Biden: Live Nation, Ticketmaster will allow buyers to see all fees up front
(CNN) — President Joe Biden announced from a White House roundtable on Thursday that entertainment giant Live Nation (LYV) and ticketing behemoth Ticketmaster have pledged to give U.S. consumers the ability to see the full price of tickets up front, minimizing the frequently frustrating experience of watching additional fees add up late in the checkout process when buying online.
The announcement came amid increased pressure on the industry from debacles over exorbitant ticketing fees and as the president has urged Congress to pass legislation targeting other hidden costs paid by consumers throughout the economy. It marked Biden’s latest effort to address kitchen-table issues as economic concerns remain top of mind for voters heading into the 2024 election.
“The solution is what is called ‘all-in pricing’ and that’s where companies fully disclose their fees up front, when you start shopping, so you’re not surprised at the end when you check out,” Biden said at the White House event.
“President Biden has been working to lower costs for hardworking families by bringing down inflation, capping insulin prices for seniors, and eliminating hidden junk fees,” said National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard in a written statement. “More companies are heeding the President’s call so that Americans know what they’re paying for up front and can save money as a result.”
Biden convened the roundtable with representatives from companies that either already provide all-in pricing upfront or have agreed to provide that option to customers in the coming months. These include Live Nation, SeatGeek, xBk, Airbnb, the Pablo Center at the Confluence, TickPick, DICE, and the Newport Festivals Foundation.
“The President’s commitment to scrap junk fees is a huge step forward,” Phil Hutcheon, CEO of global ticketing and event discovery company DICE told CNN on Thursday. “DICE has always done upfront pricing and it leads to more fans going out more often. It’s great for fans, artists and live venues.”
Some of the commitments include Live Nation’s pledge that, in September, all tickets sold for its shows through Ticketmaster automatically will “list all the prices up front, for all tickets to events at more than 200 venues of its own, benefiting over 30 million customers and will give customers the options for an all-in price for all other tickets sold on its platform,” according to Biden.
“Live Nation is proud to provide fans with a better ticket buying experience,” said Tom See, Live Nation’s president of venues, in a statement. “We’ll continue advocating for innovations and reforms that protect that amazing connection.”
Additionally, SeatGeek and Iowa-based xBk have pledged to make it easier for people to shop on their platforms based on the full price of the tickets they sell.
“These are just the latest private sector leaders who are responding to my call for action,” Biden said. “I’m asking their competitors to follow suit and adopt an all-in upfront pricing as well.”
In February, Biden proposed legislation — the Junk Fee Protection Act — to target four types of excessive fees, including: excessive online concert, sporting event and entertainment ticket fees, airline fees for families sitting together on flights, exorbitant early termination fees for TV, phone and internet services, as well as surprise resort and destination fees.
Biden’s Transportation Department also took steps last fall during a meeting of the Competition Council to reduce “unnecessary hidden fees” from airline and travel sites that the president warned were “weighing down family budgets.”