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Congress Targets High Concert Pricing With Two Antitrust Bills

Congress Targets High Concert Pricing With Two Antitrust Bills

In a move that could lead to major changes for concert goers, senators Amy Klobuchar (D) and Richard Blumenthal (D) have introduced the Unlock Ticketing Markets Act, which takes aim at Ticketmaster’s controversial multi-year exclusivity contracts with venues.

The contracts were criticized in a January hearing — which happened following the fiasco between Ticketmaster and fans purchasing Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour tickets — and have been a point of contention among those who believe that Ticketmaster has become a monopoly, stifling competition and leading to higher prices for consumers.

“Without competition to incentivize better services and fair prices, we all suffer the consequences,” Klobuchar said.

The bill comes on the heels of another piece of legislation, the Transparency in Charges for Key Events Ticketing Act, introduced by senators Maria Cantwell (D) and Ted Cruz (R). This act would require ticket platforms to show a price that includes all fees up front. Known as “all-in pricing,” it would prevent consumers from being blindsided by hidden fees that can sometimes make up more than half the cost of a ticket. The act would also have ticket platforms show an itemized list of fees, and would have resale platforms specifically note “speculative” tickets, or tickets being resold without the reseller actually having the ticket yet.

“When families budget for a night at a ball game or to hear their favorite band, they shouldn’t have to worry about being surprised by hidden fees that suddenly raise the final cost of tickets well over the advertised price,” Cantwell said.

While the bills have received an expected negative reaction from Live Nation/Ticketmaster (a Live Nation representative said that ticketing is already “more competitive than ever”), they have been largely welcomed by consumers and artists alike.

Many artists are already taking steps to combat the issue of hidden fees by implementing all-in pricing for their concerts. Others, like Maggie Rogers, have “gone analog” and are only selling tickets in person to help fans avoid dealing with online hidden fees.

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