RICHMOND — Virginia state Del. David B. Albo — Republican, family man, metalhead — has a beef with Ticketmaster.
Albo (Fairfax) forked over $400 for two tickets to see Iron Maiden, then realized that the concert conflicted with a family vacation.
Only then did he learn the tickets came with strings attached that prohibited him from reselling them on his own — or even giving them away to a friend. For certain restricted tickets, the concertgoer must present, at the door, photo identification or the credit card used in the purchase.
“You think I’m going to give one of my friends my credit card? No,” he said. “That concert would cost me another $200 in beer. So I had to eat it.”
Albo brought this tale to the floor of Virginia’s House of Delegates, going public with admittedly eyebrow-raising musical inclinations as he pushed his Ticket Resale Rights Act. His bill would prevent ticket-sellers from imposing resale restrictions. It also would make it illegal for event venues to deny admission to people who purchased tickets on the secondary market.
The House will vote on the bill Monday.
Only two other states — New York and Colorado — have similar laws, Albo said. But more could be on the way. With the growth of StubHub, Craigslist and other resale platforms, as well as the rise of computer-assisted scalping, concert and sports venues have begun guarding their resale rights more jealously.
Ticketmaster and sister company LiveNation, which operates venues and promotes shows, say the measure would hurt consumers by making it easier for scalpers to operate.
“This scalper friendly legislation is harmful to every sports and music fan in the Commonwealth, and the bill should be rejected just as it has been in other states across the country,” a Ticketmaster spokeswoman said via email.
Tray Adams, a prominent Richmond lobbyist hired by LiveNation, said resale restrictions are imposed on only a small share of tickets, perhaps 1,500 of the best seats in a 20,000-seat venue. He said those are the tickets scalpers try to buy in bulk because they fetch the highest price on the secondary market.
“We do think credit-card entry is an effective tool to deal with scalpers,” he said. “Last year we stopped 15 billion — with a b — computerized scalping attempts.”
But Albo said that the bill would help consumers, given Ticketmaster’s near-monopoly over big-venue ticket sales nationwide. The company allows ticket-holders, for a fee, to resell at face value through the Ticketmaster website — something Albo attempted to do with his Iron Maiden tickets. But if the tickets do not sell there, the holder has no other option.
“You can’t go on Craigslist, can’t go to StubHub. You can’t give it to a friend,” he said. “You have to sell it on their website.”
Albo acknowledged that the Ticketmaster site warned him about resale restrictions when he made his purchase, but “all that blah, blah, blah stuff you just click through” did not make an impression on him, even as a lawyer.
No one argued against Albo’s bill when he presented it to the House on Friday. Albo used the occasion to offer colleagues insight into this musical taste, acknowledging that his fondness for heavy metal runs counter to the classic GOP profile.
Albo plays guitar and bass in a band that headlines his “Albopalooza” fundraisers. But the band plays classic rock. Not heavy metal.
“One thing my wife, Rita, will tell you that she did not know about me when we got married is — she figured, Republican, lawyer, straight-[laced] guy,” he said. “She did not know that I am a metalhead. I love this stuff.”
He traced his fondness for the band to his high school years. In the ornate House chamber, he held aloft an image of Iron Maiden’s zombielike mascot, Eddie.
“This here is a picture of Eddie,” Albo said. “And Eddie appears on every Iron Maiden album. And if you are in the high school band, National Honor Society and got cut from every sport you tried out for, Eddie is all you had in 1979.”