Radiohead take an anti-tout stance with Dublin show tickets

Radiohead are taking action against ticket touts. Why are other acts not joining the fight?

 Thom Yorke of Radiohead onstage at the Austin City Limits Festival at Zilker Park last month. Photograph: Jim Bennett/FilmMagic

Thom Yorke of Radiohead onstage at the Austin City Limits Festival at Zilker Park last month. Photograph: Jim Bennett/FilmMagic

 

Fingers on the buzzers. This Friday morning, there will be many itchy fingers waiting for 9am to roll around and the Radiohead ticket quest to begin. The band play Dublin’s 3Arena next June, their first show here since they played at Malahide Castle in 2008. Given the size of venue, there will be a lot of Radiohead fans without tickets for the Dublin show by 10am.

It will be very interesting to see if the various online ticket touts will be busy on Friday morning as a result. Usually when a show like this sells out, second-hand ticket sites such as the Live Nation/Ticketmaster-owned Get Me In and Seatwave will be buzzing with tickets for the same show at vastly inflated prices.

For many reasons, touts never seem to have problems getting their hands on tickets for shows, regardless of demand.

But if Radiohead have their way, those touts will be ticketless this Friday. For the Dublin show, the name of the purchaser will be on each ticket and his/her photo identification will be checked at the entrance to the venue to make sure it matches the name on the ticket.

Unless you’ve got a tout with a stock of dodgy IDs, it seems a foolproof way to prevent the sort of online price gouging that has plagued the live-music sector. In terms of dodgy individuals flogging tickets that have fallen off the back of a lorry – or fans buying more tickets than they need and then selling them at inflated prices – this might well put a stop to it.

There will be complaints from ticket buyers who find themselves unable to go to the show due to unforeseen circumstances and are left with a possibly untransferable ticket as a result. However, that number is likely ot be very low and perhaps a refund via the primary ticketing agency is an option to consider, with the tickets resold at face value.

Of course, there will certainly be a longer queue to get in at the venue on the night, but the 3Arena knows this in advance and could have more staff hired for the night. Neither of the above reasons seem enough to stymie the introduction of measures like the Radiohead system or even paperless tickets.

The question, though, is why are more acts not doing this? If Radiohead can do it, surely it’s something other acts should consider? After all, the tickets for the show are being sold by the largest ticket company in the world, so it must be possible for it to provide the same service to other acts and promoters.

This year, a number of acts and music business professionals have voiced concern about the kind of online ticket reselling that is taking place on the likes of the Live Nation and Ticketmaster-owned sites.

Yet at the same time, there are a huge number of acts who have never said a word about touts fleecing fans for tickets. Are they really happy with this state of affairs or is the omerta down to the close ties between band, management and, say, an entity such as Live Nation? If Radiohead can take the time to attempt to ensure their fans are not ripped off by touts, the same holds for their peers too.

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