If you’ve ever bought tickets online for a concert, a game, or a show, you know the frustration of seeing the price go up at checkout due to hidden fees and surcharges. Well, that’s about to change thanks to a new pledge by some of the biggest ticketing companies in the U.S.
President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that ticketing giants such as Live Nation, Ticketmaster, SeatGeek and others have agreed to show the full price of tickets upfront to consumers, eliminating the practice of adding fees at the end of the online purchase process. The move is part of the administration’s effort to lower costs for Americans and end so-called junk fees, which Biden has urged industries from ticketsellers to airlines to eliminate.
“President Biden has been working to lower costs for hardworking families by bringing down inflation, capping insulin prices for seniors, and eliminating hidden junk fees,” said National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard. “More companies are heeding the President’s call so that Americans know what they’re paying for up front and can save money as a result.”
The announcement follows months of public and government pressure on the ticketing industry, which faced controversies around Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen ticket sales last year. Fans complained about long wait times, technical issues, and inflated prices due to fees and scalpers. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing in January to examine Ticketmaster’s outsize role in the ticketing market and its alleged monopoly practices. The Department of Justice is also investigating the company for possible antitrust violations.
Live Nation, which owns both Ticketmaster and concert promotion giant Live Nation, has agreed that starting in September, its 200 venues will commit to all-in pricing, meaning that the price shown at the beginning of the purchase will be the final price paid by the consumer. Ticketmaster will also add a feature that allows consumers the option to view upfront pricing for all other tickets sold on the platform. Other ticketing platforms such as SeatGeek and xBk have pledged to introduce options for consumers to view full pricing as well.
“Live Nation is proud to provide fans with a better ticketing buying experience,” Tom See, president of Live Nation’s Venue Nation, said in a statement. “We have thousands of crew working behind the scenes every day to help artists share their music live with fans, and we’ll continue advocating for innovations and reforms that protect that amazing connection.”
The pledge was welcomed by some industry groups and lawmakers who have been calling for more transparency and consumer protection in the ticketing market. Stephen Parker, president of the National Independent Venues Assn., said: “Up-front pricing should be the start of comprehensive ticketing reform that protects consumers from price gouging and deceptive practices by predatory resellers. Other needed reforms such as banning speculative tickets and deceptive websites would further protect consumers in the ticketing marketplace.”
Biden has previously called upon Congress to pass legislation called the Junk Fee Protection Act to ban hidden fees and increase transparency in the ticketing market. He also urged other industries such as airlines, hotels, car rentals, cable companies, and banks to follow suit and end junk fees that catch consumers by surprise.
The new pledge by ticketing companies is expected to benefit millions of fans who are eager to return to live events after the pandemic. However, it is important to note that the fees themselves are not necessarily being eliminated, but rather being included within the all-in pricing at the onset. Therefore, consumers should still compare prices across different platforms and sellers before making a purchase.
– Ticketmaster, Others Agree to Reveal Full Ticket Price Up-Front as White House Slams ‘Surprise’ Fees, Variety, Jun 15, 2023
– Ticketmaster, SeatGeek to Show Full Ticket Prices Up Front as Biden Targets ‘Junk Fees’, WSJ, Jun 15, 2023
– Ticketmaster, Others Agree to All-In Pricing at Biden’s Request – Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, Jun 15, 2023
– Ticketing Reform Bill Proposed by President Biden, NYS Music, Feb 8, 2023