Music fans frustrated over concert ticket hidden fees have gotten a powerful ally. President Joe Biden recently announced he would be coming after the such “surprise charges” as part of a sweeping new initiative.
In a speech on Oct. 26, Biden announced he’d asked his Competition Council to take on “the unfair hidden fees known as ‘junk fees’ that are taking 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 banking overdraft fees, credit card late fees, hotel resort fees and processing fees for concert tickets. The commander-in-chief called such practices “unfair,” describing them as “surprise charges that companies sneak into 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 processing fees on concert tickets – are a pain,” the President wrote. “They’re unfair, deceptive, and add up. That’s why, last week, I called on my Administration to crack down on these fees and put that 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-altering event which had no precedent. Ticketing companies struggled to handle a massive number of refunds. At one point, Live Nation, the country’s largest concert promoter, saw its revenue down 98% from the previous year.
As the live music industry has recovered, fans have swarmed 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 the reunited Blink-182 ranking among the most expensive tours. Overall, concert ticket prices have increased nearly 20% from their pre-COVID average.
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