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Florida lawmakers file anti-Ticketmaster bills following Taylor Swift meltdown

ORLANDO, Fla. — A pair of Republican lawmakers in Florida have filed bills that take direct aim at Ticketmaster after the platform melted down during sales of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour concerts last year.

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SB 204 and its companion bill, HB 177, would forbid event venues that have accepted taxpayer dollars within the last ten years from signing a “sole source” contract with a ticketing firm. In the entertainment industry, sole-source contracts act as exclusivity agreements, preventing a venue from selling tickets on any of the platform’s competitors.

In addition, the bill would forbid venues from forcing an artist to sell their tickets on a particular website and eliminate so-called hidden fees, meaning the final price of the ticket must be the amount listed on the website. Ticketmaster has come under fire from fans for tacking on such fees at check-out, which raised the price of the ticket by double-digit percentages.

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The bills were filed Monday by State Senator Jason Brodeur (R-Seminole) and State Rep. Alex Andrade (R-Pensacola).

Ticketmaster was not mentioned in the bills’ text, but with a near-monopoly on the event ticketing market, it’s become synonymous with concert and sporting event ticket sales. It’s the exclusive vendor for Camping World Stadium, the Amway Center and the Silver Spurs Arena.

Its parent company, Live Nation, also owns many venues that host large artists, such as the House of Blues.

Swift’s fans and other artists have called out Ticketmaster for its practices, arguing that its industry dominance has led to stagnation and a worse experience for consumers.

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When Swift’s tickets went on sale in November 2022, fans waited hours in the presale queue, and some who had codes – meant to prevent scalpers from gobbling up all the seats – found themselves unable to secure a spot at any of the concerts. That led to calls to “break up” Ticketmaster.

Some contracts attorneys reached by phone Tuesday afternoon questioned the constitutionality of the bills and wondered if the state government had the ability to restrict ticketing contracts between two private entities.

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If the bills are signed into law by Gov. DeSantis, they would take effect July 1, 2024, subject to any legal action by platforms like Ticketmaster.

Messages left with Live Nation, Sen. Brodeur and Rep. Andrade’s offices were not immediately returned.

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