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Ticket Touts – Is There An Answer?

Our writer lets off a bit of steam and asks the question, is there a way to stop the presence of ticket touts?

Source: Nomadic Lass via Compfight cc

It’s no mystery by now that ticket touts are a blight on the live music, and live event scene. The problem up until now is that it’s been incredibly difficult to stop their spread, and ultimately stop their actions completely. They’re relentless, they’re greedy and in my mind at least, they’re one of the biggest reasons why the live music scene is suffering, and as a knock on effect, live music venues are closing. Now, we’ll get into some more nitty gritty in the next few paragraphs, but overall this is a rant towards ticket touts, and all those who attempt to sell on tickets for profit.

Credit: Jemma Dodd

Source: Jemma Dodd

Let me tell you a personal story that happened to myself recently. I had been out of a job for a couple of months, and because of this I haven’t been able to purchase gig tickets, or even think about spending the money it needs to go and see some of my favourite bands. I’ve recently had to miss the awesome Frank Turner shows, as one example, and the other being the up and coming Rise Against tour. I decided, as probably the right decision was, to wait until I was bringing in some money in order to purchase a ticket for the Manchester show, as I had promised a friend that I would go with her if I got a ticket. So it’s a month and a half before the tour, playing a fairly sizeable show in Manchester, and I expected, even if not many there would be a few standing tickets left (no way am I going to sit down for a gig). To my dismay all tickets had sold out. I tried every website I could think of, and then I decide to look on Seatwave, and other like-minded ticket websites to see if anyone had bought a ticket and subsequently couldn’t go. £60… That was the average price of tickets on these websites, not to mention the fees that have to go on top of them. That’s three times the original price, and these were everywhere. There is nothing more sickening than people attempting to profit, although not strictly illegal for concerts yet, on people’s passions. Now, I may have been purely unlucky here and the vast majority of tickets could well have been sold legitimately, but that doesn’t excuse the number of tickets I have found popping up on websites for stupid prices, which people will undoubtedly pay as they get desperate.

Now this brings up a number of different problems, first and foremost is the obvious detriment to the real fans, who just want to go see their favourite band, or football team, or whatever, but it also brings in the chance of people selling counterfeit tickets to those desperate enough to buy them. Also, if those touts aren’t selling the tickets, that means less people in the gig who actually wanted to be there, a problem for the bands. Another recent example, Royal Blood, one of the biggest up and coming bands have recently announced a tour. The tour itself sold out within the day, and on that very same day tickets were popping up on the aforementioned websites for almost 12 times the original amount. I cannot see how people can be ok with this, and I already expect the quotes of “just buy them earlier“, but there are times when that really isn’t possible, and people can’t afford to buy them until a certain pay day. Also, less gig goers means less money for the actual venues, and in the end those venues will eventually lose money, ending up with their inevitable closure, something we’ve seen too often in recent times.

Source: Ellie Mitchell

So what are the solutions? Biffy Clyro are one band that are attempting to fight back recently, and an update on their Facebook page says:

Following the Relentless Live ticket sale last week and in our bid to combat touts, we would like to state that we will cancel any sellers’ tickets found on third-party site.”

It is incredible to see bands fighting back against those trying to profit on other people’s enjoyment in such a way. There are better ways to try and pass on tickets to people. Facebook is a great example, most gigs these days have events set up on them, and can be quite easily used to say that you are no longer able to attend and the ticket is available to whoever wants it. You are almost certain to get your money back, and neither you or anyone else is out of pocket, everyone’s happy. Arcade Fire is another band that attempted to fight back in 2007. In order to help battle ticket touts, they released a limited number of extra tickets closer to the date. Now this still poses the idea that touts are able to purchase the tickets, and could end up over-crowding the gigs, so is probably an unwise move. Wacken Open Air, another example, threatened legal action against anyone they found to be third party selling.

In this country legal action is a problem, as technically it’s not illegal to tout in the UK, but to sell on a street corner, you do need to have a licence. Interestingly, according to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, it is illegal to re-sell, or tout football tickets. Now the question I would like to pose is, why is it illegal to re-sell football tickets, but currently perfectly legal to re-sell gig tickets? Ticket touting is not a legitimate business, and should be banned accordingly to stop the disruption of the live music scene and allow those that really want to be at the gigs the opportunity to attend without forking out ridiculous amounts of money to do so.


What are your views on ticket touting and how else can it be stopped?

Give us your opinions below.

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