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Arizona governor signs 'Taylor Swift' bill, putting the brakes on Arizona’s concert ticket buying frenzy

A new bill inspired by Taylor Swift aims to crack down on ticketing companies in Arizona, pushing for lower prices on concert tickets so Arizonans can look forward to smoother ticket-buying experiences. 

The bill targeting ticket resellers who employ automated "bots" to purchase and resell tickets for sporting events and concerts at inflated prices has been signed into law by Gov. Katie Hobbs. 

Hobbs signed House Bill 2040, dubbed the “Taylor Swift bill,” on Apr. 10 as it passed 22–5 through the Arizona legislature. 

Rep. David Cook, R-Globe, said during a House hearing that the government must take the necessary steps to protect Arizonans from automated bots.

Cook also highlighted incidents from 2023  where fans of prominent artists, like Swift, found themselves unable to secure tickets through official channels. Instead, automated programs swiftly acquired these tickets, forcing fans to resort to purchasing from secondary vendors at exorbitant prices.

Swift's name is on the bill due to the fact that in November 2022, when tickets for her "Eras" tour first went on sale, Ticketmaster's website crashed, leaving many disgruntled customers and creating hour-long wait periods, according to the Arizona Capitol Times. 

Brian Iwabuchi, who is a concert operations manager, said that this goes beyond occasions like Swift's Eras Tour when bots have affected ticket prices.

Iwabuchi said he has witnessed $30 tickets being purchased and then sold to other customers for over $400.

"Bots buy thousands of tickets from medium-sized and smaller venues all around the state every year," Iwabuchi said. "Additionally, they are resold at outrageous prices, depriving genuine fans of the opportunity to purchase reasonably priced tickets to a concert. I just don’t see how that benefits anyone at the end of the day."

HB 2040 makes it illegal to create or use bots to purchase more tickets than are allotted for an online sale. Additionally, it would be illegal to use several email addresses, buyer accounts, or IP addresses to get around purchasing restrictions, according to the Arizona legislature. 

This legislation outlaws the bypassing or disabling of electronic queues, presale codes, long waiting periods or any other sales volume limitations.

The attorneys general's office may conduct investigations into proposed law violations, which might result in fines of up to $10,000. HB 2040 states that each ticket sold in violation of the statute would be considered a separate offense.

Bill Nolde, a senior executive at a digital sports entertainment company, and avid concert-goer, underlined the major effect that these bots have on ticket prices. 

Nolde attends concerts and other sporting events with friends and family almost every month. Nolde pointed out that the problem goes beyond occasions like Swift's Eras Tour and impacts ticket prices at entertainment events all over the world.

"I support the 'Taylor Swift' bill because it's about fairness and accessibility. Concert tickets should be available to genuine fans at reasonable prices, not scooped up by scalpers and resold at exorbitant rates,” Nolde said. “This legislation ensures that everyone has a fair chance to enjoy live entertainment, whether it be concerts or sporting events, without being priced out of the experience."

Rita Conway, a prominent ticket reseller to Arizonans, expressed support for legislative measures to curb bot usage while advocating for fair and transparent ticket resale practices.

Conway has personally experienced the difficulties presented by "bots." Ever since she was beaten to the chase by “bots” when trying to purchase Taylor Swift tickets for the Arizona concert, Conway has been vocal in her support of legislative actions intended to reduce bot usage and promote fair and transparent ticket resale procedures, despite her hobby.

"Legislation that addresses the abuse of bots is necessary to ensure fairness in the ticketing environment," Conway said. "We must prioritize the interests of genuine fans over profit-driven exploitation."

Hobbs' signing of the bill makes Arizona among the states that have outlawed speculative ticketing.

Arizona lawmakers are striving to ensure that sports fans around the state may continue to enjoy their favorite events in a secure and straightforward manner, embracing the future while preserving the excitement of live entertainment for everybody. 

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