Music fans frustrated by hidden concert tickets have gained a powerful ally. President Joe Biden recently announced that he would come after such “surprise allegations” as part of a sweeping new initiative.
In a talk on Oct. 26, Biden announced that he had asked his competition council to take on “the unfair hidden fees known as ‘junk fees’ that take real money – real money out of your pockets – real money out of the pockets of American families.”
Examples the president gave of such “junk fees” included overdraft fees, credit card late fees, hotel fees and concert ticket handling fees. The commander-in-chief called such practices “unfair” and described them as “stunning accusations that companies are sneaking in bills because they can.”
In a follow-up tweet on Nov. 3, Biden doubled down on his promise to crack down on such fees.
“I know hidden junk fees — like handling fees on concert tickets — are a pain,” the president wrote. “They are unfair, deceptive and add up. That’s why last week I called on my administration to crack down on these fees and put the money back in your pocket.”
Biden’s efforts come on the heels of a tumultuous time for the live music industry. The COVID pandemic forced the cancellation of concerts across America, an industry-changing event that was unprecedented. Ticket companies fought to handle a massive number of repayments. At one point, Live Nation, the nation’s largest concert promoter, saw its revenue down 98% from the previous year.
As the live music industry has recovered, fans have flocked back to concerts and festivals. But that excitement has been clouded by high ticket prices, especially to see major artists. Ticketmaster’s “dynamic pricing” strategy has resulted in outrage, with Bruce Springsteen and reunited Blink-182 is among the most expensive tours. Overall, concert ticket prices have increased almost 20% from their pre-COVID average.
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