This week’s news that Ticketmaster is closing its secondary websites Seatwave and Get Me In! sent shockwaves across the ticketing industry – but most agree this is a step in the right direction when it comes to combatting touting and preventing sky-high prices in the secondary market.
Secondary sales will still be permitted through Ticketmaster’s own site , but unlike on the existing secondary sites, you will only be allowed to charge for tickets at face value or lower. A 15% surcharge will be added to each ticket in order to cover the booking fees initially paid by the seller.
In the current climate of growing legislative scrutiny of secondary markets, including the recent ban on ticket bots and action being considered by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority against secondary seller Viagogo, Ticketmaster’s decision is a canny move which distances them from the growing consumer dissatisfaction with secondary platforms.
At part of the ticketing industry, we welcome Ticketmaster’s move to close Get Me In! and Seatwave as platforms for secondary sales, which have seen consumers being charged huge premiums to get hold of tickets for events against the wishes of artists and event organisers. The announcement is a significant step in ensuring primary ticket vendors are committed to fair-value resale, and is a real testament to the tireless work of consumer protection campaigners such as FanFair Alliance and the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers.
We must continue to work together with stakeholders across the ticketing industry to protect rightsholders and gain greater transparency over resale
However, ticket scalpers and other scammers hoping to make a killing on a big-ticket item will still be able to choose to sell tickets through alternative secondary markets such as Viagogo. This shift to fan-to-fan ticket exchanges must be powered by technological innovation, helping to protect the resale of tickets and reclaim some control for artists, venues and promoters.
One of the advantages of holding tickets on the blockchain is that ticket inventory rightsholders have the ability to set rules and parameters around which secondary platforms are whitelisted (or indeed blacklisted) to resale their tickets. Minimum and maximum price caps can also be set, giving artists and ticket agents the ability to stipulate ‘face value-only’ resale.
Welcoming the Ticketmaster news, FanFair Alliance said that “while enforcement action is still urgently required to clamp down on rogue operators such as Viagogo, we are now much closer to a genuine transformation of the secondary market – where large-scale online touts are locked out, where innovation can flourish, and the resale of tickets is made straightforward, transparent and consumer-friendly.”
We must continue to work together with stakeholders across the ticketing industry to protect rightsholders and gain greater transparency over the resale of tickets, bringing more value to consumers. Only with a combined approach can consumers and rightholders be properly protected by new technology.
Annika Monari is co-founder and director of Aventus Systems.