The high-profile effort to reform the live event ticketing experience in the United States took another step on Wednesday, as the BOSS and SWIFT Act was introduced in the Senate. The legislation, fully titled the Better Oversight of Stub Sales and Strengthening Well Informed and Fair Transactions for Audiences of Concert Ticketing Act was introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-MA), and Edward J. Markey (D-MA).

“This measure will be a major step toward stopping all the hidden fees and exorbitant prices that have plagued concertgoers for far too long,” says Blumenthal. “Ticket buyers now face sky-high junk charges or shut outs by scalpers and secondary sellers. These standards bring fairness and transparency to fans, artists, and venues who power this industry.”

Named for Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift, the BOSS and SWIFT Act introduces a comprehensive set of reforms designed to improve the consumer experience in ticketing, which has seen enormous criticism of late, particularly in light of the disastrously botched sale for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and the increasing usage of “dynamic” and “platinum” surge ticket pricing systems like with Bruce Springsteen’s tour dates.

The reforms proposed by the BOSS and SWIFT Act cover issues that consumers face purchasing and handling tickets in both “primary” and resale scenarios. Among its stipulations are rules that would:

  • Require sellers to disclose the total cost of tickets up front, including all service fees, convenience charges, delivery and logistics fees, and other costs levied against consumers;
  • Prevent sellers from changing the total cost of a ticket during the purchase process without alerting the buyer;
  • Require sellers to clearly disclose their refund policies; and
  • Ensure primary sellers are transparent about marketing and distribution by disclosing the total number and cost of tickets that will be offered at least seven days before they go on sale.

It was introduced earlier this year in the House of Representatives by Reps Bill Pascrell and Frank Pallone, both of New Jersey. The House version saw its first committee hearing this week, alongside the TICKET Act, which deals specifically with “all-in” pricing but lacks the comprehensive reform of BOSS and SWIFT.

The legislation is endorsed by the National Consumers League, Sports Fan Coalition, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, FanFreedom Project, and the Progressive Policy Institute, and the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

“The BOSS and SWIFT Act is a big step forward in promoting competition in live events ticketing and protecting fans,” says Diana Moss, Vice President and Director of Competition Policy for the Progressive Policy Institute. “We commend Senator Blumenthal for taking the lead on promoting transparency in ticketing and creating a strong legislative framework for tackling transparency problems. Many of which are the result of Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s efforts to maintain its dominance in the live events markets. This legislation will constructively bootstrap hoped-for antitrust enforcement in this space.”

Live Nation Entertainment and the “Fix The Tix” coalition of independent venues and other similar operators have both come out against the BOSS and SWIFT reforms in the past, instead hoping to push legislation that would allow event operators to control all aspects of the ticketing ecosystem, including regulating their own competition in resale spaces by allowing them to declare all but their own systems for ticket access illegal. It is expected that a bill covering much of their stated wish list of reforms is in the final stages of being prepared for release by Texas Republican Jon Cornyn.

“This is a fight I have taken on with Eyes Open,” wrote Rep. Pascrell regarding the massive companies fighting against the reforms proposed by BOSS and SWIFT ahead of Wednesday’s hearing at the House. “One company, Live Nation/Ticketmaster, controls everything: recording, licensing, venue ownership, ticketing and concessions down to the hotdog guy. With [legislative consideration of the BOSS and SWIFT Act], I have one message for Live Nation/Ticketmaster: Look What You Made Me Do.”

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