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Touring

'The Current System is Broken': 250+ Artists Sign Letter Calling Out 'Predatory' Ticketing Practices

Billie Eilish, Green Day and Cyndi Lauper, as well as Canadian artists Blue Rodeo, The Sadies and Le Ren, are amongst the signees of a new letter in support of the Fans First Act, which would ban fake tickets and mandate clearer ticket pricing.

Le Ren, one of the signees of the 'Fix The Tix' letter

Le Ren, one of the signees of the 'Fix The Tix' letter

Bandcamp

Major artists are speaking out about the state of concert ticketing.

"The current system is broken," reads a new letter signed by over 250 artists, including Billie Eilish, Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Cyndi Lauper, Lorde and more. The letter, dubbed "Fix The Tix," addresses pervasive issues in the ticketing industry, like fake tickets, misleading marketing strategies and unclear pricing.


Addressed to Maria Cantwell and Ted Cruz, the respective Chair and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, the letter calls on the legislators to support the Fans First Act. The Act would take a series of steps to make ticketing more transparent for consumers, including banning "deceptive marketing tactics," which lure fans into "paying more for tickets that may never get them into a show."

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"Predatory resellers have gone unregulated while siphoning money from the live entertainment ecosystem for their sole benefit," the letter reads. "As artists and members of the music community, we rely on touring for our livelihood, and we value music fans above all else. We are joining together to say that the current system is broken."

Though the letter addresses American lawmakers, ticket resale practices are not limited to the U.S., and several Canadian acts have signed in support of letter's aims, including Blue Rodeo, The Sadies, Cowboy Junkies, Suzie Ungerleider and Alvvays' Alec O'Hanley.

"Marking tickets up is indicative of yet another layer in a broken system," Canadian singer-songwriter Lauren Spear, who releases music as Le Ren and signed on to the letter, tells Billboard Canada. "It's hard enough making money with streaming services taking revenue away from artists. Markups create an invisible hand that both gatekeeps the audience and pockets money that should be going to the labour of the musicians and crew."

Problematic ticketing practices

Concert tickets have become a major news story in the last several years, with frustrated fans struggling to acquire tickets to their see their favourite artists. Ticketmaster has been a primary focus of consumer and artist ire, with Taylor Swift fans suing the ticketing giant after facing exorbitant prices and technical difficulties when trying to get Eras Tour tickets. “Ticketmaster is a monopoly that is only interested in taking every dollar it can from a captive public,” one lawsuit — later dropped — alleged.

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Reportedly, the U.S. Department of Justice is now planning to sue Live Nation, which merged with Ticketmaster in 2010, for violating federal antitrust laws. The lawsuit is expected to land in the coming weeks.

The Fix The Tix letter doesn't mention Ticketmaster, and is instead focused on "predatory resellers," who purchase tickets at source and resell them at much higher price points. The letter claims such resellers also use "deceitful advertising," designed to hide that the tickets are re-sale and not face-value purchases, and decries the practice of "speculative tickets" — selling tickets that the seller doesn't actually have, which can result in fans getting turned away from shows.

"No one cares more about fans than the artists," the letter says. "When predatory resellers scoop up face-value tickets ahead of fans in order to resell at inflated prices on the secondary market, artists lose the ability to connect with their fans who cannot afford to attend."

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The Fans First Act would also require ticket sellers to display the full price of a ticket from the outset of a purchase, tackling hidden fees that often catch consumers by surprise at the end of a transaction.

Read the full letter here.

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Iron Butterfly's Doug Ingle performs at the Fillmore East on February 1, 1969 in New York City.
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Iron Butterfly's Doug Ingle performs at the Fillmore East on February 1, 1969 in New York City.

Music

Obituaries: Iron Butterfly's Doug Ingle, Disney Film Songwriter Richard M. Sherman

This week we also acknowledge the passing of Train bassist Charlie Colin and Jon Wysocki, founding member and drummer of Staind.

Doug Ingle, singer/keyboardist who co-founded the heavy rock band Iron Butterfly, died on May 24, at age 78. A cause has not been reported.

"Ingle, writer of Iron Butterfly’s signature song In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, was the last surviving member of the group’s classic lineup, which was formed in San Diego in 1966. Drummer Ron Bushy died in 2021 at age 79, bassist Lee Dornan passed in 2012 at age 70, and guitarist Erik Brann died in 2003 at age 52," Billboard's obituary notes.

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