NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — If you’re one of those people who is angry at Ticketmaster, you may get some relief.
“Everyone became aware of how broken the ticket-buying process was after seeing and experiencing the Taylor Swift ticket debacle,” Rep. Caleb Hemmer (D-Nashville) said.
Some small, new changes are on the way.
“My own staffer came in that day, had a horrible experience, couldn’t get tickets,” he said. “So I knew this was something that we could really dive in and look into.”
Hemmer was a freshman in the legislature this year.
One of the first bills he introduced and got through was one to show the final price with all the fees included upfront.
But even then, transparency doesn’t fix skyrocketing prices.
“It’s actually crazy to think about that,” Hemmer said. “People have only so much disposable income, and for it to be eaten up by unnecessary fees is just asinine.”
The Taylor Swift situation garnered national and international headlines and also attracted the attention of attorneys general across the country.
“I’ve said before this has been a problem for 30 years. I remember when I was in high school and there were Congressional hearings about some of the problems with ticket sales,” Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said. “Not a lot has changed since then except the prices have gone way up.”
Contrary to both popular and this reporter’s belief, no legal action has actually been filed yet.
Skrmetti didn’t want to speculate about future litigation, but he was clear that something needs to happen.
“I think it’s time the government takes a really hard look at this,” he said. “For the sake of consumers, the AG offices around the country need to really dig in and make sure that everything’s on the level.”
The Attorney General pointed out anything involving major corporations, multiple states and consumer protection and antitrust problems generally take a long time to prepare.
With Ticketmaster being one of the only major players in the ticket-distribution game, state Capitol reporter Chris O’Brien mused if the word ‘monopoly’ was appropriate.
“Typically, if you look at something, an entity that has 70 or 80 percent of the relative market, that’s a monopoly, and you see all the problems monopolies bring,” Skrmetti said. “The lack of competition hurts consumers.”
In fact, Skrmetti said monopolies are one of the reasons attorneys general rose to prominence in the first place.
“The thing that brought the attorney general offices 100 years ago was the standard oil monopoly,” he said. “We exist, in large part, to protect consumers by fighting monopolies.”
So that begs the question: What’s the solution?
“I’d like to see more competition in the market,” Skrmetti said. “That is almost always the solution to consumer problems.”
From the consumer to the artist to the venue, Ticketmaster takes a bite from each.
But Hemmer said eventually, his goal would be to help facilitate more competitors in the market and even eliminate extra fees entirely.
“We are Music City,” he said. “We want to keep the music in Music City as well as other entertainment throughout the state.”
Skrmetti also said he only received about 100 consumer complaints from the Taylor Swift incident.
If you’re someone who feels like they went through a frustrating process with it, he said you should file one.
You can do so by visiting this link.