Me­tal­head Va. del­e­gate takes on Tick­et­mas­ter

The Washington Post Sunday - - METRO - BY LAURA VOZZELLA

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 com­put­eras­sisted 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 scalp- ers 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 rep­re­sen­ta­tive 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 ab — 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.”


Del. David B. Albo (R-Fair­fax), left, talks with Del. J. Ran­dall Minchew (R-Loudoun) on Fri­day at the Capi­tol in Rich­mond.

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