A new bipartisan bill has been introduced in the US Senate, aimed at making the live music ticketing industry more transparent.
Brought forwards on Tuesday (April 25) by US Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell and committee ranking member Ted Cruz, The Transparency in Charges for Key Events Ticketing (TICKET) Act would require sellers to fully disclose ticket prices at the point of sale, rather than hitting customers with extra fees at the last minute.
It’s a practice that has been extremely controversial in recent times, with customers and fans being hit by sellers including Ticketmaster with surcharges of up to 30%, and often much more when it comes to purchase their ticket.
The practice and high fees have been called out by high profile artists including Taylor Swift, with The Cure’s Robert Smith convincing Ticketmaster to refund part of their fees to fans who bought tickets for their upcoming US tour.
Smith had stated beforehand that he wanted to keep ticket prices as low as possible for the band’s shows, with some of the tickets being hit with fees by the ticketing giant that were higher than the price of the ticket itself.
At the time he called out Ticketmaster on Twitter, writing: “I AM AS SICKENED AS YOU ALL ARE BY TODAY’S TICKETMASTER ‘FEES’ DEBACLE.
“TO BE VERY CLEAR: THE ARTIST HAS NO WAY TO LIMIT THEM,” HE CONTINUED. I HAVE BEEN ASKING HOW THEY ARE JUSTIFIED. IF I GET ANYTHING COHERENT BY WAY OF AN ANSWER I WILL LET YOU ALL KNOW.”
I AM AS SICKENED AS YOU ALL ARE BY TODAY’S TICKETMASTER ‘FEES’ DEBACLE. TO BE VERY CLEAR: THE ARTIST HAS NO WAY TO LIMIT THEM. I HAVE BEEN ASKING HOW THEY ARE JUSTIFIED. IF I GET ANYTHING COHERENT BY WAY OF AN ANSWER I WILL LET YOU ALL KNOW. X
— ROBERT SMITH (@RobertSmith) March 16, 2023
If passed, the bill will also force sellers to disclose upfront when tickets listed on their sites are ‘speculative’, when they sell tickets that they don’t actually own yet, and often listed with obfuscating terms such as ‘zone seats’ in the fine print.
Senator Cruz said in a statement (quoted by Yahoo): “Sports fans and concertgoers alike have experienced the frustration of expecting to pay the listed price for a ticket only to be hit with a slew of hidden fees at checkout.
“These unadvertised fees are a nuisance and deter consumers from following through with a purchase. The TICKET Act brings transparency to the whole ticketing industry, which is dominated by a few large players that can capitalize on these hidden fees.”
Isaac Muk is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins