There’s a huge difference between selling a spare ticket to a gig on Twitter because your mate couldn’t make it and using software to buy 50 tickets with the intention of reselling for a huge profit.
This week, You Me At Six and campaign group FanFair Alliance have been in Parliament fighting for legislation to be put in place to stop the mass-reselling of gig tickets on secondary ticket websites.
FanFair Alliance want to stop online ticket touting on an industrial-scale
A spokesperson from FanFair Alliance noted: “To make the market work in the interests of fans, we support the enforcement of existing consumer legislation, as well as the laws to criminalise the misuse of ticket-scalping technologies.
“We are extremely pleased that this issue is picking up cross-party support, and there was recognition by MPs of all parties that the ticket resale market is broken.”
There has been confirmation from Arts minister Matt Hancock that the government would consider implementing legislation. FanFair Alliance believe the UK should follow in the footsteps of New York and Italy where they have upheld legislation and criminalised the misuse of software to buy tickets on a mass scale.
The campaign group has expressed that their main concern is for the four biggest online ticket touting websites – Get Me In!, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo.
The estimated value of the UK secondary ticketing market, including these four websites, is £1 billion per year. And we can break those numbers down a little more…
Fancy paying half a grand to go and see Coldplay? No thanks
Tickets to see Coldplay perform at Principality Stadium in Cardiff on a Tuesday next July are £72.50 at face value and the same ticket is being sold for up to £550 on Get Me In!. That is over seven times the original amount. How is that acceptable?
Getting my head around why someone would decide to pay a months’ rent to go and see Coldplay for one evening is pretty difficult, almost unimaginable. Live music should not be an exclusive event for those that can afford these extortionate prices. But it should be something that everyone can experience and enjoy.
This is why a number of music industry creatives are fighting back against this issue and getting involved with this campaign.
This includes primary ticket agent, Gigantic, who are fully supporting the work that FanFair Alliance are doing and are proud of the work they do with the ethical ticket reselling website, Twickets. A spokesperson said: “We want tickets to go to genuine fans. We were keen to be involved in this campaign to ensure that all gig goers get a fair deal. The live music experience is like nothing else and should be available to all.”
All gig goers should get a fair deal
Bands, musicians and managers across the country are all getting involved with the campaign. FanFair Alliance have released a guide which declares the best thing musicians can do to help stop this mass-reselling industry is to clearly communicate when and where their tickets will go on sale, and guide fans away from these secondary sites.
Josh Franceschi from You Me At Six has been very actively involved in fighting for a solution. In a video on the topic broadcast on BBC Politics, Josh said: “Enough is enough, genuine fans are being priced out of the equation. Music lovers are consumers too and consumers have rights.”
You can watch the full video here:
— You Me At Six (@youmeatsix) November 28, 2016
Ed Crisp, from Sheffield band Best Friends, gives his experience on the issue: “I was at a Drenge show at Deaf Institute and someone outside offered me £60 for a ticket. There’s definitely a load of money to be made from selling on tickets as long as people are so willing to pay so much over face value.”
Chicken and the egg
The idea that people are willing to pay so much over face value for tickets vs. secondary ticket touts charging an arm and leg for sold out gigs is almost like a chicken and the egg scenario. What came first? If people didn’t buy from them, there would be no demand, but if these ticket touts didn’t buy half the gig tickets in the first place then they would have nothing to sell and the gigs would not sell out on the primary ticket websites.
He also reminds us: “It’s worth bearing in mind that sometimes people do genuinely need to sell their tickets on for whatever reason, and generally people do so at face value just because they’re reasonable human beings”.
The campaign is getting more and more attention, with many musicians making an effort to stop the resale of tickets by having named tickets, and of course Glastonbury festival is an extreme example using picture identification. It would be a sad day if every ticket needed this.
This campaign is so important in today’s live music landscape and for the future of gigs. The fact that people are taking notice and acting on what they know is wrong is the first step forward, and next is securing the legislation against the mass-reselling on secondary ticket websites.