Legislation for the ‘Eras’ — New Taylor Swift ticketing bill could help fans in Minnesota

Four women hold out arms, showing bracelets.
From left, Meghan Kerr, Brigit Greiner, Ta'mia Hedlin and Andrea Hughes show the bracelets they traded before the second night of Taylor Swift's Eras tour in Minneapolis.
Nicole Neri for MPR News | 2023

There’s “Bad Blood” between fans and ticket sellers. A bill dubbed the “Taylor Swift bill” could help.

The bill would require ticket sellers to list the full price, including fees, up-front on their website. It would also ban speculative ticketing, where tickets are sold before they are actually available. And it would prevent ticket companies and resellers from using deceptive practices.

The House Commerce and Finance Committee voted to refer the bill to the General Register Monday, where the Minnesota House of Representatives will be able to take it up for a vote.

Rep. Kelly Moller, DFL-Shoreview, authored the bill after her experience trying to get tickets to Taylor Swift’s Era Tour in Minneapolis last summer. The bill was introduced last session, and Moller and Senate sponsor Matt Klein, DFL-Mendota Heights, spent the interim between sessions talking to stakeholders who would be affected by the bill.

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A woman gives a speech after winning an award
Taylor Swift accepts the Best Pop Vocal Album award for "Midnights" onstage during the 66th GRAMMY Awards at Crypto.com Arena on Los Angeles.
Kevin Winter | Getty Images

“The number of hours that I’ve spent talking to stakeholders probably, remarkably, exceeds the number of minutes I’ve spent listening to All Too Well, the 10 Minute Version, Taylor’s Version, From the Vault,” Moller said.

When thousands of fans couldn’t get tickets for Swift’s tour, some paid upwards of 70 times face value to secure tickets. It prompted lawmakers across the country to introduce bills similar to Moller’s, which is fittingly identified as HF1989, a number many fans know as both the year Swift was born and the name of her fifth studio album.

Moller said she talked to many Minnesotans who experienced similar situations. Some were duped into buying tickets that didn’t exist from misleading websites.

But it’s not just Taylor Swift fans affected by deceptive online ticketing practices. During a committee hearing Monday, Mike Dean, Executive Director of Northstar Prosperity, shared a similar experience he had trying to purchase tickets to the Big 10 Basketball Tournament for his 12-year-old daughter.

“My daughter’s unwavering love for women’s basketball began just at the age of four… since then she has been captivated both as a spectator and a player,” said Dean, who wanted to take his daughter to see basketball phenomenon Caitlin Clark. “When she expressed a desire to attend the Big 10 tournament, I just couldn’t refuse.”

A kids holds a sign
Carson Delmonico, 9, holds a sign and cheers next to Audrey Delmonico, 12, and Jada VanEngen, 12, during the game between the Minnesota Gophers and the Iowa Hawkeyes at Williams Arena on February 28, 2024, in Minneapolis
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Dean had assumed he would be paying $75 for a ticket. By the time he went to check out, his total had risen to over $500, which included a facility fee, handling fee and service fee.

“Ticket event vendors like Ticketmaster are permitted to levy these junk fees that don’t correspond to a service or product,” he said. “As consumers we have no choice but to pay up.”

Despite what seems like a straightforward consumer rights issue, sharp disagreements among venues and ticket sellers, as well as lobbying campaigns by industry and consumer groups, have made bills in other states unsuccessful.

California’s ticketing proposals failed to move ahead after lobbyists campaigned against the bill and legislation in Colorado was vetoed by the Democratic governor at the urging of some consumer groups. A proposal introduced by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has so far failed to advance in the U.S. Senate.

Two people show off decorated jackets.
Brittney Riehle, right, and her mother Ruth Ann show the jackets they diamond-painted by hand before the second night of Taylor Swift's Eras tour.
Nicole Neri for MPR News | 2023

Robert Singleton, the director of policy and public affairs for the Chamber of Progress, urged the committee on Monday to vote against HF1989. Singleton argued that the bill would hurt consumers by restricting the role of ticket resellers and speculative ticketing.

“Limiting access to these secondary markets could stifle innovation in a ticketing marketplace that creates better options for consumers,” Singleton said.

StubHub and Vivid Seats, two of the largest ticket reselling companies, are members of the Chamber of Progress.

Despite unsuccessful attempts in other states, it’s not beyond anyone’s “Wildest Dreams” that this bill could have a shot in Minnesota.