Fix The Tix Coalition opposes BOSS ACT because of pro-touting provisions


May 30, 2023

A coalition of American music industry groups recently set up to lobby on ticketing issues has spoken out in opposition to the latest iteration of the BOSS ACT, which seeks to regulate the US ticketing business. Although that act does contain some measures that the Fix The Tix Coalition would support, it also includes provisions that would benefit the pesky ticket touts.

Ticketing has become a political talking point in the US again following all the issues that occurred last year when tickets for Taylor Swift’s current tour went on sale via Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan system. That has prompted three sets of legislative proposals in Washington which seek to regulate the sale of tickets in one way or another, plus a number of lobbying campaigns involving consumers and industry groups.

For some people the biggest issue in ticketing is the market dominance of Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation. And one of the current lobbying campaigns calls for the 2010 merger that brought Live Nation and Ticketmaster together to be reversed.

Keen to keep that proposal off the agenda in Washington, Live Nation has its own campaign calling for any new ticketing regulations to mainly focus on resale, so all the touts and the platforms they use for their touting.

And then there’s the Fix The Tix campaign. Although its precise manifesto is still not clear, it is probably somewhere in the middle. So likely supportive of some new regulation of primary ticketing which Live Nation won’t like, but not quite as bombastic as the Ticketmaster demerger brigade.

The BOSS ACT is one of the three sets of legislative proposals in Washington. It’s been proposed by Bill Pascrell Jr, a Congress member and Ticketmaster critic who has been seeking to introduce new laws regulating ticketing since 2009.

His proposals, introduced into the House Of Representatives last week, are the latest iteration of legislation that he has been pushing for more than a decade. Although actually now renamed as the BOSS and SWIFT ACT, to acknowledge that it was the Swift ticketing debacle that pushed all this back up the political agenda.

Pascrell’s act does seek to force more transparency on the ticketing business at large – primary and secondary – something the Fix The Tix Coalition would probably support.

However, it also includes provisions that seek to “ensure fans cannot be sanctioned for reselling a ticket”, and which say that those fans should not be “restricted from reselling their tickets” or “face a price ceiling or floor on ticket resales”.

And while those provisions would in theory protect genuine fans looking to sell on tickets for shows they are no longer able to attend, they are also proposals that would greatly help commercial touts – or scalpers as they are called in the US – and the secondary ticketing platforms they employ in order to sell their tickets.

And to confirm that the BOSS ACT is at least partly pro-tout, Pascrell’s legislative reforms are backed by pro-touting groups like the FanFreedom Project and Protect Ticket Rights.

Confirming that, if nothing else, it is definitely anti-touting, the Fix The Tix Coalition said in a statement on Friday: “Our coalition, representing every major constituency of the music and live events industry, supports legislation that truly safeguards consumers from price gouging, fake tickets, and ubiquitous deceptive practices by secondary sellers; provides transparency in ticket pricing; and restores integrity to the ticketing marketplace”.

To that end, it added: “We strongly oppose the BOSS ACT as it would increase ticket prices, enshrine deceptive practices like speculative tickets, and cause an even worse ticket-buying experience for true fans”.

The Coalition did concede that Pascrell’s proposals “provide some transparency for consumers”, but added that they do that “in exchange for anti-fan and anti-artist handouts for scalpers and secondary ticketing platforms that do not contribute to the live entertainment ecosystem”.

“Our coalition is currently working with Congress in a bipartisan manner to usher in meaningful and systemic reforms that will truly protect consumers”, it went on.

“The BOSS ACT has been introduced in every Congress for more than a decade, and it has been opposed in every Congress by artists and those who pour their blood, sweat, and tears into producing shows that create lifelong memories for fans”.

It then concluded: “We look forward to working with Congress in a bipartisan fashion with new ideas from artists, venues, promoters, performing arts centers, agents, managers and fans to reform the ticketing industry”.

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