White House Announces ‘All-In Pricing’ Commitments from Live Nation/Ticketmaster, SeatGeek, and Others

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Photo Credit: Rene DeAnda

About seven months after the president promised to crack down on live entertainment tickets’ “hidden junk fees,” representatives from Live Nation, DICE, SeatGeek, and other companies are convening at the White House to announce or reiterate their respective commitments to “all-in upfront pricing.”

The White House formally announced the meeting with execs (and outlined the represented companies’ efforts to do away with hidden ticket charges) this morning; a livestream for the event is scheduled to begin at 10:45 AM PST. Back in November, on exactly the same day that Live Nation posted its Q3 2022 financials, the president in a tweet called out “hidden junk fees – like processing fees on concert tickets.”

Not long before the thinly veiled swipe at Live Nation and its Ticketmaster subsidiary – which have continued to post strong financials this year – President Biden had delivered a speech announcing an overarching campaign against allegedly deceptive banking, airline, resort, and credit-card fees. And in spite of the initiative as well as the focus on event tickets, Live Nation execs made clear that they weren’t concerned with a potential pivot to all-in pricing.

“We don’t believe there will be any impact whatsoever if there was a nationwide mandate for all-in pricing,” Live Nation president and CFO Joe Berchtold spelled out in November, before facing a bipartisan congressional grilling to kick off 2023.

And since Berchtold’s appearance before Congress – a substantial portion of the corresponding discussion concerned the Eras Tour fiasco – lawmakers have pushed several bills (among them the Unlock Ticketing Markets Act, the BOSS and SWIFT Act, the Junk Fee Prevention Act, and, most recently, the TICKET Act) that they say would curb the prevalence of excessive and hidden fees.

It’s against this backdrop – as well as an ongoing Justice Department antitrust investigation into the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger – that the aforementioned companies claim to be taking steps to embrace all-in pricing.

According to the White House, Live Nation has specifically pledged “to roll out an upfront all-in pricing experience in September.” And the lobbying-adept promoter’s Ticketmaster “will also add a feature to give consumers the option to receive all-in upfront pricing for all other tickets sold on the platform,” per the announcement.

SeatGeek, for its part, “will roll-out product features over the course of the summer to make it easier for its millions of customers to shop on the basis of all-in price,” the White House said of the company.

Early industry reactions to the president’s hidden-fee announcement and meeting appear positive. The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), for instance, told Digital Music News that the developments represent a step towards “comprehensive ticketing reform.” (Des Moines venue and NIVA board member xBk has committed to introducing “all-in pricing for over 15,000 tickets sold to over 100 events,” the White House relayed.)

“Up-front pricing should be the start of comprehensive ticketing reform that protects consumers from price gouging and deceptive practices by predatory resellers,” NIVA executive director Stephen Parker said in part. “Other needed reforms such as banning speculative tickets and deceptive websites would further protect consumers in the ticketing marketplace.”