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Study: Overpriced resold tickets putting off gig-goers

See's Rob Wilmshurst has accused touts of "chipping away at the public’s confidence" in live music, as it emerges "rip off" tickets are deterring concertgoers

By Jon Chapple on 30 Oct 2017

Ticked Off

image © POGO

More than two thirds of British consumers who have bought above-face value tickets on resale sites say they now plan to attend fewer shows, according to new consumer research highlighting the potentially negative impact of widespread ticket touting on concert attendance.

Ticked Off: Consumer attitudes to secondary ticketing, a survey of nearly 1,200 people commissioned by anti-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance, discovered 67% of ticket buyers who paid above the odds said they would attend fewer concerts in future. Sixty per cent said the same also applies to festivals, while 58% would spend less on food and drink at venues.

Meanwhile, 80% of the British public think the UK secondary ticketing market – valued at £1 billion – is a “rip off”, with the vast majority supporting further measures to clamp down on ticket touting, including the provision of authorised resale services (87%), limiting ticket purchases (80%), and personalised tickets with ID checks (75%).

Other key findings include:

  • 52% of respondents said it was difficult to distinguish between authorised primary ticket sellers and unauthorised secondary sites
  • 43% of said Google was their first port of call to search for tickets, despite evidence secondary sites pay the search engine to top its rankings, ensuring they’re seen first
  • 58% said they supported the concept of face value resale
  • 82% said secondary platforms should be more transparent and show more detail about the identity of those reselling tickets

Commenting on the research, Adam Webb, FanFair’s campaign manager, says: “The debate around online ticket touting raises strong passions, so it’s important that the wider music business, politicians and regulators can get a sense of what the general public think.

“Touts aren’t just responsible for massively inflating prices – they are chipping away at the public’s confidence in the live music industry”

“The message from this research appears to be pretty clear: UK audiences are fed up. The model of secondary ticketing promoted by Viagogo, StubHub, Get Me In! and Seatwave is causing them very real concern – albeit, they are not against the concept of ticket resale. The majority would like the option to resell a ticket for the price they paid for it, and they’re in favour of measures to curb mass-scale online ticket touting. On that front, FanFair urges legislators and regulators to accelerate their endeavours to tackle the most egregious practices of the secondary market.

“More positively, an increasing number of UK ticket companies are now offering face-value resale services, and it’s becoming common practice for artists to implement anti-touting strategies. This is hugely encouraging, although there remains a deep-rooted resistance from some parts of the live business that needs to be overcome. For, while the status quo might bring short-term gains to certain companies, there is a real danger that their intransigence will cause considerable long-term damage – not only to the live music sector, but across the music business overall.”

Rob Wilmshurst, CEO of See Tickets, which operates its own face-value resale site, adds: “Touts aren’t just responsible for massively inflating prices; they are also, as the research shows, chipping away at the public’s confidence in the live music industry. Buying a ticket for an act you really want to see should be exciting, but touts are turning this into a fraught, overpriced and desperate experience for a lot of people.

“We firmly back any action to combat touting and have made our stance on this very clear by offering customers of the use of an ethical resale site where tickets can only be resold at the price customers paid or less with commissions below everyone else’s.”

A Competition and Markets Authority enforcement investigation into online secondary ticketing in the UK, announced in December 2016, remains ongoing.


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