The musical Hamilton, which tells the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton, has taken Broadway by storm over the last year. The musical’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and his producer Jeffrey Seller have jumped into politics, much like the musical’s titular character, and their goal is to save Broadway ticketing. Currently, tickets to Broadway shows, concerts and sporting events sell out in minutes because of ticketing bots, which purchase tickets in huge quantities so they can be re-sold for a much higher price.
Lin-Manuel Miranda joined the fight this summer, because it was a very personal issue to him.
Lin-Manuel wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times, imploring the New York Assembly to pass a bill that made the penalties much greater for ticket bots that purchase tickets to a show, because while it is already illegal, the penalties aren’t enough to dissuade companies from purchasing tickets via bots.
The issue is a personal one for Lin-Manuel, because his show Hamilton is at the center of the ticket bot problem. The show is so popular that it sells out months in advance. And while Lin-Manuel admits that part of the issue is high demand for tickets, he insists a huge issue is that ticket bots buy up all the tickets, and then re-post them on a resale site for high prices.
Luckily, the fight went beyond New York State, and Senator Chuck Schumer brought it to Congress.
We’ve all experienced a disappointed sell out of tickets that we want, so we are totally down for this. Chuck Schumer, a Democratic Senator from New York brought a bill to Congress to create a federal law that will create federal penalties for scalpers. In Chuck Schumer’s press release, they state that in New York alone, three companies were able to buy over 140,000 tickets to shows using bots, and they made around $15.5 million on profits from the resale of popular Hamilton tickets. The proposed bill would fine ticket bot users $16,000 per ticket, which would hopefully deter the companies from using bots.
Today, Lin-Manuel announced via Twitter that the Senate bill passed the Senate Commerce Committee and will be put to the floor for a vote.
That’s a huge victory in the fight against ticket bots, and we are hopeful that they can get it passed, because we definitely all want fair access to awesome shows and concerts.