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Taylor Swift bill is signed into Minnesota law, boosting protections for online ticket buyers

TRISHA AHMED
May 07, 2024

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- People buying tickets online for concerts, sporting events and other live events in Minnesota will be guaranteed more transparency and protection under a so-called Taylor Swift bill signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Tim Walz.

The law, prompted by the frustration a legislator felt at not being able to buy tickets to Swift's 2023 concert in Minneapolis, will require ticket sellers to disclose all fees up front and prohibit resellers from selling more than one copy of a ticket, among other measures. The law will apply to tickets purchased in Minnesota or other states for concerts or other live events held in Minnesota.

Walz signed House File 1989 -- a reference to Swift's birth year and an album with that title -- at First Avenue, a popular concert venue in downtown Minneapolis.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that we would be at a bill signing for House File 1989 at First Avenue," Democratic Rep. Kelly Moller, chief author of the bill, said.

Moller was among thousands of people who became stuck in ticket sales company Ticketmaster's system after it crashed in 2022 amid the huge demand for Swift concert tickets and attacks from bots, which tried to buy tickets for resale at inflated prices. The situation led to congressional hearings but no federal legislation.

Supporters of Minnesota's new law say the state joins Maryland as among the few states to pass protections for ticket buyers into law.

Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new Minnesota law. Taylor Swift's media team also did not respond.

Jessica Roey, a spokesperson for StubHub, said in an email, "StubHub has long advocated for legislation that protects fans from anti-competitive and anti-consumer practices in the ticket buying process. We share the goals of HF1989 and look forward to continuing discussions with policymakers to advance policies that provide more transparency, more control, and more choice for ticket buyers."

Walz, a Democrat, said the new law is "protection so you don't get a bad ticket, a fraudulent ticket, and resellers can't snatch them all up before you get an opportunity."

Two young girls -- one wearing a shirt that said "A LOT going on at the moment" in a nod to Swift, and another wearing a shirt that said "Iowa 22" in reference to basketball star Caitlin Clark -- attended the bill signing with their dad, Mike Dean, who testified in support of the bill this year.

Dean said his daughter "came to me in December and said, 'Dad, I want to go to see Caitlin Clark.' As a father, I just couldn't resist. And so I went online to go buy tickets."

The tickets were supposed to cost $300 total, Dean said, but they ended up costing over $500 because of hidden fees. The timer had begun in the online checkout process, so he had just minutes to decide whether to buy the tickets or lose them.

He ultimately bought the tickets. But Dean said these practices mean customers can't make informed decisions. The new law, he said, will bring transparency to the process.

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2025, and applies to tickets sold on or after that date.

Adrianna Korich, director of ticketing at First Avenue, said she supports the new rules, saying fans are sometimes tricked into paying up to 10 times a ticket's face value because of deceptive websites and resellers who list tickets without actually possessing them. The new law bans both, she said.

"We have all heard the horror stories from the Taylor Swift Eras tour and have seen the astronomical prices that are being charged at checkout," Korich said.

___

Trisha Ahmed is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter: @TrishaAhmed15

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