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Fans are sour after scalpers snap up Olivia Rodrigo concert tickets

Olivia Rodrigo performs during the MTV Video Music Awards in September in New York City. Rodrigo's <em>SOUR</em> tour sold out within hours, frustrating many fans who've followed the breakout pop star's successful year.
Mike Coppola
/
Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS
Olivia Rodrigo performs during the MTV Video Music Awards in September in New York City. Rodrigo's <em>SOUR</em> tour sold out within hours, frustrating many fans who've followed the breakout pop star's successful year.

A "sour" tour indeed.

Almost as soon as concert tickets for Olivia Rodrigo's SOUR tour went on sale Friday morning, many cities sold out due to overwhelming demand.

Some fans flocked to the Ticketmaster site, only to find themselves on a waitlist behind thousands of people, while others were met with "technical difficulties," frustrating many who ended up empty-handed as dates quickly sold out.

Heightening the demand, the breakout pop star largely opted to play small venues and ballrooms rather than large-capacity arenas for her debut concert tour that starts in April.

The singer's fans initially had reason to be hopeful. Ticketmaster gave purchasers the option to sign up for a "Verified Fan" registration, a feature the site rolled out to North American buyers last year as a way to outsmart ticket-hungry bots.

Participants were notified on Thursday night whether they were eligible for the Verified Fan sale. Those approved were given an access code that would enter them into a first-come, first-serve lottery.

But even some people who had earned the special status were out of luck.

"Verified Fan doesn't guarantee that everyone who is verified will get a ticket," according to Ticketmaster's website, "but it does level the playing field so that more tickets go to fans who intend to go to the show."

However, many fans griped that it also appeared to level the playing field for scalpers, with tickets now being resold online for a hefty profit. On StubHub and other ticket reseller sites, prices at several venues are going for thousands of dollars. In San Francisco, a pair of tickets costs as much as $9,000 each.

Ticketmaster has not yet responded to NPR's queries about its technical difficulties or the Verified Fan process.

The staggering demand for Rodrigo's highly anticipated tour is not surprising, considering the successful year the "good 4 u" singer has had.

Rodrigo burst to the top of the charts in January with the release of her debut single, "Drivers License." The 18-year-old has continued to break streaming records thanks to SOUR — her first album, which Spotify listed this month as the most streamed album globally in 2021.

Some fans now say they have a solution to what they see as a broken ticket market.

As one person tweeted, "anyone who had olivia rodrigo in their top artists or songs on spotify wrapped should automatically be a verified fan with ticketmaster."

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