Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering multiple bills that would change the ticketing landscape for consumers in the state, with measures dealing with soaring ticket prices at the forefront of consumer attention. A hearing was held Monday regarding the so-called “Taylor Swift Bill” in the state, as well as others under consideration.

Much of the talk on the legislation centered around the ever-increasing use of so-called “dynamic pricing” by companies like Live Nation Entertainment, AEG, and their ticketing subsidiaries Ticketmaster and AXS. Lawmakers are looking to ban the practice, requiring transparency on ticket prices for consumers, meaning that the price shown at the initial stage of the transaction is the actual price paid at the end of it.

“When a consumer is purchasing tickets, the price should be available upfront,” said Rep. Daniel Carey, D-Easthampton, sponsor of one of the bills that would promote transparency in ticket prices. “There should be no increases in prices, dynamic pricing, during the transaction.”

Carey’s Bill is H.259 – an Act ensuring transparent ticket pricing. it would require all-in pricing and make illegal the use of “dynamic” pricing by making it unlawful to change the price after initial display during a transaction. Other bills discussed at Monday’s hearing included H.373/S.144 – An Act to modernize the issuance and sale of sports and entertainment tickets. These parallel bills would add consumer ticket transfer rights protections that currently do not exist for Massachusetts residents, but have been passed in nearby states including Connecticut and New York, as well as require timely refunds to consumers in the event of an event being cancelled.

“When consumers purchase a ticket, they own that ticket, and should have the right to do with it whatever they choose,” says Bruce Morris of TicketNetwork, speaking in support of the legislation. . “They should not have to pay the seller an additional fee nor should they have to relinquish any of their rights to do so.”

H.3975 – An act to secure while improving fans’ tickets also proposes to outlaw ticket transfer restrictions, require timely refunds, and establishes a framework for the licensure of those operating as ticket resellers in the state, while S.215 proposes to ban the practice of event promoters moving tickets directly to ticket resale marketplaces rather than offering for sale to the general public.

“It seems like everybody is finally coming together and realizing, hey we have to do something,” Ace Ticket CEO Jim Holtzman said during the hearing, as reported by a Boston CBS affiliate. “Consumers get ripped off, like whether it was Taylor Swift or Celtics playoffs.”

Speaking on behalf of Live Nation Entertainment, Don Law pushed the narrative that the spiraling ticket prices are the fault of ticket resale marketplaces, rather than the entertainment giant’s usage of price-surging tactics. But proponents of a more open and competitive ticketing ecosystem and legislation that would lead to that pushed back against that line, which has become a common theme when Live Nation is confronted on the subject.

“It’s a monopoly,” said Chris Vandehoef, of Fan Freedom Project, a consumer advocate who testified at the Monday hearing. He laid the blame for soaring prices squarely on Live Nation/Ticketmaster. “There’s not enough transparency in the space,” Vandehoef said.


Last Updated on July 26, 2023