The Cure Speaks Out Against Louisiana ‘Ticket Scalper’ Bill
Louisiana Lawmakers haven't been making a lot of new fans during this session. Whether its killing a minimum wage hike, or asking for their own 200%+ pay raise, there have been a lot of anger-driving issues coming out of Baton Rouge.
But with one of their efforts, they haven't just angered Louisiana residents, they have the attention of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame members.
Louisiana House Bill 341, which has passed the Louisiana House and is onto the Senate, is designed to protect and benefit ticket scalpers. The main supporters of this bill are SeatGeek and StubHub, sites that facilitate secondhand ticket sales. Republican Rep. Paul Davis of Baton Rouge put the bill forward as a "pre-emptive strike" against some other laws sweeping across the United States.
In Wisconsin, their laws say that a ticket cannot be sold for more than face value. States like New York, Washington, Florida, Alabama, and New Jersey all limit the percentage over face-value that a ticket can be sold for. In California, you have to have "express authorization" from the venue owner/operator to resell tickets. Now ticket scalpers are punching back, which is where Louisiana House Bill 341 comes in.
This proposed law in Louisiana would prohibit the creation of anti-scalping laws. Which is what has upset musicians, like Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Robert Smith of The Cure.
Looking at the House voting on this bill, incredibly it passed the Louisiana House with a 101-0 vote. Even when they heard pretty compelling testimony. Director of the Cajundome in Lafayette Pam DeVille testified against the bill, saying:
“Louisiana would be the only state in the South to have those kinds of restrictions, and I guarantee you, gentlemen, if those restrictions came about, the results would be immediate.”
Lawmakers also heard testimony from Simmons Bank Arena General Manager in North Little Rock, Arkansas, Michael Marion, who pointed to a specific artist:
“Garth Brooks is not going to do something to damage his relationship with his fans. This law would put you between Garth Brooks and his fans and the way he wants to handle them.”
The reason Marion brought up Garth Brooks specifically is that Brooks played his venue, where he made thousands of tickets non-transferable. With artists like The Cure, and Garth Brooks moving to a format where they control their tickets, and make them non-transferable, this type of law could make a landscape where those type of artists never play a show in Louisiana again.
One of the biggest artists at the center of this secondary market is Taylor Swift. Her Eras Tour launch crashed TicketMaster's platform, and saw ticket prices skyrocket instantly. Those ticket prices were pushed up by secondary market sellers on SeatGeek and StubHub who were obvious scalpers. This particular incident has already been brought up by some in the Louisiana Senate in relation to House Bill 341. Senators Bodi White, Stewart Cathey, and Patrick Connick all cited the Taylor Swift scalper situation early on.
The Senate will have to approve House Bill 341, and Governor John Bel Edwards would have to sign it before it can become law.