A huge cadre of industry insiders have thrown their support behind Live Nation’s proposed “FAIR” ticketing act, which would dramatically change the ticketing landscape by effectively handing full control of tickets from the moment they are sold to the moment the event is over to event operators. The groups supporting Live Nation’s rollback of consumer ticket rights include managers of artists, music labels, and other agencies – all of whom depend financially on Live Nation Entertainment in a myriad of ways.

“No one cares more about fans than the artists,” says Oak View Group head and former Live Nation executive Irving Azoff, who parroted Live Nation’s blame of ticket resale for all of the issues that consumers face in the modern ticketing ecosystem at a recent panel event. “FAIR Ticketing reforms give more control over ticketing to the artists so they can get tickets to real fans and prevent unauthorized resellers from charging exponentially more than face value. I hope Congress will pass legislation for the good of artists and their fans.”

The specific groups mentioned as backing Live Nation’s legislative push include:

ticketflipping provides valuable tools for ticket resale professionals
  • 724 Management
  • Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC)
  • Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
  • Crush Music
  • The Core Entertainment
  • Endeavor
  • Faculty Inc.
  • Full Stop Management
  • Gellman Management
  • Laffitte Management Group
  • Live Nation Entertainment
  • Music Artists Coalition (MAC)
  • REBEL
  • Red Light Management
  • Salxco
  • Songwriters of North America (SONA)
  • United Talent Agency (UTA)
  • Universal Music Group
  • Vector Management
  • Wasserman Music
  • Wolfson Entertainment Inc.
  • WME

Live Nation’s push for “Fair” ticketing being passed has arisen out of the unprecedented pressure that the company is facing after high profile failures of the ticketing system (think: Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour or more recently the Eurovision Song Contest sales process), as well as increasing fan anger over price inflation systems like Dynamic or Platinum ticket pricing that artists are increasingly embracing, and are driving enormous profits for Live Nation and other companies in the industry.

Legislators and regulators alike have become increasingly outspoken regarding the need to fix the consumer issues in ticketing, and have proposed reforms of the space that include the potential need to unwind Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s merger that was approved in 2010 and has faced multiple accusations of creating a massive monopoly at the center of the music business that is responsible for ever-increasing ticket prices and technical issues growing out of a lack of any incentive to provide good service to customers due to the lack of meaningful competition. Live Nation has consistently blamed these problems on the existence of ticket resale, or “bot” use, despite the fact that they participate in ticket resale, and the examples of enforcement of “bot” use can be counted on one hand despite laws being on the books for more than five years.

“Bots and scalpers cause chaos in the current onsale process, leaving lots of fans disappointed,” Live Nation Chairman Michael Rapino is quoted as saying in the press release touting support for his company’s FAIR Ticketing plans. “Artists are fiercely protective of their fans and we need to make sure laws help artists control their concert intellectual property and how their tickets are sold. That would be a big step forward in helping fans buy tickets at the prices artists set.”

In the press release announcing the industry insider support for Live Nation’s legislative program, it is specifically pointed out that legislators in many states are currently working on laws that would increase consumer ticket rights. This is being painted as problematic, and being driven by ticket resale interests, rather than the need for consumers to have better protection against restrictive ticketing systems put in place by artists and ticketing companies.

On the other side, a group of consumer rights organizations have pushed for what they are calling a Ticket Buyer Bill of Rights, which they say would empower consumers rather than the event operators, as Live Nation’s plan would. Their key pillars, for comparison’s sake:

Ticket Buyer Bill of Rights Live Nation’s “FAIR” Ticketing
  • The Right to Transferability, where ticketholders decide how to use, sell or give away their tickets if they wish and not the entity that previously sold the tickets;
  • The Right to Transparency, which includes all-in pricing and disclosures of relevant information for the purchasing decision;
  • The Right to Set the Price, so that companies who originally sold the tickets cannot dictate to fans for what price they can or cannot resell their purchased tickets, and, lastly;
  • The Right to a Fair Marketplace, where fans compete with actual humans, not illegal software bots, for tickets.
  • Resale rules decided by artists and promoters
  • Banning the listing of “speculative” tickets
  • Expanding the BOTS Act
  • Crack down on resale sites
  • Mandate all-in pricing nationally

“Fans and competition are best served when there is an open, competitive, and fair market for live event tickets,” said John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud at the National Consumers League. “The Ticket Buyer Bill of Rights is a common-sense set of principles that policymakers should look to for solutions to fix a rigged live event industry.”

The open question now is – will legislators back the industry side that suggests it actually doesn’t currently have enough power over the consumer ticketing and live event experience, or will they continue their movement towards a more open system where it is harder for venues, promoters, and teams to restrict what consumers can do with tickets they’ve paid for.

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