Leveling The Hannah Montana Market

Just last year, the state of New York opened the gates on secondary ticketing and one New York City councilman thinks the time has come to pull in the reins.

Councilman Leroy Comrie, who chairs the consumer affairs committee, has introduced the Ticket Resale Consumer Fairness Bill, otherwise known as the Hannah Montana Bill, to regulate tickets to concerts, theatre and sporting events sold by venues that receive public funding and seat more than 5,000.

Comrie apparently has children who are Hannah Montana fans. After attempting to purchase tickets to one of the pop star’s shows, he found himself "outraged that unscrupulous ticket brokers would charge ridiculous prices to these concerts" and drafted the measure as a type of ticket "market correction."

With the advent of the open ticket market, brokers have been able to "dial in and develop computer programs to snap up the premium tickets," Comrie told the New York Sun, leaving regular consumers with "a very slim chance of even being able to purchase a ticket nowadays."

The legislation requires venues to reserve at least 40 percent of their tickets for sales to individual consumers and limits those consumer purchases to no more than four tickets per day, per individual, through any sales medium. The bill also requires that ticket sellers disclose the total number of tickets offered for sale to individual consumers and keep records of sales available for later inspection.

"This bill ensures that the free market principles behind ticket resale will still take place, however, it levels the playing field for working class New Yorkers whose taxes subsidize the arenas where these concerts are taking place," Comrie said in a statement. "I think that having access to 60 percent of the available seats at a given event still leaves plenty of opportunity for ticket resale. … So it’s foreseeable that most of the premium seats to an event will still be subject to free market principles."

In other ticket news, legislators in Minnesota have voted to outlaw ticketing software produced by RMG Technologies. The company was sued by Ticketmaster last year after TM’s fraud prevention team discovered brokers were using RMG’s automated bots to gain unfair access to tickets at a speed and volume far beyond human capacity.