A New Bill Will Require Concert Tickets To Show Fees Upfront
HOUSTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 17: Travis Scott performs in concert during the inaugural Astroworld Festival at NRG Park on November 17, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
On 26th of April, 2023, the U.S. Senate presented new legislation that would mandate event ticket sellers to disclose a comprehensive list of costs associated with the tickets, which includes any obscured fees that are typically added during the checkout process. This rule would apply to live events such as sports and concerts.
In recent months, numerous incidents involving ticketing problems on a grand scale have exposed various problems within the live event industry. In autumn, Ticketmaster experienced server failures during a presale for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, which resulted in many fans being unable to purchase tickets. By the time the sale ended, ticket resale platforms such as StubHub had listed tickets at prices as high as $20,000.
At the beginning of the year, the Senate organized an antitrust investigation on Live Nation and Ticketmaster to bring attention to the absence of competition in the live music industry and ticket sales.
Ticketmaster Refunds Fees to The Cure’s Presale Fans
Recently, The Cure announced their first North American tour since 2016, and they released a statement confirming that they were not part of Ticketmaster’s Dynamic Pricing system. They wanted to ensure that ticket prices were affordable for their fans and made sure that tickets could not be resold to avoid them ending up on unauthorized websites.
However, fans who bought tickets during the band’s presale were surprised to find out that the combined fees were higher in certain locations than the ticket price. In an effort to understand the cause of the exorbitant fees, the band’s lead vocalist, Robert Smith, contacted Ticketmaster directly. Subsequently, the company refunded a portion of the fees to the affected fans.
TICKET Act Aims to Promote Fair Competition
The TICKET Act, a new bill, is backed by two co-sponsors, Maria Cantwell, a Senator from Washington and Chair of the U.S. Commerce Committee, and Ted Cruz, a Senator from Texas and a member of the committee. As per CNBC, the committee pointed out that ticket charges can constitute a significant portion of the overall ticket cost, ranging from 21% to 57%.
The main objective of the TICKET Act is to promote competition in the ticketing industry and to benefit all consumers by providing transparency regarding ticket fees and speculative ticket pricing.
If the proposed legislation is approved, Live Nation and other ticket vendors must disclose the total cost upfront, including all fees. This would give fans an accurate understanding of the total cost of the ticket before proceeding to the checkout process.
Cantwell stated that the price consumers are told to pay should be the actual price they pay. She plans to introduce comprehensive legislation that will address the issue of misleading fees that increase consumer costs.
Live Nation Supports All-In Pricing Idea
Live Nation expressed its gratitude to Senators Cantwell and Cruz and acknowledged that the bill is a positive starting point. While they support the idea of all-in pricing, they believe more actions should be taken to protect artists and fans. This includes allowing artists to control how their tickets are resold and prohibiting speculative tickets and deceptive websites.