Massachusetts lawmakers propose “Taylor Swift bill” to prevent ticket price gouging

Massachusetts State Senator John Velis (D-Westfield) and State Representative Dan Carey (D-Easthampton) have introduced bills in their respective legislative bodies to improve transparency in the ticket market and limit price gouging by vendors. An Act Ensuring Transparent Ticket Pricing — colloquially dubbed the “Taylor Swift bill” due to the timing of its announcement last week ahead of Swift’s performance at Foxborough, MA’s Gillette Stadium on Friday — would require sellers and resellers to display the full cost of their tickets at the point of purchase, including all associated fees. It would also ban the dubious practice of “dynamic pricing,” whereby ticket vendors are able to increase the cost of tickets in real-time based on customer demand.

Lack of oversight in the live music industry had a particularly detrimental effect on Swifties in November 2022, when demand for tickets to her “Eras” tour crashed Ticketmaster’s servers, forcing them to cancel the tour’s public sale and pushing resale values well into the four-digit range. Last fall’s fiasco led to lawsuits against the ticketing giant and expedited an ongoing DOJ anti-trust investigation into the company’s 2010 merger with Live Nation.

“This bill would add Massachusetts to a list of a growing number of states that have implemented similar policies to ensure consumers know the true cost of their tickets from the onset,” Senator Velis wrote in a press release announcing the filing last week. “There is often a number of additional fees added to the advertised ticket cost that consumers have minutes, if not seconds, to consider if they want to secure their tickets. It is nearly impossible for people to plan how much a ticket will cost to see their favorite artist, and that is simply wrong.”

“While I wrote this bill before the Taylor Swift ticket fiasco, I have heard from many Swift fans who support this change,” Representative Carey added.  “No matter the event, consumers are tired of the lack of transparency from ticket sellers.  Watching ticket prices increase as you navigate through the purchasing process is devastating.  Sellers should not be able to hide behind websites while consumers are left out in the cold.”

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