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Industry responds to Ticketmaster bailing on secondary ticketing in Europe 

By | Published on Tuesday 14 August 2018


A number of people across the live music industry and elsewhere have responded to the news yesterday that Live Nation’s Ticketmaster is bailing on secondary ticketing in Europe. The move – which will see Ticketmaster-owned ticket resale sites Get Me In! and Seatwave go offline this autumn – has been widely welcomed, especially by anti-touting campaigners.

As Get Me In! and Seatwave go offline, Ticketmaster will relaunch its main platform to offer resale functionality, but with mark-ups capped. A number of other players in the primary ticketing market have recently added similar functionality, which means that people who buy tickets intending to go to a show, but who then can’t attend, can still sell their tickets on.

Secondary ticketing companies like StubHub and Viagogo – and previously Get Me In! and Seatwave – have often justified their existence by insisting that resale of that kind is their primary remit. Even though a majority of the tickets sold on these platforms come from industrial level touts who have built lucrative businesses out of resale. Primary ticketing services offering capped resale functionality therefore removes one of the commons excuses used by StubHub, Viagogo et al.

Sharon Hodgson, the Labour MP who has campaigned for years to regulate and restrict online ticket touting, was among those welcoming Live Nation’s change in direction in the UK and Europe. She said on Twitter that “this is a very welcome move by Ticketmaster to limit the abuses in the secondary ticket market and something I’ve called for for nearly a decade”. She then added that: “Viagogo and StubHub [now] have to clean up their act also”.

The need to keep up the pressure on the other secondary ticketing sites – and on government agencies like the Competition & Markets Authority and National Trading Standards to enforce regulations – was a key message coming out of anti-touting campaign group FanFair when it welcomed Ticketmaster’s announcement yesterday morning.

And that was also a sentiment expressed by the boss of the Society Of Ticket Agents And Retailers, which represents the primary ticketing sector.

Jonathan Brown told reporters: “This excellent news from Ticketmaster means that ticket buyers will have another safe and trusted place to resell their tickets. However, resale for profit will continue elsewhere and the spotlight is therefore on the remaining marketplaces, including those based overseas. The ongoing enforcement work by the Competition & Markets Authority and others to ensure compliance with UK legislation is crucial”.

Also welcoming Ticketmaster’s announcement yesterday was consumer rights association Which?, which has also been vocal on the ticketing sector over the years.

It’s MD Of Home Products And Services, Alex Neill, said: “We have repeatedly exposed secondary ticketing websites, including Seatwave and Get Me In!, for flouting the rules, so it’s good to see Ticketmaster taking positive action. It sounds like a step in the right direction for fans and we now hope it’s new platform will promote much-needed transparency in an industry that has been plagued by sharp practices”.

The move by Ticketmaster and other primary ticketing firms to add capped resale within their main sites arguably puts pressure on those start-ups which focus on what some have called ‘ethical resale’. Which is to say those companies that provide similar secondary ticketing tools with capped mark-ups, and which anti-touting artists and promoters can recommend to fans who bought tickets and are no longer able to attend a show.

Perhaps the highest profile of those start-ups is Twickets. Though its CEO, Richard Davies, also welcomed yesterday’s news from Ticketmaster HQ.

He said in a statement: “We welcome the news that Ticketmaster is to close its resale sites Get Me In! and Seatwave. It is encouraging to see the biggest ticketing company in the world taking this step, which validates our face value resale policy of the past seven years. The decision will hopefully enable those who are no longer able to attend a Ticketmaster show to pass on tickets at face value to those who wish to attend”.

Echoing Hodgson, Brown et al, he went on: “The battle to create a fairer, more transparent, resale market continues. Companies such as Viagogo and StubHub, and Ticketbis in Europe, still tout tickets on an industrial scale, placing profit ahead of fairness to consumers”.

As for the role of his own business in all this, Davies added: “Twickets remains the only site enabling fans to buy and sell tickets for any event at face value, without the eye-watering mark ups that have left so many consumers dejected and distraught”.

He concludes: “Endorsed by Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, George Ezra, James Bay, Nine Inch Nails, Pixies and many more, as well as Crystal Palace Football Club, Queens Park Rangers and the End Of The Road, Green Man and Standon Calling festivals, and charities we work for such as Warchild and Teenage Cancer Trust, we will continue to be the one-stop resale solution for fans across the globe”.

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