Ticketing just got really interesting #AB329

The concert ticketing is broken for consumers. Does Tickermaster really want to give consumers a "better chance"?

Ticketing just got really interesting #AB329

Paperless ticketing is a controversial subject. People on StubHub's side of the debate want consumers to exercise freedom with their tickets, and they are hesitant of any technology that allows a ticket issuer to command the resale marketplace. People on Ticketmaster's side of the debate – which includes many artists and venues – want to limit resale on the secondary market and allow fans to have a better chance at securing tickets to in-demand events at face value.

— Billboard, California ticketing legislation favors Live Nation

First up, ticketing isn't something I've thought about for a very long time. Nonetheless, here we are and so if I'm missing fundamental industry dynamics the omission is mine alone.

The issue isn't that secondary ticketing marketplaces exist, it's that the event routing, booking and/or ticketing process is so broken that secondary marketplaces exist at all. If Billboard's assertion is true, that Ticketmaster wants to give fans a "better chance" by limiting resale, it is incumbent upon them to to fix the underlying event business* rather than rely on the legislature to embed market inefficiencies.

AB329 (to which the Billboard article referred), if it in fact advantages Ticketmaster over, say, StubHub, appears to be regressive, disadvantaging consumers who want to offload tickets whilst creating an opportunity for Ticketmaster's TicketsNow to establish a secondary ticketing monopoly. Creating monopolies ought not be in any legislature's remit.

Where it gets really interesting though is that AB329 says that a ticket might not actually be a good at all, but instead could be deemed by the seller to be a license to attend an event. That's not an insignificant designation and means consumers no longer own their tickets. It also means that the seller can change their licensing terms at any time, and where that goes is anyone's guess.

* Since Ticketmaster is owned by Live Nation that's eminently do-able.