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Australian Live Music Business Council welcomes US law change on ticketing transparency

Australian Live Music Business Council welcomes US law change on ticketing transparency
May 29, 2024

The Australian Live Music Business Council (ALMBC) has released a statement advising that “huge positive changes are on their way in global ticketing” following the US House of Representatives having voted to pass the TICKET Act - which aims to ensure transparent pricing for consumers - on 15th May.

Passed by 388 votes to 24, the bill, which is yet to be enacted, is seen as the most comprehensive consumer protection ticketing legislation in recent history with its guaranteeing of all-in pricing, prohibition of deceptive sales tactics and its ensuring of refunds for cancelled events.

Its progress followed 19 organisations coming together to form the Fix The Tix Coalition, led by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) with Ticketmaster owner Live Nation Entertainment among a number of companies including Wasserman, See Tickets, Universal Music Group, Dice and the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO) supporting the process, with Live Nation playing a leadership role.

Commenting on the changes, ALMBC board member Brian ‘Smash’ Chladil advised “this new legislation, soon to be in the UK too, is a great first step in making ticket prices more transparent.

“Credit where it’s due, well done for Live Nation for being willing to change.

“However, it doesn’t really change the sheer amount of fees being charged by them and other multi-national companies. Live Nation own Ticketmaster, and here in Australia their ticketing fees are double and sometimes triple of what smaller independent companies charge.”

Live Nation/Ticketmaster lawsuit
Also in the USA, Live Nation Entertainment is being sued by the US Government Department of Justice (DoJ) over its alleged wielding of “monopolistic power”.

Coming more than a decade after the US$2.5 billion merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster, the lawsuit is seeking to challenge Ticketmaster’s monopoly power over artist performances, venues and concertgoers.

According to the Associated Press “Ticketmaster is the world’s largest ticket seller, processing 500 million tickets each year in more than 30 countries. Around 70% of tickets for major concert venues in the USA are sold through Ticketmaster.”

The DoJ is accusing the entertainment giant of using illegal tactics to maintain a monopoly over the live music industry, keeping out competitors and leading to higher ticket prices and worse service for customers.

Commenting on the lawsuit to Business News Australia, ALMBC Executive General Manager, Ant McKenna stated “I think there’s an opportunity for the Australian Government to follow what's happening in the USA and ensure there is that transparency so that punters are able to compare prices.

“Obviously, that's difficult if an artist is through one company. Once we have that transparency, we honestly believe there will be downward pressure on costs.

“There has been some concern about the role that global multinational companies are playing in the Australian music industry. It's not new. It has been happening for over a decade. This is something that is really throughout the whole industry. There are three major global corporations in Australia, Live Nation, TEG (Ticketek), and AEG-Frontier (AXS).”

Earlier this week, Humanitix co-founder Adam McCurdie echoes a similar sentiment, saying that market concentration in Australia has become a concern for the Sydney-based not-for-profit.

McCurdie noted “we're very excited by this news and hope it can be replicated in Australia. It’s giving fans, artists and events the choice of who tickets their events at major venues - that's a huge step in the ticketing industry.”

McCurdie added that while Humanitix has managed to help host thousands of small music gigs, conferences and free events, the platform has been shut out from working with major music venues in Australia, which are often left with no choice in selecting their ticketing partner in order to secure big-name artists.

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-founder/Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-founder and Publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

In 2020, he launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

Read more from this author

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