Backlash over the scarcity and exorbitant prices of tickets to Taylor Swift concerts sparked a nationwide debate over how Ticketmaster handles the process and whether purchasers should be able to resell their tickets at a massive premium.
There was some bipartisan support for legislation that would limit the ability of individuals to buy up a large number of tickets to an event with the intent to make a handy profit on the secondary market.
Of course, some critics were opposed to such regulation — and the resulting division was on full display in Louisiana.
During a congressional hearing earlier this year, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) voiced support for a rule that would prohibit the transfer of tickets from one person to another. More recently, however, the state’s Republican-led House of Representatives advanced a bill that would essentially open the door for scalpers to resell tickets for far above their face value.
As Kennedy suggested in January: “What if we adopt a rule that said tickets … are non-transferrable? Now, you’re not going to have a problem with bots, OK? You’ve got a scalper trying to buy 2,000 tickets. They don’t want 2,000 tickets, they want to profit. And it will hold down ticket prices. Why don’t we do that?”
His question received a mixed response from the industry insiders providing testimony, with some expressing the belief that it is important for consumers to have the freedom to resell tickets that they have purchased.
That appears to be the argument endorsed by supporters of Louisiana HB 341, which states that “a ticket issuer may use a nontransferable ticketing system only if the ticket holder is offered to purchase the same ticket in a transferable form at the initial time of sale.”
As the bill was being prepared for introduction in the state Senate, some prominent figures — including The Cure frontman Robert Smith — voiced their opposition.
In support of The Cure's plans to get fans access to tickets at the prices set by the artist, all tickets sold on Ticketmaster for Shows of a Lost World will be non-transferable. Tickets can be sold for the full price fans paid using Ticketmaster’s Face Value Exchange.
— Ticketmaster (@Ticketmaster) March 12, 2023
In an all-caps series of tweets, Smith wrote: “The Louisiana legislature … is considering a resellers-backed bill to ban fan-to-fan exchanges (like the one we are using on our 2023 North American tour to try and limit/stop scalping and bots).”
He went on to call on state senators to vote against the bill and “empower the artists, not the scalpers and the bots!”