U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) responded to a letter from the rock band Pearl Jam, who had asked the representative to consider changing the BOSS Act.
The letter, penned by Pearl Jam, was sent to Pascrell, as well as House and Energy Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR-02). In a statement, Pascrell noted that millions of Americans, “who want nothing more than to enjoy a little entertainment for their buck,” have consistently been victimized within the live events industry, noting that they have been met with “a seemingly endless litany of hidden fees, add-ons, and gimmicks created by the unregulated ticket monopolies who operate in the dark with impunity.”
“My bill would be the first comprehensive overhauling of this corrupt marketplace,” Pascrell said in a press release. “Music and sports fans have waited long enough for relief. Pearl Jam may know a thing or two about making great music, but they’ve been led astray about my legislation. I would be happy to speak with the band about why Live Nation-Ticketmaster doesn’t care about their fans and wants to preserve a corrupt marketplace.”
Pascrell, an early critic of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, repeatedly urged the Obama administration to reject the pair, warning how it would hurt consumers. He is the principal sponsor of the BOSS Act, which is geared to help fans have a fair chance to purchase tickets on both the primary and secondary market.
While Pearl Jam agrees with parts of the bill, they called the BOSS Act “flawed” and “primarily, if not entirely, benefits professional ticket resellers using the so-called ‘secondary market.” They urged Democratic lawmakers to focus on the blockage of non-transferable ticketing and the component that would require primary ticket sellers to disclose the number of tickets available to the general public a week before the seats head on sale.
“Over the last decade of selling concert tickets, we have seen this become an important tool to ensure fans get to see us at a reasonable price,” Pearl Jam said. “The benefits to bad actors in the secondary market ultimately hurt the consumers more than the challenges around restricting transferability as professional resellers get tickets meant for fans.”
The rock group has ultimately marked its stance with the primary market after announcing that they would be selling tickets to their upcoming Gigaton Tour exclusively through Ticketmaster’s encrypted ticketing technology SafeTix. By using this method, fans must enter the venue with their guests, and those unable to attend must only sell tickets through a Fan-to-Fan exchange. No other tickets will be accepted for entry during the trek, completely wiping out the secondary market.
The BOSS Act’s components for both the primary and secondary markets are listed below, provided by Pascrell’s office.
Primary marketplace provisions
- Requirements for all-in pricing to ensure ticket sellers disclose all ancillary charges before customers select a ticket for purchase.
- Transparency in use of holdbacks.
- Restrictions on preventing reselling or instituting a price floor on tickets.
- Disclosure of refund policies.
Secondary marketplace provision
- Transparency in the sale of speculative tickets.
- Disclosure to purchasers when the secondary seller is the primary ticket seller, venue, team, or artist associated with the event.
- Requirements for all-in pricing to ensure ticket sellers disclose all ancillary charges in price quotes and advertisements before customers select a ticket for purchase.
- Prohibitions on employees of venues, primary ticket sellers, teams, artists, online resale marketplaces, or box offices involved in hosting, promoting, performing in, or selling tickets to knowingly resell tickets at a higher price.
- Restrictions on selling a ticket for the same seat to more than one person at the same time
You can find a section-by-section breakdown of the legislation here.