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U.S. Music Industry Unites on Scalping Reforms With FAIR Ticketing

FAIR Ticketing Reforms launches Wednesday with five principles to "protect fans, artists and the vitality of the live entertainment industry."

More than 20 live music organizations are calling on lawmakers to reform the ticketing space and crack-down on scalping.

Today (March 8), a coalition of talent agencies, management companies, labels and promoters have joined Live Nation and Ticketmaster in support of the Fans & Artists Insisting on Reforms — or FAIR Ticketing Reforms, for short. Signatories include Universal Music Group, Red Light Management, all four major music talent agencies (CAA, UTA, Wasserman and WME) and groups like Black Music Action Coalition in calling on Congress to “ensure a fair ticketing experience for live music fans” by handing more control to the creators.

The letter, however, is missing a few key names including rival promoter AEG and its ticketing arm AXS, as well as any independent U.S. promoters like Another Planet Entertainment, Jam or Outback Presents. The letter is a follow-up to proposed legislation last month and appeals to policymakers for a handful of “common sense” improvements to the ticketing space, drafted into five principles, which combined would “protect fans, artists and the vitality of the live entertainment industry.”


They include giving artists the right to decide how their tickets can be sold, transferred and resold; making “speculative” ticket selling and other “deceptive practices” illegal; expanding and creating stricter enforcement of the 2016 BOTS Act; policing and fining resale sites that serve as a safe haven for scalpers and “knowingly sell tickets that are illegally acquired”; and mandating all-in pricing across all ticketing marketplaces nationally, so that concertgoers know the full out-of-pocket cost of a ticket plus fees right upfront.

“Opponents to these common sense reforms have an agenda to continue to keep tickets flowing directly to both scalpers and the secondary market,” reads a statement in which FAIR Ticketing Reforms is announced.

“Scalpers are fighting hard for unlimited resale – and, unfortunately, they are winning, as there are 12 states where these laws are already in effect or going to a vote for passage soon,” the message continues, noting that through scalper lobbyists, and clever branding, ticket touts are “ultimately harming fans.”

The campaign is a national one, but is sure to catch the attention of live music industries around the world, which have long grappled with organized scalpers.

FAIR Ticketing launches as ticketing faces extraordinary scrutiny in the United States. Some of that heat has come from Ticketmaster’s record-busting presale for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour, during which 2.4 million tickets were sold in a single day. The Swift Eras presale was spoiled by a cyberattack, which disrupted over 100,000 transactions and resulted in fingers pointed (and lawsuits targeted) at Live Nation and Ticketmaster.

Following that debacle, Live Nation and its sister company decided on a strategy to hit back at scalpers while educating consumers about how fees are assessed. Through that, Ticketmaster targeted scalpers through legislation and drafted a bill, the FAIR Ticketing Act, that would outlaw drip pricing and grant artists the ability to ban scalper websites from reselling their tickets.

FAIR Ticketing, an extension of that mission, is “not about locking down resale to any one ticketing site, it’s about letting artists set the terms on which their tickets are sold,” reads the official launch statement.

“If all resellers would play by the rules of the content owners, the problem would be solved, and that’s what FAIR reforms aim to make happen.” 

Visit FairTicketing.com for more information.