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Following the 2022 Ticketmaster controversy sparked by Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour sales, state lawmakers have proposed several bills to protect ticket buyers. Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, controls about 70% of the market for live event tickets. Fans are calling attention to the increased prices and faulty queues that come with purchasing tickets to popular artists’ performances and sports games. As a result of consumer frustration, lawmakers are proposing various measures to address ticket pricing transparency.

California: Dueling Transparent Ticket Pricing Bills

In the 2023 legislative session, California lawmakers introduced Senate Bill 785 to regulate scalping in the entertainment industry. The measure would block ‘bots’ and other purchasers from buying tickets in bulk and reselling them at exorbitant prices. Under the bill, sellers and resellers must have the contractual, granted right to sell the ticket. Additionally, the face price must be listed up front. Live Nation Entertainment, the Los Angeles Rams, and the National Football League support the proposed guidelines.

As separate measure opposed by Live Nation and sports teams like the Oakland Athletics, AB 8, was meanwhile passed by the Assembly in late May 2023. The transparent ticket pricing bill would have prohibited primary ticket providers from restricting ticket resales. The bill would also bar ticket sellers from advertising, displaying, or offering tickets for sale without including all fees associated with paying for the ticket, with the exception of government taxes. The bill also would have barred the price of tickets from increasing during the purchase process once a ticket is selected.

Colorado: Consumer Protections in Event Ticket Sales Bill Vetoed

In the 2023 session, Colorado lawmakers considered a bill concerning consumer protection in event sales. Senate Bill 60 was introduced to outlaw speculative ticketing and deceptive websites and grant venues the right to take back tickets sold to scalpers who violate their policies. The legislation would have covered a range of anti-consumer practices, including listing misleading subtotals, confusing potential purchasers with fluctuations due to demand, and other actions.

However, Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) vetoed the bill after the State Senate and House passed the measure. In his veto message, Polis stated he supported several provisions of the bill, but brought up how the National Consumers League and Consumer Federation of America had asked for a veto of the bill due to “its potential to discourage competition in the sector, ultimately harming consumers.”

Massachusetts: ‘Taylor Swift Bill’ Addresses Transparent Ticket Pricing

At a Massachusetts committee hearing on July 24, a series of ticket buyer protection bills were discussed. Notably, H.259, the ‘Taylor Swift Bill’,  was discussed. The two main ticket-buying issues the Taylor Swift Bill seeks to eliminate are dynamic pricing and junk fees.

Dynamic pricing is a practice utilized by popular ticket sale sites, in which the price per ticket increases during the purchasing process based on ticket demand. Junk fees refer to the hidden costs added at checkout after the buyer selects the ticket. These fees can amount to 75% or more of the original ticket cost selected. Buyers then select a ticket at a price much lower than what they eventually pay. The bill seeks to create greater transparency between sellers and buyers, in which the price displayed when selecting a ticket is truly the price paid.

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