The Consumer Affairs Committee of the New York City Council has begun studying the lack of transparency in ticket sales for many of the events in the city.
Earlier today, October 28, the committee held the first of what could be a couple of hearings on the matter as it relates to a proposal for venues in the city to reserve at least 15 percent of tickets at the box office for individuals to buy in person. Such sales also would be limited to four tickets per person.
“Greater transparency in the ticket marketplace will allow consumers to know just how many tickets are out there for a particular event and may even shame artists into adopting business practices that don’t stick it to the very people supporting their livelihoods,” said councilmember Dan Garodnick, chairman of the Consumer Affairs Committee, in the statement.
Garodnick’s communications director Dan Pasquini told TicketNews that the committee decided to discuss the issue following the problems surrounding the recent Radiohead concerts at the Roseland Ballroom.
Some fans complained of obstacles faced when trying to buy Radiohead tickets, in addition to not knowing how many tickets were initially released. The band limited sales to two tickets per person and required purchasers to pick up the tickets from will call the night of the show.
Radiohead said the moves were designed to help thwart resale, but some tickets still appeared on the Ticketmaster-owned secondary ticket marketplace, TicketsNow.
“When tickets sell out at a venue — whether seating capacity is 300 or 20,000 — the general public may assume that all of those seats were up for grabs,” Garodnick said. “However, that is frequently not the case as artists often ‘hold back’ tickets for VIPs, fan clubs and increasingly, for initial sale in the secondary market.”
New York State already has a ticket resale law on the books. Pasquini said that the New York City proposal, or any future bills, would “have to work within the framework of the state law.”
The council is considering addressing transparency in ticketing by requiring venues that receive public funds to list the number of available tickets that initially go on sale for an event.
Jon Potter, president of the ticket resale advocacy group Fan Freedom Project, praised the committee for taking up the issue of transparency.
“New York sports and entertainment fans, whose hard-earned money helps pay for the stadiums, arenas and highway ramps, want basic consumer rights and property rights for the tickets they buy,” Potter said in a statement.
The committee did not take any action on the proposal during the hearing, but said it would continue to study the issue and would consider making amendments to the bill and holding future hearings.