Ticket touts and overpriced resale sites: how the music industry is fighting back

Thursday, 31st May 2018, 11:21 am
Updated Thursday, 31st May 2018, 11:42 am

Ticket touts are nothing new, but the internet has given rise to a whole industry in re-selling, often at eye-watering prices and with hidden fees.

As those vying to go to sold-out concerts are left with the predicament of missing their favourite band, or paying a sky-high price to do so, some ticket sellers are getting rich quick.

But it hasn't gone unnoticed.

After a series of scandals and fan outrage, the music industry and big-name artists are fighting back.

It was recently reported that the online ticket marketplace Viagogo had not been upfront about additional costs (known as "drip pricing" - this can include VAT, booking fees and delivery costs).

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has now referred Viagogo to National Trading Standards, explaining: 'Viagogo continues to mislead consumers by not being upfront and clear about additional booking fees and delivery charges that are added at the end of the booking process".

Ticket-touting is nothing new, but it's becoming more sophisticated (Photo: Shutterstock)

'People just need to start taking a stance'

Last week, Ed Sheeran's team cancelled more than 10,000 tickets for the singer's current UK stadium tour, which had been bought through Viagogo at exorbitant prices.

The ASA received 23 complaints about Viagogo from groups including campaigners Fanfair Alliance, and concert promoters Festival Republic and Kilimanjaro Live, the latter of which are promoting the tour.

Sheeran himself has been one of the leading figures in the stance against touts and overpriced resale sites.

Speaking at BBC's Biggest Weekend event in Swansea at the weekend, Sheeran told BBC's Newsbeat: 'I hate the idea of people paying more than face value for tickets when you can get them at face value.

'People just need to start taking a stance and within two or three years companies like Viagogo are going to be kaput'.

Sheeran's current tour has put procedures in place to tackle touts, some of which have proved controversial with fans, but have the intention of stopping unfair tickets prices and profit.

He has partnered with Twickets, a face value or less ticket resale platform which allows fans to buy and sell tickets safely and securely.

On all of Sheeran's stadium dates concert-goers are required to bring their tickets, booking confirmation, credit card and a valid form of ID in order to gain entry.

Ed Sheeran has been one of the leading figures in the stance against ticket-touts (Photo: Shutterstock)

Tougher rules on buying and entry are becoming the norm

When Adele began her first tour in five years in 2016, tickets were like gold dust, but the singer teamed up with Songkick in order to exclude more than 18,000 'known or likely touts' from the ticket buying process.

That same year, heavy metal icons Iron Maiden introduced paperless ticketing in an attempt to stop touts, and it was later reported that this digital move had been hugely successful.

Last year Radiohead tried to clamp down on touts by introducing a maximum of four tickets per person to their shows.

This rule has also been enforced this year by the chart-topping Arctic Monkeys, alongside a list of other rules which the Sheffield band explained to ticket-buyers last month, when tickets for their September concerts were released.

These rules include:

The surname of the lead booker (purchaser) being printed on all ticketsEach guest in the party must arrive with the lead booker at the venue on the night of the showAll ticket purchasers must take a valid photo ID which matches the lead booker surname on the tickets

Like Ed Sheeran, any tickets that are resold for the Arctic Monkeys concerts must be done through Twickets.

With artists, tour promoters and fans all backing the fair selling and pricing of concert tickets, the campaign to stop unreasonable touts is strong.

Ticket-touting is an issue which has lingered for decades, but with new rules in place to tackle over-priced and fake websites, and the aim of exposing hidden booking fees and delivery charges, hopefully all concert-goers will be able to purchase valid and affordable tickets in the future.