A new measure proposed by New York City Councilman Justin Brannan would require those selling tickets list fees with the initial price, rather than deep into the transaction, as so often practiced by the industry, according to a story in the Daily News. Brannan, a democrat representing Brooklyn, introduced the bill last week.
“When I was a touring musician, live shows were about having fun and building a sense of community — not nickel and diming kids who like music,” said Brannan (D-Brooklyn), who was a guitarist in punk bands before turning to a career in politics.
“Ticket prices in our city are already through the roof. New Yorkers don’t need big retailers making things worse by hiding extra fees until the very end of a sale,” he said. “Nobody wants to click on a ticket that costs $50, fill in their name, address, telephone number, email, and credit card information, and then find out it actually costs $100 or more.”
The bill would require that any and all service fees be displayed prominently, including in any ads that tout the price of tickets. It is a transparency seldom implemented by the primary market, where research including the recent Government Accountability Office study of ticketing shows that service fees can sometimes add as much as 40% of the face value of tickets as a last-minute step before a consumer clicks to purchase.
Fees such as this have long been lamented as Ticketmaster and similar companies have made it an integral part of the ticket buying process. the ticketing giant generates much of its mammoth income from such fees, which are also used to generate profit from which it ties venues into exclusive ticketing contracts. Venues and artists then share in the boon from such fees, while the ticketing provider suffers the negative PR from angry consumers.
Brannan was elected in 2017 to represent Brooklyn’s 43rd Council District, which covers Bay Ridge, Dyker heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach – near where the Verrazano Bridge carries 278 as it crosses into the borough from Staten Island. According to his biography, he became involved in politics after a turn as a union organizer at a New York City radio station, which followed a music career that included the release of several albums and travel across five continents with his band.
Primary ticketing operations have long resisted transparency measures in fee disclosure, with Ticketmaster facing scrutiny from Canada’s Competition Bureau over “drip pricing” – where consumer fees are withheld until the last moment – as well as a class action lawsuit over the practice.