Taylor Swift performing at the "Eras Tour" in 2023.

In response to the chaos surrounding Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” ticket sales, lawmakers across the U.S. are introducing legislation to increase transparency and fairness in online ticket sales. In particular, Ticketmaster’s market dominance that has caught the attention of Congress. Image Credit: Rolling Stone.

As a big fan of state legislative trends, and a casual fan of Taylor Swift, some recent headlines jumped out at me:

Swift’s Eras tour has been credited with boosting public transit, the hospitality industry, and even consumer spending at-large. It’s unsurprising that the tour would also drive legislative activity. I used Plural’s extensive legislative dataset to get a sense of what’s going on across the country.

Legislating Ticket Sales to Enhance Transparency and Fairness

Tickets went on sale for Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” in November of 2022. At the same time, legislators across the country prepared for their upcoming 2023 legislative sessions. The ensuing fiasco, caused by high demand, led to soaring prices, lawsuits, and many upset fans.

There has been a flurry of legislative activity in response to the chaos of the Eras Tour ticket sales. To be specific, 45 bills have been introduced across 20 states. The bills each aim to increase transparency and fairness in online ticket sales. Since their introduction, four bills have since become law. But the trend doesn’t end there. Lawmakers in Massachusetts and California are continuing to work on their respective measures. View the complete list of bills here.

In general, lawmakers focused on two areas of the ticket sales process. At the federal level, U.S. Senators have raised antitrust concerns. They claim that Ticketmaster, which handled Swift’s ticket sales, dominates the market. As such, Ticketmaster’s dominance has led to a harmful lack of competition. At the state level, legislators have introduced legislation that aims to further regulate online ticket sales.

States That Have Introduced or Passed Legislation Increasing Transparency and Fairness in Ticket Sales

States that have introduced (teal) or passed (orange) legislation.

Laws passed in Arkansas, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia increase regulation by:

  • Reducing the number of “bots” purchasing and reselling tickets
  • Increasing transparency in pricing and fees

How do we know that this wave of ticket sale legislation isn’t mere coincidence? It’s true that some legislation was introduced independent of the focus that the Eras Tour brought to the industry. However, many lawmakers made it clear that Swift and the Eras Tour motivated their proposals. Lawmakers in Washington named their proposal the “Ticket Sales Warrant Integrity, Fairness, and Transparency (TSWIFT) for Consumer Protection Act.” Maryland lawmakers dubbed their bill the “Event-Goer Rights and Accountable Sales (ERAS) Act.” Even members of U.S. Congress couldn’t resist giving Swift (and Bruce Springsteen) a nod with the “Better Oversight of Stub Sales and Strengthening Well Informed and Fair Transactions (BOSS and SWIFT) for Audiences of Concert Ticketing Act of 2023.” Finally, while Hawaii legislators didn’t use a creative acronym, they paid homage to a Hawaiian native with their “Bruno Mars Act.”

Pop Culture and Trends in Public Policy

It may seem silly that a cultural moment like the Eras Tour and the chaos surrounding ticket sales could spur a trend in policy.

It’s not that simple.

We’re seeing in real time the speed with which legislative trends can kick off and the efficacy of mass outrage, especially on the internet.

In our digital world, advocacy and organizing is happening remotely. Online communities like the “Swifties” clearly have the ability to garner the attention of lawmakers.