US bill seeks to ban exclusive ticketing deals
Another day, another new proposed piece of ticketing legislation in the USA… this time it’s about banning exclusive ticketing contracts between primary ticket sellers and venues in California.
California Senator Scott Wilk says the law change, which could be voted on as soon as this week, would loosen the alleged “stranglehold” companies such as Ticketmaster have on the ticket-selling industry.
“Exclusivity contracts with entertainment venues mean higher ticket prices for consumers. This bill gets at the heart of that problem,” says Wilk. “You shouldn’t have to go into debt just for enjoying a night out. My bill is a good first step in opening the door to more competition within the ticket-selling industry, and hopefully will bring some relief to consumers’ wallets.”
The SB 829 bill, which is based on a proposal currently going through the New York legislature, would prohibit exclusivity clauses in contracts between a primary ticket seller and an entertainment venue in the state of California.
Wilk says that preventing this clause “would provide venues the autonomy to collaborate with other ticket sellers without the fear of retaliation from large ticket sellers”.
The legislation – which Wilk has branded the “Ticketmaster Bill” has been passed out the Senate appropriations committee and is eligible for a vote on the Senate floor from today (22 May).
Ticketing reform has become an increasingly hot topic in the United States since last year’s Taylor Swift Eras Tour onsale.
Ticketing reform has become an increasingly hot topic in the United States since last year’s Taylor Swift Eras Tour onsale, with numerous senators all now putting forward proposed new laws.
Last week, two Massachusetts lawmakers put forward new ticketing legislation dubbed the “Taylor Swift Bill”, requiring platforms to disclose the full price of tickets upfront. The bill is currently before the joint committee on consumer protection and professional licensure.
Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, meanwhile, recently addressed high-profile furores over ticket prices and on-sales. LN has been a vocal supporter of all-in pricing, and launched the Fair Ticketing Act with the support of organisations such as CAA, UTA, Wasserman Music and WME, while 19 companies and associations operating in North America also formed the Fix the Tix coalition earlier this month.
In addition, US president Joe Biden demanded a crackdown on “excessive ticket fees” earlier this year, saying hidden or unexpected fees “are not only costly to consumers, but they can stifle competition by encouraging companies to use increasingly sophisticated tools to disguise the true price consumers face”. The call prompted senators Richard Blumenthal and Sheldon Whitehouse to table the “Junk Fee Prevention Act”.
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