Anti-Scalping Law Up for Debate

Music and Politics

Volume CVII, No. 5May, 2007

Julia Smith

The state law that prohibits ticket scalping and regulates ticket resale expires on June 1 and the debate on the issue is heating up in Albany. The most contentious provision of the current law limits the mark-up ticket brokers can add to the face value of the ticket, setting a maximum premium price.

In March, the New York Post reported that the League recently reversed their long-held support for a maximum premium ticket price and is lobbying elected officials to dismantle the anti-ticket scalping law.

In a letter to state officials, the League argued that abolishing the cap on the resale ticket price would bring more authorized law-abiding “resellers” into the market and thereby drive prices down.

Others predicted that abolishing the cap would drive ticket prices through the roof.

At the last COBUG meeting, the leadership of Local 802 and the other unions discussed this matter in depth. Two major concerns about dismantling the law were raised.

First, there is good evidence to suggest that eliminating the cap on the resale price would drive ticket prices up.

Increased ticket prices could shrink the theatre-going audience to the most affluent, diminish the appeal of one of New York’s greatest tourist attractions to the detriment of New York’s tourist industry and put Broadway out of the reach of regular New Yorkers.

Second, it is reasonable to worry about the potential manipulation of the figure of box office receipts that may accompany major changes to the resale market.

Our pension fund, along with the pension and health funds of the actors, stagehands and other artists and workers of Broadway receive revenue through a contractually determined share of the box office receipts.

The directors, songwriters, composers, choreographers and some actors are compensated through a royalty system based on box office receipts.

A restructuring of the ticket scalping law and the ticket re-sale business could impact the compensation of all of Broadway’s artists and workers.

The members of COBUG are meeting again to discuss this critical issue and to develop a formal position and strategy. Local 802 will keep you posted on the developments.


Talks with TSA and the FAA to reach an agreement on instrument carry-on policy have not been fruitful.

But the progress the AFM has made with the airline industry group, the Air Transport Association (ATA), may offer a reason for optimism.

The ATA has agreed to reach out to the member airlines about addressing this issue.

Local 802 and the AFM are working together to reach out to our congressional delegation and the AFM continues to communicate with other important Congressional players on this issue.

Hopefully, with sufficient political pressure and the urging of the ATA, we can make some headway on this issue.

Thanks to all that responded to the 802 e-mail soliciting airline horror stories.

For those who didn’t receive the email, it’s not too late. We continue to update the material used on this campaign.

Please e-mail me your story. Don’t forget to include the date of your flight and other information, including the name of the airline you flew.

Call me at (212) 245-4802, ext. 176. And always feel free to contact me with any comments or questions on the political and public relations work of Local 802.