US House passes TICKET Act to force event pricing transparency

But it doesn’t appear to address exorbitant fees or bots.


On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that could provide at least some accountability for Ticketmaster and other live event vendors. NBC News reports the TICKET Act (not to be confused with the Senate’s separate bill with the same try-hard acronym) would mandate that ticket sellers list upfront the total cost of admission — including all fees — to buyers.

In addition to the full pricing breakdown, the bill would require sellers to indicate whether the tickets are currently in their possession. It would also ban deceptive websites from secondary vendors and force sellers to refund tickets to canceled events. The bill doesn’t appear to address price gouging or extravagant fees.

It now moves to the Senate, which is floating two separate event-reform bills: the other TICKET Act and a bipartisan Fans First Act. The latter was introduced in December to strengthen the 2016 BOTS Act that bars the use of bots to buy tickets, a practice that Taylor Swift fans (among others) can attest is still all too common.

Reforming the ticketing industry became a political point-scoring item in late 2022 after Ticketmaster’s Taylor Swift fiasco. The Live Nation-owned service, which has a stronghold on the industry, melted down as millions of fans battled “a staggering number” of bots. Ticketmaster said presale codes reached 1.5 million fans, but 14 million (including those pesky bots) tried to buy tickets.

Live Nation President and CFO Joe Berchtold testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2023, where he largely passed the buck to Congress to fix the mess. He suggested the government strengthen the BOTS Act, which one of the Senate’s bills would try to do. During the hearing, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) needled the executive for dodging blame, accusing the company of pointing the finger at everyone but itself.

Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) issued a joint statement on Wednesday about the House’s TICKET Act. “This consensus legislation will end deceptive ticketing practices that frustrate consumers who simply want to enjoy a concert, show, or sporting event by restoring fairness and transparency to the ticket marketplace,” the group wrote. “After years of bipartisan work, we will now be able to enhance the customer experience of buying event tickets online. We look forward to continuing to work together to urge quick Senate passage so that we can send it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”

Artists publicly supporting legislation to combat the ticketing industry’s failures include (among others) Billie Eilish, Lorde, Green Day, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz and Dave Matthews. “We are joining together to say that the current system is broken: predatory resellers and secondary platforms engage in deceptive ticketing practices to inflate ticket prices and deprive fans of the chance to see their favorite artists at a fair price,” a joint letter from over 250 musicians reads.