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US senators tackle touts with Fans First Act

Live Nation has backed regulations that promise to reform the live event ticketing system in the States following a string of controversies

By James Hanley on 11 Dec 2023

The Save Our Stages bill was passed by US lawmakers earlier this week

Live Nation and others have given their backing to new regulations introduced by a bipartisan group of US senators in a bid to reform the live event ticketing system.

The Fans First Act – proposed by Republican senators John Cornyn, Marsha Blackburn and Roger Wicker, and Democrats Amy Klobuchar, Ben Ray Luján and Peter Welch – is designed to help increase transparency in ticket sales, protect customers “from fake or dramatically overpriced tickets”, and hold “bad actors who engage in illegal ticket sale practices” to account.

Included in the measures is a requirement for all ticket sellers to disclose the total cost of the ticket upfront, including fees, along with a breakdown of the ticket cost, clear terms and conditions, details of the seat or section they are selling in, and whether or not they are the original seller.

The legislation is also seeking to strengthen the ban on the use of bots to buy tickets, as well as requiring sellers to provide proof of purchase to consumers within 24 hours of purchase, and refund the full cost of the ticket when events are cancelled. In addition, it would ban speculative ticketing, prevent the use of deceptive websites and bad actors masquerading as legitimate sellers and impose civil penalties on resellers engaging in illegal ticket sale practices.

“The current ticketing system is riddled with problems and doesn’t serve the needs of fans, teams, artists, or venues,” says Sen Cornyn. “This legislation would rebuild trust in the ticketing system by cracking down on bots and others who take advantage of consumers through price gouging and other predatory practices and increase price transparency for ticket purchasers.”

“Buying a ticket to see your favourite artist or team is out of reach for too many Americans,” adds Sen Klobuchar. “Bots, hidden fees, and predatory practices are hurting consumers whether they want to catch a home game, an up-and-coming artist or a major headliner like Taylor Swift or Bad Bunny. From ensuring fans get refunds for cancelled shows to banning speculative ticket sales, this bipartisan legislation will improve the ticketing experience.”

“We welcome legislation that brings positive reform to live event ticketing and protects fans and artists from predatory resale practices”

Live Nation has backed the move in a post shared by president and CEO Michael Rapino on social media.

“We welcome legislation that brings positive reform to live event ticketing and protects fans and artists from predatory resale practices,” says the LN statement, “We’ve long supported a federal all-in pricing mandate, banning speculative ticketing and deceptive websites, as well as other measures, and we look forward to our continued work with policymakers to advocate for even stronger reforms and enforcement.”

The legislation has also been endorsed by the Fix the Tix Coalition, National Independent Venue Association, Recording Academy, Recording Industry Association of America, Eventbrite, North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents, International Association of Venue Managers, Future of Music Coalition, Music Managers Forum and the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO), among others.

“Fans, artists, and our entire industry recognise that the current ticket-buying disarray driven by predatory secondary sellers is an emergency,” adds Fix the Tix. “Passage of comprehensive ticketing reforms is the only solution that will put money back into the pockets of consumers and bridge the divide that ticket resellers have created between fans and artists.”

The Fans First Act is the latest ticketing legislation to be put forward in the US in the wake of 2022’s string of controversies, the most high-profile of which involved the onsales for tours by Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen.


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