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BOTS Act: A Victory for Music Fans

Posted by Ryan Polsky on

As music fans, a lot of us have been in this situation. Your favorite band announces a huge tour, and are coming to your city. You get super excited, and look to see when tickets go on sale. They usually go on sale online at either Ticketmaster or AXS at 10 AM local time on a specific date many months before the actual show.

Anxious, you get on at 9:50, and wait 10 minutes, sometimes in a virtual waiting room, for the tickets to go on sale. As soon as it hits 10 AM, you hit “get tickets”, and the only seats available are the cheapest seats in the worst spot of the venue. If you’re five minutes late, forget about finding a ticket at all.

What is going on ticket brokers using computer software and robots to acquire as many tickets as possible once they go on sale, and proceeding to sell these tickets on third party sites. That forces these unfortunate, honest fans to purchase their tickets on one of these third party sites, such as StubHub. The same thing happens in the theater business, as highlighted in the New York Times article “Stop the Bots from Killing Broadway”. Fortunately, this is all about to change.

Recently, former President Obama signed into federal law the Better Online Ticket Sales Act, or BOTS Act, (we see what they did there), which made it federally illegal to use these technologies to buy tickets online. In other words, the playing field will be equal when purchasing tickets at face value, and no one will have an unfair advantage. This news came as somewhat of an early Christmas gift for many fans, who have been shut out from attending their favorite concerts for this very reason. Moreover, it pulls the plug on concerts and events being a ticket scalping business, when it should be a place for good spirited and well meaning fans to come together and enjoy a night of music.

As someone who appreciates good music, and has honored Led Zeppelin and Bruce Springsteen in the White House, it comes at no surprise Obama signed this legislation into federal law. Now, it’s only a matter if the ticket brokers will respect this law, and if the government will crack down on those who don’t…