Music News

Using Ticket Bots Now Illegal in NY

Making good on a promise he issued earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed into law a bill making it a crime to use ticket bots.

Concert goers and music fans have been gritting their teeth and holding their breath—for a very short period of time—trying to buy tickets to some of the biggest tours of the year, only to find every last seat seemingly sold within moments. Some bands and venues later release other blocks of tickets in the days or hours before show time, but untold thousands have missed out on seeing some of their favourite bands, including AC/DC, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day and The Tragically Hip.

Bots are computer programs that manipulate and override a ticket seller’s website and purchase concert tickets the second they go on sale, leaving legitimate fans empty handed.

Under the new legislation, anyone found to be reselling tickets that were obtained through the use of bots can also face penalties, The Verge reports.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, Gov. Cuomo says “These unscrupulous speculators and their underhanded tactics have manipulated the marketplace and often leave New Yorkers and visitors alike with little choice but to buy tickets on the secondary market at an exorbitant mark-up. It’s predatory, it’s wrong and, with this legislation, we are taking an important step towards restoring fairness and equity back to this multi-billion-dollar industry.”

Adds Eric T. Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, “In recent years, it has become almost impossible to find affordable tickets—or even any tickets at all— for all popular shows,” ranging from mainstream music concerts to sporting events to Broadway productions like Hamilton. “Brokers armed with illegal, high-speed ticket-buying bots have kept too many New Yorkers from attending the shows, sporting events and cultural experiences that make New York so special.

The statement from the governor’s office goes on to note that the new law expands the definition for ticket-purchasing software to include ways in which tickets can be widely and quickly distributed before the general public has a chance to get them. Further, the law establishes penalties not just for the use of the software but reselling tickets purchased via a bot. The law will go into effect in 90 days, The Buffalo News reports. $1,500

First offense will be up to $1,500 and will result in a misdemeanor crime on the driver’s record.

In Washington, DC, where good ideas often stall while terrible ideas take off like wildfire, Gary Adler, the executive director of the National Association of Ticket Brokers, reiterated his organization’s position that “when tickets go on sale, people should not be competing with ticket-hoarding software to make a purchase,” he said. “NATB has long advocated for an open ticket marketplaces free of fraud and deceit. We Commend Cuomo, Attorney General Schneiderman and state legislators for taking action to stop such practices that harm consumers and the function of a fair and level secondary resale market for tickets.”

Will this make a real difference for concert goers, or is it so much lip service and too little of it at this time. Guess we’ll have to wait to find out.

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Amber Healy has 517 posts and counting. See all posts by Amber Healy

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