Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Why tomorrow could be a bad day for ticket touts

The British government’s long awaited review into the secondary ticketing market is set for publication on Thursday

Wed, May 25, 2016, 10:50


Tomorrow is the day when we’ll find out just what the British government are prepared to do about the secondary ticketing market. As part of the Review of Consumer Protection Measures relating to Online Secondary Ticketing Platforms, the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are set to publish a statutory review of consumer protection measures in the next 24 hours.

To be fair to the UK government dudes, they are one of the few authorities taking this matter seriously. You won’t find an iota about ticket touts and upselling tickets and conflicts of interest in this sector in any government policy on this side of the Irish Sea. You can be sure that might change if there was a rash of Liveline stories about people being fleeced on GetMeIn or Seatwave for tickets.

There has been no end of contributions during the review period to keep this story in the news cycle, with the likes of Mumford & Sons and Little Mix coming out all guns blazing on occasion. Adele, the New York attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman and Coldplay have also gone after the touts in the last few months. On the other hand, acts like U2 have just shrugged and looked the other way when the issue has arisen.

UK consumer magazine Which? has also been particularly good and relentless on this issue. In attention to their earlier investigation, the magazine’s latest research found that “music and theatre tickets are still being sold unlawfully on some of the UK’s biggest secondary ticketing sites”. They’re not the only ones and The Sun unleashed a particularly colourful broadside a few months back.

What’s interesting about all of this activity is the silence from the touts when presented with this kind of evidence. In its report, Billboard approached the Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster for a quote seeing as it owns secondary ticketing platforms GetMeIn and Seatwave, but the ticket giant “declined to comment”. It will be interesting to see if the music giant also “declined to comment” when asked for a contribution to the Professor Michael Waterson-chaired review body. Chances are it vigorously defended its patch because this is what large corporations do when they see their revenue streams under attack. Tomorrow’s report will be well worth parsing.