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Cat Stevens cancels New York show over local ticketing regulations

By | Published on Thursday 25 September 2014

Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens – or Yusuf Islam if you prefer – has cancelled a show in New York, basically in protest at local laws governing ticketing which, he reckons, helps the touts, resulting in tickets for his show trading at vastly marked up prices online.

As previously reported, while some states in the US have considered measures to regulate the resale of tickets by touts, especially online, others have got themselves more bothered about so called paperless ticketing, which the live sector sees as a solution for combatting the rise of the touts.

The aim of paperless ticketing is to remove the physical ticket from the equation, making it harder for tickets to change hands on the touting market. Punters gain access to a venue either via an e-ticket on their mobile phone or, more commonly to date (because smartphone usage wasn’t universal), by showing or swiping the credit card with which a ticket was bought. Ticketmaster has a paperless ticket system of the latter kind.

But some consumer rights people have raised issues with the credit-card-ticket-based system. What happens if the credit card holder, having bought tickets for a bunch of friends too, can’t make the gig? What if a parent wants to buy tickets for a child? What about people who don’t have credit cards? Said concerns have led to some US states banning promoters from only selling paperless tickets for shows.

Though if a show isn’t entirely ticketed with the paperless option, it means touting can continue. Which is what has seemingly happened for Islam’s New York show, State law there being down on paperless ticketing. Having been told that tickets for his gig were now being sold for “extortionate” prices by touts, he’s decided to call off the show.

Islam told fans: “I have been a longtime supporter of paperless tickets to my shows worldwide and avoiding scalpers [touts]. Unfortunately NY has a state law that requires all tickets sold for shows in NYC to be paper, enabling them to be bought and sold at inflated prices”.

So there you go New York, want a bit of Cat Stevens in you, then sort out your ticketing laws.