President Joe Biden announced Thursday that Live Nation and its ticketing subsidiary Ticketmaster, SeatGeek, DICE, and TickPick have signed a pledge that they will bring “all-in” pricing inclusive of all fees across their sales platforms. The announcement comes as legislators at both the state and federal level work towards passing laws that would make such price transparency a requirement across the country.
“President Biden has been working to lower costs for hardworking families by bringing down inflation, capping insulin prices for seniors, and eliminating hidden junk fees,” said National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard in a written statement. “More companies are heeding the President’s call so that Americans know what they’re paying for up front and can save money as a result.”
While lauded for embracing transparency that has been pushed for months by the Biden administration for months, the actual method through which “all-in” ticket pricing will be done is varied. Live Nation says that beginning in September, all tickets sold for its shows through Ticketmaster will show one “clear, total price,” with Ticketmaster promising to add a feature that will allow consumers to see the full price upfront for any event ticketed through its platform. SeatGeek will also make it easier for consumers to shop viewing the price including fees.
SeatGeek CEO Jack Groetzinger appeared on CNBC to discuss the change later in the day Thursday.
Notably, this does not appear to mean that either will show the all-in fees by default to consumers. A toggle to view prices including fees is already available on both platforms.
The move to a simpler, more transparent pricing system has been a priority of President Biden’s administration for months. Currently, many ticketing marketplaces display one price to consumers, with numerous fees added at the end of the transaction. Some, like TickPick as well as resale marketplaces like MEGASeats and Ticket Club, already display prices inclusive of all fees to consumers, but others have resisted.
“Live Nation is proud to provide fans with a better ticket buying experience. We have thousands of crew working behind the scenes every day to help artists share their music live with fans, and we’ll continue advocating for innovations and reforms that protect that amazing connection.”
Another ticketing reform that President Biden’s administration has called on, holdback transparency, was not mentioned in the coverage of the promises by Live Nation and others for better consumer transparency in pricing. Rather, Live Nation used the press coverage of a service it already provided for consumers who wished to shop for tickets viewing the fee-inclusive price to make another push for its preferred set of reforms that would allow it to effectively police its own competition.
Currently, huge percentages of tickets are not actually offered for sale to the general public, instead set aside for various affinity groups, or simply kept back to keep supply at a perceived low amount to justify price surging systems like “dynamic” and “platinum” tickets. A 2016 report by the New York Attorney General’s office found that more than 50% of tickets to concerts were held back from general sale, with many concerts seeing far higher percentages – an audit by the Honolulu, Hawaii government in 2020 showed one concert that had a whopping 93% of tickets held back.
Actual all-in pricing, where consumers are showed the full price including fees rather than given the option of turning that feature on, has been proposed by several lawmakers at the federal level, and exists in laws in some states already, including New York. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Junk Fee Prevention Act in March, which would mandate true “all-in” pricing across the country, as well as require disclosures on ticket holdbacks and “speculative” ticketing. The TICKET Act, which would mandate all-in pricing but do nothing about ticket holdback transparency, has been introduced in both the Senate and House of Representatives. The BOSS and SWIFT Act would provide comprehensive reform to both primary and secondary ticketing, while Sen. John Cornyn has promised his own ticket-related reform bill to come.
What seems clear is that true all-in pricing is likely to be passed into law at some point soon, though what other reforms will or will not make it through the federal legislative process remains to be seen.
Last Updated on June 16, 2023