Feed the Taylor Swift hype machine for a better chance at tickets

That's one way to cut StubHub scalpers out of the equation.

Buying tickets to a play or concert online is an absolutely terrible experience these days. Between fighting bots and ridiculous handling fees, fans get the short end of the stick when they can't make it to the venue to buy direct. Taylor Swift is partnering with Ticketmaster and its Verified Fan program to sidestep some of that frustration with Taylor Swift Tix.

"Taylor Swift is committed to getting tickets into the hands of fans... not scalpers or bots," the ticket microsite reads. Her solution? Roping fans into doing her label's marketing department's job. As she explains in the video below, if you help spread the word online, you're earning priority placement in a ticket waitlist for your venue of choice. The devil is in the details, though.

If you want "the greatest boosts" in line, you'll have to pre-order her new album Reputation via the control panel, at iTunes, Target, Walmart or from Swift's store directly. And if you want the album with guaranteed release date delivery, you'll have to pony up even more cash for next day shipping. Oh, sorry vinyl fans, it's only available on CD -- unlike her previous record, 1989.

You can also earn "high boosts" by buying new merch, too. Which currently consists of her new CD and nothing else. Don't want to spend any money? Well, you can watch the lyric video for her new single "Look What You Made Me Do." Problem is, like registering for Tix, that's a "low boost."

"Your boosts are automatically applied for up to 5 views, per day. Watch every day and receive your boosts." Gotta dethrone "Despacito" any way possible, I suppose.

"We worked closely with Taylor Swift to craft a unique approach to our Verified Fan program that rewards her fans with access to the best tickets first," said David Marcus, EVP and head of music for Ticketmaster North America. "By removing bots and scalpers from the equation, and adding a series of fun activities to help registrants boost their spot in line through our official Verified Fan Activity Meter, we're able to ensure that tickets make it into the hands of Taylor's most avid fans, at fan-friendly prices."

Ticketmaster says you don't have to make a purchase to receive an access code -- those will be available to all verified fans. However, the company did confirm that buying something "may improve" a user's spot in line to get tickets.

Everything about this scheme will benefit Swift one way or another, under the guise of getting better access to tickets to what's surely going to be one of this fall's biggest (and highly scalped) concert tours.

At its inception, Verified Fan was supposed to check your Ticketmaster account info and then send an SMS with codes to buy tickets. Think of it like two-factor authentication, but for concert tickets. What Swift is doing here perverts what was supposed to be a fan-friendly way to buy tickets into another part of her big money-making machine.

Even though it's artist merch, if you still have to pay more than list price for buying tickets, is that really much different than buying from a scalper or reseller?

Update: This post has been updated with a quote from Ticketmaster.