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Live Nation tells Joe Biden it will introduce all-in-pricing for US tickets

By | Published on Friday 16 June 2023

Live Nation

Live Nation has committed to start showing upfront the full costs of a ticket – including any commissions and fees – for shows at all of the US venues it operates and its American festivals. The commitment from the live giant and its ticketing business Ticketmaster comes as part of an initiative by US President Joe Biden to get rid of what he calls “junk fees” from the marketplace.

Most ticketing platforms – including the ticket resale sites – have in the past expressed support for all-in-pricing, where the full cost of buying a ticket is stated in marketing materials and on the first screen of a ticket purchase.

Some ticketing platforms have adopted that system voluntarily, but others have said it should be mandated through law or some other kind of regulation. After all, if it’s entirely voluntary, the companies that do the right thing will be disadvantaged, because at first glance it will look like tickets on their platforms are more expensive.

In the UK, all-in-pricing is now pretty much standard in ticketing, not least because the country’s advertising industry regulator – the Advertising Standards Authority – has a rule that states: “All quoted prices must include non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most buyers – if a booking fee is not optional, ticket prices must be stated inclusive of any booking fee”.

In the US, ticketing platforms – including Ticketmaster – have said they’d support a law that mandated all-in-pricing. That hasn’t happened yet, though with Biden’s wider campaign against fees that are added to purchases mid-transaction, the number of companies making voluntary moves in this domain is increasing.

Live Nation stated yesterday: “Live Nation will begin providing a new all-in pricing experience for concerts at the venues and festivals the company operates across the United States starting this September”.

Of course that doesn’t impact any of the tickets sold by other venues and promoters on the Ticketmaster platform, although they will seemingly be given the option to follow Live Nation’s lead in this domain.

President of Live Nation’s US venues division, Tom See, added: “Live Nation is proud to provide fans with a better ticket buying experience. We have thousands of crew working behind the scenes every day to help artists share their music live with fans, and we’ll continue advocating for innovations and reforms that protect that amazing connection”.

Providing a general update on his campaign against junk fees, Biden confirmed that: “Starting in September, Live Nation will automatically list all the prices upfront for all tickets to events at more than 200 venues of its own, benefitting over 30 million customers”.

Noting that some ticketing platforms – including TickPick and Dice – have “used this process for years to sell tickets”, he also announced that SeatGeek “is set to give customers the option of seeing all-in, upfront prices”.

Despite these commitments, many reckon there should still be a change to the law in the US that mandates all-in-pricing, and ensures all platforms basically take the same approach.

Richard Blumenthal – a US Senator who has been vocal on issues in the ticketing market – told Reuters: “Rather than a voluntary patchwork varying by company, Americans deserve a basic disclosure standard so they can be fully aware of the prices and fees they’re being charged. The days of padding corporate profits by nickel and diming consumers are numbered”.

There is an assortment of campaigns running in the US right now – and multiple proposals in Congress – that seek to increase the regulation of ticketing.

All-in-pricing is part of that, though plenty of other measures have been proposed, some targeting mainly primary ticketing, some mainly secondary ticketing, and some focused specifically on the market dominance of Live Nation and Ticketmaster.

Earlier this year Senators Ted Cruz and Maria Cantwell proposed the TICKET Act which would make all-in-pricing a legal requirement. And earlier this month Congress members Jan Schakowsky and Gus Bilirakis introduced basically the same proposals into the House Of Representatives.

Some of the other proposals in Congress go further. Blumenthal has teamed up with fellow Senator Amy Klobuchar to propose new rules to deal with the alleged market dominance of Live Nation and Ticketmaster.

Meanwhile, long-term Ticketmaster critic Bill Pascrell recently introduced the latest iteration of his BOSS ACT which proposes a whole bunch of ticketing reforms.