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Live Nation, Ticketmaster pledge to President Biden to show fees up front

The exterior of a modern, dark-colored building with two stories and large windows on both floors, as well as several trees lining the sidewalk on either side.
Mark J. Terrill
/
AP
The headquarters of Live Nation in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Several ticket sales and venue companies, including Live Nation Entertainment, will pledge to eliminate "junk fees" at a meeting with President Biden on Thursday.

Biden pledged in his State of the Union speech in February to try to do more to eliminate hiding fees and surcharges. After the address, Live Nation Entertainment — formed from a merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster — expressed interest in offering all-in, upfront pricing on its site and is now committing to do so starting in September, the White House said.

Other companies, such as ticket vendor SeatGeek, and xBk, a Iowa-based venue and board member for the National Independent Venue Association, are also expected to introduce all-in pricing.

Biden will be joined by the three companies at an event at 1:45 p.m. Eastern, the White House said. Executives from other companies who have already made the switch, including other ticket vendors and Airbnb, will also attend.

"Today's voluntary actions demonstrate that companies both big and small recognize the importance of providing consumers with honest, up-front all-in pricing, rather than tricking them with surprise fees at the end of checkout," the White House said. "It is also just a first step towards addressing junk fees in the economy."

Ticketmaster has come under fire since tickets went on sale for Taylor Swift's "Eras" tour. Amid extreme demand during the presale, customers experienced outages on the website and long wait times. The company eventually canceled the sale altogether due to not having enough inventory to meet the demand.

Since, it has been accused of monopolistic behaviors, and some state attorneys general have opened investigations. The Senate also held a hearing on Live Nation's lack of competition in January and called on the Justice Department to intervene shortly after.

Live Nation said it has submitted more than 35 pages of information to policymakers and denies engaging "in behaviors that could justify antitrust litigation, let alone orders that would require it to alter fundamental business practices."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie
Kelsey Snell
Kelsey Snell is a Congressional correspondent for NPR. She has covered Congress since 2010 for outlets including The Washington Post, Politico and National Journal. She has covered elections and Congress with a reporting specialty in budget, tax and economic policy. She has a graduate degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and an undergraduate degree in political science from DePaul University in Chicago.