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Michael Rapino responds to all-in pricing concerns

US Senator Amy Klobuchar requested an update from the Live Nation chief on the firm's price transparency efforts

By James Hanley on 31 Oct 2023

Michael Rapino, Live Nation/Ticketmaster (TM)

Michael Rapino

Michael Rapino has defended Ticketmaster against criticism that it is yet to fully implement “all-in” ticket pricing on its platform.

US Senator Amy Klobuchar wrote to the LN president and CEO last week to request an update on the firm’s price transparency efforts following its pledge to provide all-in pricing – which allows fans to see the full ticket price upfront, including fees – for concerts at the venues and festivals it operates across the US.

“In return for their business and trust, your customers expect a transparent and honest ticket buying process free from hidden fees,” read Klobuchar’s letter. “Live Nation-Ticketmaster, however, has not yet made the all-in ticket price – including fees – the default setting for its platform.

“For many events, including those for its own venues, it is still too difficult to see the all-in price before checkout. In most instances, consumers must find and select a filter buried within a tab that gives no indication that it contains an option to display all-in pricing. The existence of this filter shows that Live Nation-Ticketmaster has the technical ability to display all-in prices but chooses not to display that price to consumers as the default setting.”

“You have a responsibility to be upfront with customers about the full cost of their tickets”

Klobuchar acknowledged that Live Nation-Ticketmaster does not set all of the fees charged on its platform, but suggested it had a “responsibility to be upfront with customers about the full cost of their tickets”.

“I expect that Live Nation-Ticketmaster will take additional steps to honour your commitment by continuing to roll out transparent pricing tools that disclose all-in ticket prices to consumers prior to checkout,” she added.

In his response to Klobuchar, Rapino reiterated the company agrees that tickets to live entertainment events “should be marketed, listed and sold to fans using the full ticket price, all per ticket fees included”.

“We have supported mandatory all-in pricing legislation for years,” he said. “And unlike several of our major competitors, Ticketmaster complies with both the letter and spirit of existing all-in pricing laws.”

Live Nation joined with an industry-wide coalition earlier this year to promote FAIR Ticketing Reforms and attended a forum at the White House hosted by US president Joe Biden over the summer to discuss the move along with other potential reforms. Biden unveiled new plans to further clamp down on “junk fees” on tickets for events such as concerts earlier this month.

“Without all-in pricing legislation, there will be patchwork adoption of all-in pricing at best”

“We were proud to participate in President Biden’s June 15 White House forum on transparent pricing,” continued Rapino. “In advance of that event, the President’s team asked us if we could move all of Ticketmaster’s sales to all-in pricing. We explained that Ticketmaster does not have the unilateral right to do that, as it is an agent for the venues that issue tickets and along with content owners (artists, sports teams, etc.) determine ticket pricing and how fees are displayed.

“However, Live Nation also operates concert venues and festivals in the US, and therefore we could institute all-in pricing at those venues and festivals. We therefore announced at the White House forum on June 15 that Live Nation would adopt all-in pricing ‘for concerts at the venues and festivals the company operates across the United States starting this September.’ We have met that commitment.

“It is true that we have not adopted all-in pricing for the many events that take place at venues owned or operated by other companies, but that is because we have no right to impose all-in pricing on those events.”

Rapino added that the situation underscored the importance of all-in pricing legislation.

“Not everyone in the live entertainment industry shares our views on all-in pricing,” he concluded. “Without all-in pricing legislation, there will be patchwork adoption of all-in pricing at best.”


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