Live Nation Urges Congress to Pass a ‘FAIR Ticketing Act’ Amid Justice Department Antitrust Investigation and Ticketmaster Scrutiny

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As it grapples with a Justice Department investigation – and all manner of criticism from lawmakers – Live Nation is officially calling for the passage of a “FAIR Ticketing Act.”

The publicly traded promoter just recently unveiled its ideas for a FAIR Ticketing Act, and the legislative framework’s announcement coincided with the release of the Ticketmaster parent’s Q4 2022 earnings report. In the latter, Live Nation head Michael Rapino addressed the regulatory scrutiny that’s being directed towards his business, after CFO Joe Berchtold last month appeared before Congress to discuss the Eras Tour fiasco and ticketing-sector competition.

“The ticketing industry is more competitive than ever, and our market share has gone down, not up, since the Ticketmaster merger,” Rapino claimed in Live Nation’s Q4 earnings release. “Since signing the extended consent decree related to the Ticketmaster merger, we remain in constant conversation with the Department of Justice’s monitors, and do not believe there have been any violations.”

On top of the DoJ probe and the aforesaid pushback from members of Congress, the White House called out Ticketmaster at February’s start when touting legislation that it says would curb excess fees on concert tickets. And more recently, former Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff took aim at the wider secondary-ticketing sphere.

It’s against this backdrop that Live Nation is publicizing its own purported solution to ultra-expensive (and often-unavailable) tickets, having highlighted a FAIR Ticketing Act in its Q4 earnings release and elaborated upon the associated ideas in a relatively in-depth document as well as a brief statement.

“We believe that policymakers would benefit from asking more questions about the chaos caused by scalpers and the resale-first side of the industry,” the noted statement reads in part. “We remain committed to working with lawmakers on developing reforms that will benefit fans and artists including those outlined in a FAIR Ticketing Act.”

Digging into Live Nation’s summary of the proposed legislation – which Rapino described as the FAIR Ticketing Act, though it doesn’t appear that an actual bill has yet been drafted – the measure consists of five main points.

First, Live Nation has claimed that Congress should attempt to reduce scalping’s prevalence by allowing artists to determine the “resale rules” for their passes, referring specifically to guaranteeing the “ability to use face-value exchanges and limited transfer.”

Similarly, lawmakers should “make it illegal to sell speculative tickets,” which, along with related “deceptive tactics,” are said to “trick fans into spending more or buying tickets the seller doesn’t even have,” per the Beverly Hills-based business.

Next, the House and the Senate should “crack down on resale sites that are safe havens for scalpers,” according to the Ticketmaster owner, maintaining also that such platforms “need real consequences from policymakers to curb their bad behavior.”

Lastly, all-in pricing (or pricing that displays tickets’ total cost, including fees, at the outset as opposed to solely at checkout) should be mandated nationally, Live Nation indicated, while Congress should likewise “increase enforcement” of the BOTS Act (a seven-year-old law under which only a handful of alleged scalpers have been charged).

“We already follow many of these common sense policies and are ready to make additional changes, but we can’t do it alone,” Live Nation proceeded. “We need the entire industry and policymakers to stand up for fans and artists. … To truly protect consumers, Congress should make a federal law that backstops artist’s [sic] ability to control their tickets. Together, we can create a FAIR system that benefits everyone.”