators told me that one of their top priorities was bringing back the popular Southwest salad. Unbeknownst to me as a newbie to the tri-campus and to journalism, this salad would change my life.

Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but I adore it. You can ask my friends, and I’m sure they will attest to the fact that I wholeheartedly love getting my Southwest salad every Thursday. I also gave a class presentation once about the powers of this mystical salad, embarrassing but true. Although I’ve been slacking lately, I know I can always count the NDH ladies for a great midweek pick up. 

2. Scooters are helpful if you know how to use them

All right, this one might be a little farfetched, but I am a sucker for convenience. In my sophomore year, I started doing undergraduate research in a biology lab that is located across the street in the Indiana School of Medicine (in the same building as the Harper Cancer Research Center). Very quickly, I realized that the 20+ minute walk in the South Bend winter was NOT IT. So, like a diligent daughter, I begged my father to buy me a fancy electric scooter like all the athletes have (does Notre Dame have a partnership with Go-Trax??). 

And though I definitely don’t look as cool as the football players, I can be seen scooting by whenever I have an over 5-minute walk or am running late (always). A caveat to this opinion is that I am a respectful scooter user, I promise. I only use the roads or unoccupied sidewalks and never zoom past people at 15+ mph, which is downright rude honestly.

3. North quad (and NDH) is supreme 

As a resident of the wonderful (if a tad problematic) Breen-Phillips Hall, I am a North Quad girlie through and through. 

I am already nostalgic about summer evenings when music blasts from speakers in either Zahm, Keenan or Stanford Halls, and everyone fills out the small lawn with blankets and outdoor games. I feel at home in NDH, which is a little tacky but can somehow always be counted on to be playing bops and bangers at dinner (and has debatably better food). I love that we have a great view of the Dome and short walks to almost anywhere you need to go (cue my one morning class in Geddes Hall!). 

Plus, we’re closer to the fire station for those 4 a.m. fire alarms … And after all, who can resist the beautiful women of Farley Hall? Certainly not Fr. Jenkins or me. 

4. The Observer is the best student group on campus

I detect no bias in that statement … But on a real note, my Notre Dame experience would not be what it is without the Observer. It’s been my home from the first week on campus, and I would consider my colleagues who work alongside me to be some of my closest friends. I’ll leave it there before I get too sentimental, but let’s both look forward to an amazing goodbye column in T-minus a year and a half. 

If you got all the way through this, thank you. I think this was a real bonding experience. Please send me your craziest Notre Dame (or otherwise) controversial opinions. I would love to debate or agree with you, possibly over a Southwest salad lunch?

Contact Bella at ilaufenb@nd.edu (or by looking for the one person who doesn’t look athletic with a scooter).

The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Categories
Scene

Dear reader, Taylor Swift has triumphed once again

Taylor Swift has done it once again.

Anticipation over the singer’s 10th album release has only built since its announcement at the 2022 VMA Awards. Part of that anticipation is largely due to the lack of a single being released prior to the album drop date. Audiences were unsure what to expect from Swift, especially since her prior two albums, “Folklore” and “Evermore,” strayed from the typical sound associated with the artist.

Because of this, the initial listen to “Midnights” was rather jarring. However, by the second and third time, I was in no small way reminded that Swift is both a pop artist and lyricist, first and foremost. This album delivered both in spades, reminding the world that while she might have taken a break from the pop charts, she is as on top of her game as ever.

In a message from Swift to fans, she described the album as “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout [her] life.” Frankly, there is no better way to describe it. Swift is widely popular for creating albums representative of a period of time in her life, each one
containing a consistent vibe, creating what fans have dubbed as “eras” for each album. What makes “Midnights” so incredible is that it manages to take each of her albums, throw them together and still preserve a cohesive sound throughout the album.

The album features no shortage of lively, brazen songs that are purely modern in their production. Songs like “Karma” and “Vigilante Sh*t” fit right in with the “Reputation” era, their slow tempos with deep bass chords bringing attention right back to Swift’s long standing drama with rap artist Kanye West and his now ex-wife Kim Kardashian, as well as former manager Scooter Braun.

In addition to the vigorous “Reputation”-esque tracks, Taylor reveals some insight into her relationship with longtime partner Joe Alywn in a way fans have not seen since “Lover.” In “Lavender Haze” Swift comments on how Alwyn handles the lifestyle that comes with dating one of the most popular women in the world. “Sweet Nothing” is the only track on the album written solely by Swift and her partner, and it is the quintessential love song of the album.

One standout difference in this album is the quiet introspection combated by a busy production that it offers, so different from the vulnerability of “Folklore.” In a message released on Swift’s social media platforms about track three, “Anti-Hero,” the singer says, “I really don’t think I’ve delved this far into my insecurities in this detail before.” Not only can it be found in “Anti-Hero,” with powerful lines such as “I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror,” but in many other tracks as well. In her fifth track, Swift shares the message, “You’re on your own kid, you always have been.” “Midnight Rain” features heavy synth influences, which pairs perfectly with the message of wanting pain and passion over comfort. In one of my personal favorites, “Labyrinth,” Swift discusses being “lost in the labyrinth of my mind” and shares the message “Breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, breathe out.”

Personally, I found that the contemplative tracks had a more profound effect, but that in no way takes away from the musical mastery that makes up some of the lighter songs of the album. However, regardless of personal favorites, this album is a triumph, a sign to the music world that Swift is fully capable of embracing her titles of “singer-songwriter” and “pop star” at the same time without sacrificing either.

Contact Ashley at ahedge@nd.edu.

Categories
Viewpoint

Why I ‘worship’ Taylor Swift

When Taylor Swift first rose to fame, her flocks of fans, passionately known as Swifties, formed shortly thereafter. As a proud member of this group, I can attest to the personal benefit it brought to my own life.

After that first Taylor Swift concert I experienced years ago, my mom bought me a bracelet to commemorate the special evening. She never realized this at the time, but that two-dollar purchase would turn out to mean everything to me. Once I had that bracelet on, I subconsciously decided never to take it off. I wore it every day following that unforgettable night, even to middle school dances.

On one particular occasion — after having just completed my second day of an arduous high school math class — I went to lunch to decompress and ended up randomly sitting next to a girl with blonde hair and bright blue eyes, who also happened to be sporting the same rubber Taylor Swift bracelet as me. Nervous to strike up a conversation but eager to make a friend, I turned to her and said, “Are you a Taylor Swift fan?” as if the bracelet wrapped around her wrist did not already answer my question. When she confirmed that my assumptions were true, I couldn’t have been happier, and I know that she felt the same way, too. From that point forward, a friendship like no other blossomed, all thanks to Taylor Swift.

Because Taylor brought me my high school best friend, one person I have always “worshiped” is her — in a non-literal way, of course.

To a majority of people, hearing that I “worship” Taylor Swift might come across as extremely ironic, especially since she and I have never even met and she quite literally has no idea I exist. However, to me, she is everything. Taylor is the epitome of kindness and generosity. She gives to those around her without expecting anything in return, whether it comes in the form of paying for someone’s rent or visiting terminally sick children in the hospital. The environment that she creates for her fans is very welcoming. One thing that people who have met her will surely tell you is that when you have a conversation with her, she makes you feel like you are her best friend and the only person in the room who truly matters.

While she is definitely someone I look up to on a personal level, I also respect the way she carries herself in the business world. Most recently, she had her album recordings stolen out from underneath her. The songs she had spent hours handwriting on her bedroom floor were now gone. The songs that teenage girls like myself related to now belonged to someone else, a person who was hungry to make money off her fame and success. Taylor knew that not only was this a devastation to herself, but also to her millions of loyal fans. So she took matters into her own hands, announcing that she would be re-recording each one of the albums that no longer belonged to her. I have a deep admiration not only for how she responded from an artistic standpoint, but also for the fact that she did not let power-hungry record label walk all over her and steal her pride and joy. She set an example of right and wrongfor her fans — an example that will surely never be forgotten.

Even though Taylor does not know who I am, I still consider her one of the greatest people to “worship.” I aspire to be like her, someone who does not back down from a fight while also making sure to live their life acting in kindness and making the world a better place. I worship the humble way in which she carries herself when she interacts with her fans and how she is an example for those within the music industry. No matter where my life takes me, I hope to act in the way Taylor does with such grace and compassion. And at the end of the day, I know I will never be too tired to turn on a Taylor Swift song.

Isabelle Kause is a sophomore at Notre Dame studying sociology and minoring in journalism. When she’s not busy, you can find her listening to country music or Taylor Swift or trying out new makeup/skincare products. She can be reached at ikause@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.