What’s in Live Nation’s FAIR Ticketing Act Proposal?

In conjunction with its year-end earnings report released Thursday, Live Nation announced support for what it’s calling a FAIR Ticketing Act.

The proposal — it’s an acronym for Fans & Artists Insisting on Reforms in Ticketing — would mandate artist control for how resale is handled and create “real consequences” for “sites that turn a blind eye to illegally acquired tickets, allow ticket speculation, and ignore artists’ rules.”

The act also includes reform proposals that have generally broad support — expanded enforcement of the BOTS Act, a ban on selling speculative tickets and a requirement for all-in pricing, which is already being pushed by the Biden Administration through rulemaking and other non-legislative avenues.

A Ticketmaster sign hangs on the wall at the FTX Arena ticket window on November 18, 2022 in Miami. The Justice Department is reportedly investigating the parent company of Ticketmaster for possible antitrust violations. News of the investigation broke days after Taylor Swift concert ticket sales overwhelmed the Ticketmaster system. Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The proposal follows a panel at this week’s Pollstar Live! featuring Irving Azoff, James Dolan and Garth Brooks on the hot-button issue in which the latter repeatedly insisted that banning scalpers would eliminate all of the problems and concerns in the ticketing space. At a second panel, David Marcus, Ticketmaster’s executive vice-president for global music, said the company largely has the ability to cater and curate to an artist what they want the rules to be for both on-sale and transferability, as they’ve done for Pearl Jam, an artist once well-known for anti-Ticketmaster positions. Marcus’s fellow panelist Michele Bernstein threw cold water on Brooks’ idea, saying scalping will always exist because of the nature of the economy.

Live Nation’s push for ticketing reform addresses an acute concern. The company under increased public and political pressure after the perceived failures of the on-sale for Taylor Swift’s tour, along with reports of a Department of Justice investigation as to whether the company is still in compliance with the consent decree it enterer more than a decade ago. Furthermore, an increasing number of states have passed or are considering passing legislation which protects the secondary ticket market. This is happening in states as conservative as Utah and as progressive as California, showing that issue is cutting across a persistent and deepening political divide.