Few things beat the thrill of going to see your favourite band or singer live, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen some great acts in the past, and unless Morrissey and Marr patch things up, I’ve seen all my favourites, that are still alive anyway. But recently it’s become more of a struggle getting tickets and more and more genuine fans are missing out because of the cancer that is ticket touting.
As you were
If you didn’t know, Liam Gallagher is back. So far we’ve had three belting new tracks and a string of good reviews of his festival appearances all on the back of his surprise, and show stealing, appearance at the One Love Manchester concert. All this has lead to quite a lot of hype surrounding him and his upcoming tour. So I was expecting a scramble for tickets, but don’t worry! Pre-order my album and get pre-sale said Liam, well that would’ve been great if they didn’t sell out in 30 seconds, don’t worry he said, there’s another pre-sale tomorrow, 30 seconds again. So on to general sale, come on Daniel you’ve never failed to get tickets before, 30 seconds later, sold out. The thing is, I didn’t get tickets, and I felt aggrieved, I mean I pre-ordered the album with you! Where’s my fucking tickets! But at the end of the day, so did a lot of other people, as the phrase goes, demand simply outweighed supply. But what really sticks in the throat is what happens after they sold out.
Back in the day, you would always have touts stood outside venues buying and selling tickets at a huge profit, praying on those unlucky not to get tickets but willing to pay over the odds to get in, and this still exists, but this profiteering is nothing to the problem that exists online. Within seconds of a concert selling out, resale websites have the same tickets listed for eye-watering amounts, it happens every time, and it’s this that really hacks off the fan that missed out. Those tickets should have gone to people who wanted to go to the gig, not people who want to make money from selling them.
So what are the ticket companies doing to stop it? Short answer? Nothing. The problem is that the re-sale sites are often owned by the ticket company in the first place, Get Me In is a perfect example, this is the re-sale site owned by Ticketmaster. Liam Gallagher pre-sale was done through Ticketmaster, a thoroughly frustrating experience of proving you’re not a robot simply to find out someone else did it a fraction of a second quicker, only to see them on Get Me In immediately after for upwards of 200 quid. How are Ticketmaster not embarrassed by this? They have let the tickets they have sold go to touts, and have then provided them a legitimate means to sell them on at a huge profit, depriving proper fans. The answer I suppose lies in the fact that they take a cut of any re-sale, thus effectively taking twice for the sale of one ticket, this is criminal, or it should be. So you can see, while this is still legal, why would the ticket companies stop it?
So what is the government doing about it? Simple answer? Not a lot. The problem has been discussed by those in power, and the solution they came up with was to make the use of ticket buying software illegal. Making drugs illegal doesn’t stop people using them, making unpaid TV streaming illegal hasn’t stopped people doing it. To stop people doing it, you have to remove the market. If the law stated that tickets for events could not be re-sold for more than 10% over face value, you would immediately make it a lot more difficult to touts tickets. The ability to sell tickets on is important, things happen and people can’t make make the gig, but in this circumstance, being able to sell them with 10% on top would allow for booking fees delivery etc and the seller isn’t out of pocket and the buyer isn’t paying massively over the odds for the privilege of going to the gig.
Could the artists do more? I think they could. They could apply more pressure on their management who in turn could pressure the ticket companies to do more about it. Ed Sheeran and his team have made commendable efforts to try and do something, by barring entry to those who bought tickets to his tour from re-selling websites and more could do the same to highlight the issue. I also think musicians could do more to work along side people like Twickets, a re-seller who only list at face value, or DICE who offer an electronic ticket service which are non transferable.
In the end I got some tickets for Liam Gallagher, thanks to my good pal Nath, not great ones, but I’m going and he didn’t pay more than face value, but there will be plenty who weren’t as lucky who will pay the money, and thus feed the machine. I understand this isn’t the greatest problem currently facing the world, but my frustration comes from the fact that it could so easily be sorted out, or at least made much better.