The UK concert ticket industry is whinging about people re-selling concert tickets on the Internet. They want the government to make the practice illegal.
Fortunately the government aren’t having any of it, well so far anyway. It’s all come about because the government is going to be adding law to the statute books to stop the reselling/touting of 2012 London Olympics tickets (adding it to football match tickets, which are also illegal to tout under UK law). UK concert promoters and organisers want their events also added as a type of ticket that the public cannot resell.
Jonathan Brown, secretary of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (UK) moaned:
“The internet has exacerbated the problem [of ticket reselling] enormously because it’s given everybody the potential to re-sell tickets”
So let me the get this straight: Their beef is that they don’t like the fact suddenly individuals have more opportunities with what they do with their tickets? It sounds to me they don’t like the fact that people are making a profit from re-selling tickets that they would much rather be able to make themselves.
(Working on the assumption that if people weren’t allowed to resell or auction tickets themselves, the ticket agencies – as official vendors – could jump in and service that market demand directly)
Like many examples of where an industry simply doesn’t like the public playing them at their own game, they’ve come up with the usual torrent of excuses, including:
“While that may seem like a wonderful commercial opportunity, what’s actually happening is quite the opposite in some cases, with people not receiving tickets.”
So they do, at least, admit that they are eyeing this up as a commercial opportunity (which would then only be able to be exploited by them). But the point about people not receiving their tickets – that could be said about anything sold on eBay (most of these tickets are sold on eBay). If receiving your item is the problem, maybe they should just get eBay to be shut down entirely?
C’mon, I’ve bought loads of concert tickets from eBay (often for less than the face value) and never had a problem. What makes me angry is the lack of honest and integrity in why the ticket industry would want such legislation to be bought about.
Peter Tudor, head of Wembley Arena and chairman of the National Arenas Association, weighed in with the following observation:
“[online touting] is making the whole experience of getting a ticket and going to a gig much less exciting and rather more anxious than it ought to be for people.”
Is it? I would have thought it’s increasing the opportunity of going to see the gig…
If you weren’t able to get a ticket from the box office when they went on sale (so many concerts sell out in minutes) then you’ve got a second choice. And as for making it less exciting, buying tickets online gives you the opportunity to choose where you want to sit as invariably auctions for tickets will state where the tickets are seated (something you rarely get to choose, especially for arena tours, when you buy tickets from the box office directly).
So my message to the concert ticket industry is this: For starters, have the decency to be up front with why you want this kind of legislation to be put in place – it’s because you are peeved you’re not collecting all profits from the sale of tickets. Clearly if there wasn’t the demand for re-sold tickets, there wouldn’t be a problem. Why don’t you concentrate on looking at how you can address the issues that have caused this demand? Why don’t you look at the opportunities the internet affords in solving some of these problems, in the same way that these individuals are capitalising on it? Here are some ideas:
- Issue: Many people buy touted tickets because they couldn’t get tickets in the first place. Solution: Official ticket vendors, why not make your websites more resilient so that they don’t go down the moment tickets for big events go on sale?
- Issue: The ticket industry is frustrated that people will pay above face-value for a ticket, but that they are not seeing any of that money. Solution:Why don’t you auction a percentage of each concert’s ticket officially? Or live the with the fact that you can’t expect to have 100% of the cake.
- Issue: Some people buy re-sold tickets because they want to be able to choose exactly where they sit (especially at venues like Wembley Arena, where 80% of the seating is shite because it doesn’t face the stage). Solution:Offer people the ‘value’ of being able to choose the exact seat they sit in when they are buying concert tickets
If these issues were addressed, I believe much of the touting would go away as people would be able to get hold of the tickets they want directly from the ticket vendors.