Live events sector
Last week Sir Elton John branded ticket resale websites “disgraceful” for selling tickets to his gigs at inflated prices, joining other big name such as Mumford & Sons, Prince and Coldplay, who have all recently attacked the resale “rip-off”. Adele is now taking much publicised action to fight off the touts on her latest dates. The Observer has also revealed that Justin Bieber fans wanting tickets for his October 2016 London O2 dates are being asked on Get Me In to hand over as much as £1,825 for seats with a face value of just £50. That figure includes a £285 cut taken by Get Me In.
The Observer has monitored the main sites in the UK (Seatwave, Viagogo, Get Me In and StubHub) and has found all four carry listings that appeared to be in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which requires anyone who resells an event ticket via a secondary market website to provide details of the seat row and number, as well as the face value and information about any restrictions amid fresh claims that many sites are flouting the law and supporting “industrial-scale touting”. A spokesman for Viagogo told the Observer: “We make the sellers’ obligations regarding the listing of certain ticket information very clear at several points on our website. However it is possible that the seller doesn’t always have confirmation of the row and seat number at the time of listing.” Ticketmaster, which owns Get Me In and Seatwave, said the sites “work with those selling tickets on our sites to ensure that they understand their obligations to comply with their legal duties, including the requirement to list all available ticket details”. It added: “However, we are also concerned that some sellers may not list all the information, for fear of potential cancellation or blacklisting by event organisers.”
MBW reported that Adele’s official policy is that “The resale of tickets will not be tolerated” and in the pre-sale tickets to the star’s 36-date 2016 European tour this has been largely successful for the 57,000 tickets sold for 14-date UK and Ireland leg of the tour by independent ticketing operator SongKick. Just over 1,000 of these tickets had been listed for re-sale on sites such as Stubhub, Viagogo, GetMeIn! and Seatwave – so approximately 1.9% of the ‘first wave’ of Adele tickets ended up on secondary ticketing sites – much lower than the average arena gig which sees closer to 20% on er-sale sites. Adele’s management inisted on pre-registration and also monitored sales for suspicious activity from some 18,000 ‘likely or known touts’. Adele’s manager, Jonathan Dickins at September, told MBW “Until a law is passed in the UK that outlaws ticket resale profiteering you cannot stop it completely”. In the USA Adele went with a ticketless method for her now sold out North American tour, which means that fans who did manage to purchase tickets will not receive physical tickets. Instead, they will have to present their credit card and ID when they arrive at the venue on the day of their gig, and they will then be granted entry – if it matches.
In the UK, Sharon Hodgson MP had said the new changes to the law “are being utterly flouted by the major platforms, and the government needs to wake up to this scandal, which is affecting people all around the country and damaging our creative industries”. The number of tickets on sale for inflated prices shows the need for tough new laws to crack down on rip-off ticket sales, said Hodgson. She spoke out after Adele fans warned they were struggling to buy tickets for the singer’s tour, the first for four years, which follows the release of her new album, 25. Hodgson is Co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on ticket abuse.