Sen. John Cornyn meets with Austin entertainment industry to discuss event ticketing issues
AUSTIN, Texas - From a young age, Kate Testone has been a Taylor Swift fan.
"Going through, like, crushes in elementary school, and you break up, and you think it's a big deal, and you listen to Taylor Swift," said Testone, who was born and raised in Austin. "It’s just such a huge part of our lives."
Fast-forward into adulthood, and her anticipation for Swift’s Eras Tour was unmatched, and met with heartbreak.
"There were incredibly long wait lists if you could even get on them," said Testone, who didn’t end up getting a ticket. "It was hard to know even what the real tickets were, and then once you finally could get tickets, the only thing you could get was resale, and then the price was a huge difference. "
U.S. Senator John Cornyn invited Testone and those working in the entertainment industry to be part of a panel on Friday, May 19 at the Moody Center.
The Taylor Swift saga really sparked conversation around ticketing issues from bots purchasing up large amounts of tickets, and reselling for an exorbitant price to entirely fake tickets being sold.
RELATED: New Texas bill aims to stop ticket grabs by bots for hot concerts like Taylor Swift’s
"We’ve had bots shut down our ticketing platforms because of unpredictable surges," said Amy Corbin, promoter for C3 Presents. "When this occurs, fans likely assume the show is sold out, they give up, it drives them to secondary ticketing, or they never come back, negatively impacting the show and the artist."
Other panelists included country music artist Robert Earl Keen, Chris Almendarez, president of Round Rock Express, Andy Loughnane, president of Austin FC, Drew Martin, executive senior associate athletic director for external affairs at UT Austin, and Michael Owens, VP of programming at Oak View Group (Moody Center).
Sen. Cornyn shared details about legislation he is working on called the "FANS First Act" that aims to address some of the issues.
"The bill would improve transparency for ticket pricing, it would increase consumer or fan protection, it would restore market integrity, and it will punish the bad actors who engage in predatory ticket sales practices that hurt all of these artists, these athletes, these venues and the fans, most importantly," said Sen. Cornyn. "Here in Texas, we appreciate the music, the museums, the sporting events, the culture, the opportunity, the recreation that provides for all of us, and I think that's something we ought to preserve."
In Texas, SB 1639 also relates to ticketing regulation. It was passed by both chambers and is waiting to be signed by the governor.