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Agencies, managers and industry groups back Live Nation’s Fair Ticketing Act

By | Published on Friday 10 March 2023

Live Nation

A plethora of music companies have formally backed Live Nation’s proposed new rules for regulating ticketing in the US.

The live giant unveiled the so called Fair Ticketing Act last month in response to increased discussion about the ticketing business within American political circles.

The most recent ticketing discussions in Washington were prompted by all the issues that occurred last year when Taylor Swift tickets went on pre-sale via the Verified Fan platform run by Live Nation’s Ticketmaster.

That put the spotlight back on ticketing in general, but also Ticketmaster in particular. And the relationship between Ticketmaster and the rest of the Live Nation business, and even the 2010 merger that brought Live Nation and Ticketmaster together.

So there were all the usual gripes about high ticket prices and confusing ticketing fees, plus allegations that Live Nation and Ticketmaster are just too dominant in the US live music and ticketing markets.

However, Live Nation’s proposed new regulations for ticketing in the US are mainly focused on the good old secondary ticketing market.

They call for an expansion of existing rules that ban touts from using bots to buy up tickets from primary sites; a new ban on speculative selling, where touts advertise tickets they don’t have yet; and a crackdown on resale sites that don’t enforce those rules or respect an artist’s preferences regarding how they sell their tickets.

They do also call for a rule forcing all ticketing platforms to declare any fees and commissions upfront, which would affect primary and secondary ticketing sites. However, the focus of the wider Fair Ticketing Act initiative is definitely the latter.

Now, issues around ticket touting remain a big concern, of course, and Ticketmaster still runs ticket resale platforms in the US, so is actively involved in the kind of ticketing that it is proposing should be more tightly regulated.

However, the live giant’s critics – and especially everyone else involved in secondary ticketing – see the Fair Ticketing Act as a massive distraction tactic – ie distract the politicians with ticket touting over here so they don’t bother themselves about any of the other issues raised about primary ticketing, and the dominance of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, over there.

But, while not everyone involved in live music and ticketing Stateside is impressed with Live Nation’s proposals, plenty of key companies are.

Earlier this week it was confirmed that booking agencies CAA, WME, UTA and Wasserman Music; management firms Vector, Laffitte, Gellman and Red Light; and industry organisations like the Music Artists Coalition and Songwriters Of North America are all backing the Fair Ticketing Act, which now has its own website.

Though, Live Nation’s main rival AEG and its ticketing division AXS are notable omissions from that list, somewhat unsurprisingly.

It’s no secret that many agents, managers and artists have long wanted better regulation of the ticket touting business – or at least for some of the regulations that have already been introduced in some European countries to be exported to the US.

But it would be interesting to know whether Live Nation’s allies on these particular proposals would also like to see additional regulation of the primary ticketing market in a way that Ticketmaster would not approve.