United States Senate Introduces Bill To Limit TicketMaster’s Abuses


How long are people going to put up with this?

By Angelo Comeaux

December 14, 2023

Ask any Taylor Swift fan what their opinion of Ticketmaster is and they’ll probably burst into flames. Last November before she embarked on her record breaking, billion dollar Era’s tour, she partnered up with Ticketmaster for the public presale. To say the event went poorly is an understatement. Glitches, long wait times, fans getting locked out, thousands of bots instantly scooping up tickets, etc. It was such a shitshow that Ticketmaster canceled the public sale entirely.

That was a tough Klonopin to swallow for many swifties because Ticketmaster was the only vendor selling tickets. People had to go to resale platforms to buy tickets at four, five, six times the original value. The whole ordeal stunk of manipulation so bad that fans rallied to file a class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster for violating antitrust laws and anticompetitive conduct. Because America supposedly supports a free market, not a monopoly market. And we understand Swiftie rage in more ways than one. According to this Wall Street Journal article, in 2010 the average price of a ticket for a popular act was $60. In 2023 that price has now doubled to $120. Here’s Kurt Cobain in total disbelief learning that Madonna was charging $60 in 1993.

You know what the punchline is to this joke being played on us? This shouldn’t happen in the first place. Laws exist to prevent businesses from controlling, manipulating, and abusing the market. Whole government agencies exist for this purpose like the Federal Trade Commision and the Department of Justice. But when an organization finds themselves getting uber rich, one of their first investments and priorities is controlling the levers of power to make sure they stay uber rich.

In this specific arena Ticketmaster are rock stars. In 1995, Pearl Jam, the biggest Rock and Roll act on earth at that time, took Ticketmaster to court over their summer tour. What for? You guessed it, for breaking antitrust laws and engaging in monopolistic business practices. They did this at the direct encouragement of the Department of Justice. 30 years ago. And guess what, they lost. Why? A bill was drafted that would require explicitly stating service fees but lobbyists hired by Ticketmaster made sure it never saw the light of day.

Here we are now, nearly 30 years later, and the US Senate has drafted the “Fans First Act”. This bill would require ticket sellers to explicitly state all service fees along with other consumer protections. The bill has a long and perilous journey before it has the chance to become law though. It’s like the Oregon trail for those who have played the game. The bill has a much higher chance of death by dysentery than it has of reaching its final destination, as written law on the books. But we’ll be watching, and maybe you should too.