Proposed legislation from California Assemblymember Buffy Wicks seeks to end exclusive control by Ticketmaster over the sale and resale of concert tickets for events in the state. It proposes to do so by ending primary ticket exclusivity, allowing event tickets to be sold through multiple marketplaces to spur competition.

“We want to make sure that we have competition and choice for consumers so we don’t end up with situations like the Taylor Swift concerts — like ‘Lord of the Flies’ attempts to get tickets,” said Wicks, a Democrat representing Oakland who chairs the Appropriations Committee.

According to the draft legislation (AB2808), the bill would require ticketing companies to allow other vendors the ability to integrate via API interface to list and sell both primary and secondary tickets. It would also make it unlawful for ticketing companies or venues to restrict the transfer or resale of tickets, or deny access to those who purchased tickets through resale marketplaces.

This bill is a direct attack on the business model favored by companies like Live Nation and its ticketing subsidiary Ticketmaster, as well as AEG and its ticketing subsidiary AXS, etc. Such companies rely on exclusive contracts, often spanning several years, that many consumer advocates argue fuels surging ticket prices by eliminating the need for competition.

Legislation filed both in California and at the federal level to tackle such exclusive contracts by eliminating the ability of venues to enter into long-term exclusive contracts have thus far withered against Live Nation’s enormous lobbying power. Last year, California’s senate passed such a bill – authored by Sen. Scott Wilk – but it failed to get traction in the Assembly. The same bill was reintroduced earlier in this session but was withdrawn by Wilk.

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This bill takes a different approach, simply requiring the ticketing systems to be opened, making ticketing for live events similar to the model for airline tickets that gives consumers the ability to shop at both the airlines website, but also through other systems like,, etc.

It is already facing serious resistance from Live Nation and other industry allies, who have lobbied extensively to keep the closed-loop primary ticketing system, while also eliminating restrictions on extending the closed-loop system to resale ticketing through transfer restrictions.

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“When we and others who have a true stake in producing events — like artists, teams, and venues — explain the real effect of these bills, and how they mainly promote ticket scalping, legislators figure out on their own that they aren’t good for consumers,” says Live Nation’s Dan Wall, a former anti-trust litigator who has taken over as the company’s chief voice in defending its allegedly monopolistic business practices by blaming ticket resale for consumer woes.

The bill has support from consumer advocates, including the Consumer Federation of California, which co-sponsors Wicks’ bill.

“We cannot rely, in California, on the feds to do this for us,” says CFC executive director Robert Herrell. “If you’re waiting for them to act, it’s going to be like Waiting for Godot, and we all know how that plays out.”