Sacramento– Many fans could not buy Taylor Swift’s summer stadium tour tickets. Some dedicated fans purchased the ticket 70 times more than the ticket’s original face value. It resulted in an outrage, leading U.S. Congress to hold hearings to investigate the issue. It also resulted in the introduction of bills in various state legislatures.
It’s been 10 months since Taylor Swift’s U.S. tour finished, but slow progress has been made. The proposal failed to progress in the U.S. Senate. In Colorado, the Democratic governor rejected legislation because of the actions of consumer groups.
Most tickets are sold online, making it challenging for consumers to know the real cost due to hidden fees. Software is also available that lets users buy tickets in bulk for resale. They can sell tickets before having them, “speculative ticketing.” Another issue is about fake websites mimicking the venue’s website.
The discussion among artists, venues, and consumer groups about tickets resold by fans is going on. The consumer groups claim that it is the fan’s authority after buying tickets, and they can do anything with it.
The legislation has passed banning hidden fees in California. Robert Herrell, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California, said,
“That’s it? That’s all that California, the leading state in the nation on several
consumer protection problems, that’s all we’re going to do?”
Jordan Bromely, the Music Artist Coalition board member, said, “The restriction of reselling tickets is an attempt to inflate the price.”
Assemblymember Laura Friedman introduced a bill aimed at regulating ticket sales. The bill included a point of banning resale restrictions because fans have all the rights to their tickets after purchasing. This bill also requires venues to be transparent about ticket availability and to prevent holdbacks.
The bill faced opposition from the ticketing industry, including venues and promoters. As a result, both the resale restriction ban and ticket availability disclosure points were removed. Laura Friedman said,
“It’s been difficult. It had a strong and concerted effort from the beginning to lobby against this bill.”
The ticket industry, artists, and consumers debate is ongoing, and the reforms are moving slowly. This slow progress highlights the ticket industry’s power and the regulatory difficulties in the market due to technology.
Some people, such as Jenn Engstrom, state director for the California Public Interest Research Group, are satisfied with the hidden fees ban and said it is a good first step.