Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The anti-ticket touting campaign gets interesting

High profile managers kick some ass over the “rigged” and “manipulated” secondary ticketing market

Coldplay say no to secondary ticket market rip-offs

Tue, Nov 24, 2015, 14:13


Another week, another ticketing story. Last week, we had the Which? magazine investigation conclude that the secondary ticketing market – including such sites as the Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster’s Seatwave and Get Me In, as well as StubHub and Viagogo – was attracting touts who were operating on “an industrial scale” and some sites “may be acting like touts themselves”.

This week, it’s a group of high profile managers – and one very high profile act in the shape of Coldplay – who’ve come together to sign a joint letter to the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport warning that “the increasing industrial-scale abuse and insider exploitation of tickets for music, arts and sports events by ticket touts, and their online associates and facilitators” needs to be dealt with.

Moreover, the letter continues in very strong terms, “a significant part of the secondary/resale ticketing market is rigged and manipulated for the benefit of a few, inextricably linked to online crime, the evasion of VAT and intellectual property payments and, at its worst, fake ticket scams which have defrauded thousands of people in recent years.”

The letter is signed by a range of managers including Marcus Russell, Paul McDonald, Ian Grenfell, Niamh Byrne, Regine Moylett, Chris Hufford, Ian McAndrew, Richard Griffiths, Stuart Camp and others who represent such acts as Ed Sheeran, Arctic Monkeys, Mumford & Sons, One Direction, George Ezra, Elton John, Blur, Gorillaz and many more. It’s also co-signed by a half-dozen live agents.

It will be interesting to see if the managers’ collective action will have any knock-on effects down the line, though there appears to be very little to be done right now to eradicate ticket touting of this kind unless the managers and acts take the matter of ticketing into their own hands. Of course, the latter nulcear option might not even be possible given the pre-existing relationships many venues and promoters have with Live Nation’s Ticketmaster. Even if an act was to go it alone, there will always be ticket purchasers who’ll find ways to sell on their tickets or seek to profit from a sold-out show.

What is clear, though, is the determination of all involved that something has to be done about a marketplace which doesn’t appear to have done any good whatsoever for fans and, in some cases, appears to have gone completely out of control. It will be interesting to see what effect this high-profile lobbying – as well as that no-nonsense Which? report – will have on the UK government’s deliberations. We might even see some Irish government action or, God forbid, an investigation into the operation of the market here at some stage though don’t hold your breath for this to happen or have any effect. Moreover, we may even see more managers joining the campaign – actually, will we see some of these lads jump in the ring?