Secondary ticketing has always been something of a problem for the live music industry – in days gone by you couldn’t get into a venue without hearing and seeing several touts charging over the top prices for tickets but in recent years we’ve seen a move into the realm of digital ticket resales.
Channel 4’s recent Dispatches programme highlighted the problem of ticket price inflation to the masses by those on the inside but within the music industry its an ongoing issue we’ve known about for far too long without doing anything to stop it.
The programme named those at the root of the ‘scandal’ as being the promoters of the acts, particularly bigger acts like Coldplay and Rhianna, and venues who are the ones that are pricing fans out of seeing their favourite acts often doubling the face value price. It’s certainly got high profit margins for those benefiting and it’ certainly not fair.
But it can’t all be the promoters at fault – surely those running these online ticket exchange forums (*ahem* Viagogo and SeatWave) are equally to blame. These organisations proved that they had no qualms when it came to buying tickets from primary ticketers and selling them on to desperate fans for more than double the price.
Taking advantage of fans who tried desperately to get tickets – be that from camping out over night or getting up early on a Sunday morning (I’m talking Glastonbury here) – by sending tickets sky high is just not cool in anyone’s book.
But what’s the answer? Should we look to the likes of Denmark and pass legislation (like that proposed by MP Sharon Hodgson) to regulate and restrict the resale of live music tickets? Or perhaps there should be a move to introduce photographic ID onto all tickets sold like seen at Glastonbury?
One thing is sure though – if the industry has been able to embrace the digital world of illegal downloads and fight back by turning it into a positive to make a profit through iTunes and Spotify then can the same not be done for secondary ticketing?
But what about smaller acts? As much as over-pricing affects this market surely under-pricing up and coming artists has an equally negative impact on the industry?
Often smaller local bands who are plugging away, touring and working non-stop set their prices for gig entry low at about £3-£5 trying to attract people to see them. Just because a band hasn’t made name for themselves doesn’t mean that they should under sell themselves. Where exactly did this notion that smaller acts aren’t worth paying a higher price to see? They may be a new act but they still deserve being paid fairly.
Food for thought: We enjoyed this article discussing under-priced ticketing from the artists perspective
Other inspiration came via CMU: