MPs will debate proposed changes to secondary online ticket sites today
Managers behind acts including Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, Iron Maiden and One Direction have joined other senior figures from the world of music and sport to call for tougher controls on secondary ticketing sites ahead of a debate by MPs today.
In a letter to the Independent On Sunday, managers and organisers warned that the way the secondary ticketing market currently operates can seriously undermine efforts to ensure fair prices for event-goers.
Proposed measures include a requirement that sites publish the name of ticket sellers, the ticket’s face value, the seat number, and whether the resale contravenes the terms and conditions agreed to by the original buyer. Other signatories include bands Bullet For My Valentine and Cancer Bats, music promoter Harvey Goldsmith and various figures from the UK music festival circuit.
“As representatives from the live event industry, responsible for putting on shows ranging from international sporting fixtures and world class theatre to intimate gigs, we are committed to ensuring that event-goers have the best experience possible at a fair price,” the letter read. “The way that the secondary ticketing market is allowed to operate at present can seriously undermine that effort. It’s high time the government stopped sticking up for secondary platforms, and decided to put fans first.”
Secondary ticket outlets such as Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo act as marketplaces where tickets to concerts and sports events can be sold at the seller’s preferred price. When tickets for a popular event go on sale, they are usually bought in bulk in order to be later sold on at a profit on these sites.
A statement from Viagogo read: “We are in favour of making information clearer on our website and have made a number of commitments in our recent discussions with the government. However, publishing the original seller’s identity is unnecessary because all tickets come with the viagogo guarantee, while publishing specific seat numbers allows rights owners to cancel tickets which are being legitimately resold. Anyone can see that is not in the consumer’s best interests.
“Our view is supported by independent research from ComRes, which shows that 76% of British consumers believe a ticket is their property to resell if they wish. 77% would prefer to use a guaranteed secondary platform, while over a third would be willing to pay more than face value for a ticket.”
Any changes to the websites’ operation would be made via changes to the Consumer Rights Bill, which is currently going through Parliament. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has previously said a change in the law would be unnecessary.