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UK general election: What the live biz wants

As the United Kingdom gears up for next month’s general election, a range of music organisations have told IQ how the new government can best help the live business.

The main political parties have now put out their manifestos ahead of the 4 July vote, with varying degrees of support for the arts. Labour, the party currently leading all opinion polls to form the UK’s next government, has reiterated its pledge to cap ticket resale if it wins the election.

“Access to music, drama and sport has become difficult and expensive because of ticket touting,” it states. “Labour will put fans back at the heart of events by introducing new consumer protections on ticket resales.”

While stressing that Britain will remain outside the European Union, the party vows to improve EU touring for UK artists.

“Labour will work to improve the UK’s trade and investment relationship with the EU, by tearing down unnecessary barriers to trade,” it says. “We will seek to negotiate a veterinary agreement to prevent unnecessary border checks and help tackle the cost of food; will help our touring artists; and secure a mutual recognition agreement for professional qualifications to help open up markets for UK service exporters.”

Touring regulations also feature in the Liberal Democrats and Green Party manifestos, with the former saying it would push to “negotiate free and simple short-term travel arrangements for UK artists to perform in the EU, and European artists to perform in the UK”, and the latter promising to “ensure that musicians have access to visa-free travel to the EU through negotiating a reciprocal arrangement at the earliest possible opportunity”.

“This will be a government seeking to kickstart economic growth, and implementing the right policies to support the live music sector”

The Lib Dems also set out their desire to “protect fans from being exploited by ticket touts by implementing the Competition and Markets Authority’s recommendations to crack down on illegal ticket resale”.

The Conservatives, meanwhile, pledge to “extend our Community Ownership Fund to help more communities across the UK take control of vital community assets like pubs, music venues, libraries, green spaces, leisure centres and more”.

Stressing its support for apprenticeships as “a key pipeline of talent into our world-leading creative industries”, the party adds: “We will work with industry to deliver a dedicated flexible coordination service so that everyone who wants to work in the film, TV, gaming and music sectors can work on live productions whilst benefiting from at least 12 months of secure training.”

Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment), which serves as the collective voice of the UK live music business, says the trade body is looking forward to working with the next government on “a range of issues that require a fresh focus, considered investment and informed action”.

“With Labour likely to form that government, it is very encouraging to see many of our key asks set out in their manifesto and their action plan for the arts, culture and creative industries,” he says. “This will be a government seeking to kickstart economic growth, and implementing the right policies to support the live music sector with a value of £5.2 billion will deliver that growth – both domestically and internationally.

“Labour is committed to facilitating easier touring arrangements with the EU which will critically drive up activity; the current provisions have seen a 74% drop in activity and left orchestras either unable to tour or facing prohibitive costs. We welcome Labour’s support for our grassroots sector and look forward to working with ministers to ensure grassroots music venues are able to thrive, update them on the progress of the LIVE Trust, and ease the trading environment through business rates reform.”

“The rest of the world recognises this country as a beacon of music innovation, and it’s vital that an incoming government maximises that potential”

Collins adds: “Whilst not a manifesto commitment, we will be looking to the next government to act on the recommendations made by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in their recent report (May 2024) on grassroots music venues to reduce VAT on tickets and undertake a comprehensive economic analysis of the impact of a reduced rate applied across the sector.

“We are pleased that Labour has committed to take forward our proposals published in our Live Music Manifesto on secondary ticketing and reforming the apprenticeship levy. LIVE will work with the next government on plans to deliver Martyn’s Law in a way that protects fans without putting unnecessary burdens on venues and festivals.”

Last week, the Music Venue Trust (MVT) published a report entitled, A Manifesto for Grassroots Music, which outlined the steps the charity says are required in order to stem the closures of grassroots music venues and bring stability to the sector.

“In 2023, of the 366 small music venues Ed Sheeran played while learning his trade, at least 150 are now closed,” said MVT CEO Mark Davyd. “Another 72 grassroots music venues significantly reduced or ended their live music offer. 38% of GMVs in the UK made a loss in the last 12 months. The sector operated on a 0.5% profit margin overall while running live music events at a £115 million loss.

“All of this can be changed if the next government delivers the five simple steps we have set out.”

Music Managers Forum (MMF) CEO Annabella Coldrick highlighted touring, the grassroots scene and streaming as key areas of concern.

“When the general election was called, the industry was in deep discussion with policy makers about reforms to music streaming and to grassroots live music,” she says. “In the next parliament, those discussions must be transformed into tangible actions – and fast! Our artists and music makers deserve nothing less.

“Underpinned by those reforms, it’s really important that music, culture and the creative industries are at the heart of the UK’s business and growth strategy. The rest of the world recognises this country as a beacon of music innovation, and it’s vital that an incoming government maximises that potential – for instance, by negotiating new improved touring arrangements for UK artists wanting to perform in Europe, and by addressing our concerns about exorbitant visa fees for the US. Both have been a real focus for the MMF, and for the FAC, with our joint #LetTheMusicMove campaign.”

“To reset the market, we want the UK to follow the example of Ireland and outlaw ticket resale for profit”

David Martin, CEO of the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), says: “The FAC’s priority is to ensure that the momentum to drive forward artist-friendly reforms of streaming and the sustainability of the live music ecosystem continue into the next Parliament. The next government must take forward the work that was started by the Culture Media & Sport Select Committee in these areas. We can’t let progress slip.

“There are plenty of challenges facing our industry, but with a UK music strategy for growth the next government can maximise its untapped potential. Through practical changes to the way we do business – such as implementing fair royalty rates or a live ticket levy that directly supports artists – British music will thrive. The new government should legislate on these issues if industry consensus cannot be found.”

Unsurprisingly, the focus for Adam Webb, campaign manager of of anti-touting pressure group FanFair Alliance, is on cleaning up secondary ticketing.

“To reset the market, we want the UK to follow the example of Ireland and outlaw ticket resale for profit,” he tells IQ. “Thankfully, because of FanFair’s campaigning, this is firmly on the radar of politicians. The Labour Party has already committed to introducing a 10% cap on resale prices, and action against ticket touting is one of the key music-related pledges in their manifesto. The Liberal Democrats also have a manifesto commitment to clamp down on speculative ticketing and other anti-consumer practices.

“Alongside that, I’d like to see the Competition & Markets Authority provided with new enforcement powers. The UK’s ticket resale market is not highly regulated. We need that to change, and for capped consumer-friendly ticket resale to be made more visible and viable.”

Meanwhile, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) plans to resume its Five Percent For Festivals campaign – calling for a reduced VAT from 20% to 5% on ticket sales for the next three years – post-election.

“We are delighted to see so many references to music and meaningful commitments that will change our members’ lives for the better”

“I think there will be intervention. My concern is that by the time something does happen, how many [festivals] will have gone?” AIF CEO John Rostron told IQ earlier this month. “What’s good for us is there is an election about to happen, so we’ll have a new group of politicians with a five-year mandate, and that is stronger to work with than where we were, which was with a group of MPs that didn’t know how long their futures would be.”

Elsewhere, the Musicians’ Union (MU) has welcomed the Labour Party Manifesto, saying it tackles many of the issues the organisation has raised with the party on behalf of members.

“The MU is Labour-affiliated and, along with fellow unions, we have been involved in shaping policy for a Labour government for many years now,” says MU general secretary Naomi Pohl. “Having not had significant access to Conservative ministers, with a few notable exceptions, we have a chance of a government that prioritises the arts and wants to engage with us on issues facing musicians.

“This is the first time that the MU has been so directly involved in the Labour Party manifesto process and had a chance to influence the final document. We are delighted to see so many references to music and meaningful commitments that will change our members’ lives for the better.

“While we know our membership is a broad church politically, we would be missing a once in a generation opportunity if we didn’t encourage musicians to vote Labour. This is an opportunity to shift the dial for the creative workforce of today and tomorrow.”

 


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CMS calls for ticket levy for grassroots venues

The Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee has backed calls for a new arena and stadium ticket levy, plus tax relief, to safeguard UK’s grassroots music venues (GMVs).

The recommendations feature in a new report from the cross-party committee, which launched the inquiry at the Music Venue Trust’s (MVT) Venues Day in October 2023 and heard about the “cost of touring crisis” facing the sector, against a backdrop of small venues closing at a rate of two per week.

It says that a voluntary levy on arena and stadium concert tickets – as lobbied for by the MVT – would be the most feasible way to have an immediate impact on the business, creating a support fund for venues, artists and promoters, administered by a trust led by a sector umbrella body, and is appealing for the industry to ensure the levy cost is not passed on to music fans. In addition, it is calling for a temporary VAT cut based on venue capacity.

The conclusions have been warmly welcomed by bodies including the MVT, along with trade bodies LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment), UK Music, the Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC).

“These recommendations provide a clear pathway forward to a positive future for the UK’s grassroots music venues, a set of actions that are deliverable, affordable, and will genuinely have a positive impact on live music in communities right across the country,” says MVT CEO Mark Davyd. “We look forward to working with the music industry and with the government to deliver on these recommendations as swiftly as possible.”

Davyd owns Tunbridge Wells Forum in Kent, which recently pledged to become the first venue in the UK to introduce a grassroots ticket levy. Throughout this month, £1 from every ticket sold will be donated to the Music Venue Trust’s (MVT) Pipeline Fund at no additional expense to customers.

The MVT has described 2023 as the most challenging year for the sector since the trust was founded in 2014, as the number of GMVs falling from 960 to 835.

“It’s clear that the committee has recognised the many challenges faced by venues, promoters, events and artists at the grassroots level, and the steps required to address them”

“We would like to thank all the thousands of music fans that have supported our work across the last 10 years,” adds Davyd. “It has taken much longer than any of us would have liked to get the positive change we all wanted to see, but we could not have achieved this fantastic outcome without your continued support for your local live music venue.”

If there is no agreement by September, or if it fails to collect enough income to support the sector, the report says the government should step in an introduce a statutory levy.

“It’s clear that the committee has recognised the many challenges faced by venues, promoters, events and artists at the grassroots level, and the steps required to address them,” says LIVE CEO Jon Collins. “LIVE set out to the committee the actions we believe that the government needs to take to help unleash the economic potential of the sector, such as a reduction in the damaging and uncompetitive rate of VAT on tickets, as well as the actions that sit with us as an industry, notably the creation of a charitable arm, the LIVE Trust.

“We are pleased that the committee’s report addresses both of these matters positively and has entrusted our sector to implement the industry-led solution of a voluntary levy on arena and stadium tickets, gathering and distributing funding that will benefit the whole grassroots music ecosystem. We look forward to working with government on the review of VAT and regularly updating on our progress on the LIVE Trust.”

“Grassroots music venues are a crucial part of the music industry’s ecosystem and have been faced with a series of unprecedented threats for a number of years,” adds UK Music interim chief executive Tom Kiehl. “We welcome the House of Commons CMS Committee taking the opportunity to consider the challenges these venues and the artists that tour in them face.”

Artists and managers previously spoke out in favour of the MVT’s calls for a compulsory £1 levy on tickets sold for UK live music events above 5,000-cap during evidence sessions held in March.

“As the organisations representing artists and managers, we wholeheartedly endorse all the committee’s recommendations,” says a joint statement by FAC CEO David Martin and MMF chief executive Annabella Coldrick. “Most important is their recognition of the ‘cost of touring crisis’, and that the benefits of a ticket levy must flow down to artists, managers, and independent promoters – as well as to grassroots music venues. The entire ecosystem needs support. While we still believe this mechanism should be mandatory, the clock is now ticking to get a process in place before September 2024.”

“The ongoing wave of closures is not just a disaster for music, performers and supporters in local communities up and down the country, but also puts at risk the entire live music ecosystem”

Among the report’s other recommendations are for the government and Arts Council to make it easier for the live music sector to apply for public funding and for stakeholders across the industry to continue to support the FAC’s campaign to end punitive fees on artists’ merchandise.

“We are also delighted to see the committee endorse the 100% Venues campaign, and hope this will trigger action from the UK’s largest live music venues to overhaul outdated practices on merchandise commissions,” continue Martin and Coldrick. “The sale of T-shirts, vinyl and other physical products represent a crucial income stream for artists. It is only fair that they should retain the bulk of that revenue.”

In closing, the report also calls for a comprehensive fan-led review to be set be set up this summer to examine the long-term challenges to the wider live music ecosystem.

“We are grateful to the many dedicated local venues who gave up their time to take part in our inquiry,” says Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, chair of the CMS Committee. “They delivered the message loud and clear that grassroots music venues are in crisis. The ongoing wave of closures is not just a disaster for music, performers and supporters in local communities up and down the country, but also puts at risk the entire live music ecosystem.

“If the grassroots, where musicians, technicians, tour managers and promoters hone their craft, are allowed to wither and die, the UK’s position as a music powerhouse faces a bleak future. To stem the overwhelming ongoing tide of closures, we urgently need a levy on arena and stadium concert tickets to fund financial support for the sector, alongside a VAT cut to help get more shows into venues.

“While the current focus is on the many grassroots music venues falling silent, those working in the live music sector across the board are also under extraordinary strain. It is time that the government brought together everyone with a stake in the industry’s success, including music fans, to address the long-term challenges and ensure live music can thrive into the future.”

 


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#LetTheMusicMove: Groups oppose US visa changes

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) have stepped up their #LetTheMusicMove campaign in order to oppose changes to US visa applications.

The UK groups say the newly-proposed increases to filing fees attached to specific visa applications – including O and P artists visas – would result in potentially crippling costs for UK artists looking to tour North America.

#LetTheMusicMove was originally established in June 2021 to campaign for reductions in post-Brexit costs and red tape for UK artists and musicians when touring in Europe, but has extended its focus following the recent announcement by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Under the proposals, the cost of artists visas increase by more than 250%, which would make performing in the US unaffordable for many emerging and mid-level artists.

“These proposed increases to visa costs would be catastrophic for British artists, and make it unaffordable for many to tour the US,” says MMF chief Annabella Coldrick. “By reactivating and expanding our #LetTheMusicMove campaign we hope to convince the Department of Homeland Security to rethink their culturally destructive proposals.”

“By working strategically, there is still a chance of stopping these damaging changes”

The DHS and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services have opened a comment period until 6 March, allowing US citizens to send public feedback which will then be reviewed and further adjustments considered.

“#LetTheMusicMove provided artists with a unified campaign in which they could voice their concerns about the challenges of touring after Brexit,” says FAC CEO David Martin. “However, these new proposals around US touring visas are equally concerning and, should they be agreed, will only exacerbate the seismic challenges facing the UK’s artists today.

“For that reason, we are asking British artists to commit to three simple actions: to sign up to the campaign, to send us their views, and to submit feedback to the official consultation process. By working strategically, there is still a chance of stopping these damaging changes.”

More than 1,000 artists originally backed the #LetTheMusicMove campaign, including Little Mix, Orbital, Olly Murs, Sampha, Sleaford Mods, Alison Moyet, Nubian Twist, Bicep, AlunaGeorge, Niall Horan, Wolf Alice, Annie Lennox, Biffy Clyro, Idles, Poppy Ajudha, Radiohead, Anna Calvi, Skunk Anansie and Laura Marling.

 


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IQ 115 out now: ILMC 35 preview, The Cure, Germany

IQ 115, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite magazine, is available to read online now.

The November edition includes a sneak preview of the various events and gatherings set for the 35th edition of the International Live Music Conference, which will be held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London from 28 Feb – 3 March 2023.

In addition, Gordon Masson goes behind the scenes as The Cure resume their live career with their biggest ever European. In his latest market report, Adam Woods discovers Germany’s live music industry is enduring challenging times, while James Hanley examines the high-flying business of air charter.

Elsewhere, we celebrate AEG Presents France general manager Arnaud Meersseman‘s 20 years in music and profile 20 forward-thinking companies developing live music metaverse worlds.

For this edition’s columns and comments, AXS director of ticketing Paul Newman outlines how the Covid standstill allowed his team to reimagine its ticketing delivery systems; and Music Managers’ Forum CEO Anabella Coldrick details the various challenges facing the live music business.

Plus, four years since IQ’s agony aunt, Wasserman Music’s Alex Hardee, last shared his wisdom with those in need of guidance, it’s time once again for Auntie Alex to dispense some sage-like advice…

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ from just £6.25 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 


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MMF CEO warns touring costs will price out artists

Annabella Coldrick, CEO of the UK’s Music Managers Forum (MMF), warns that the cost of touring will see some artists priced out of their careers, resulting in a “lost generation” of talent.

According to the CEO, the membership is dealing with a “perfect storm” of Brexit, Covid and inflation, making touring unaffordable for some acts.

“I want to be really positive because we’re so pleased that live music is back but when costs have gone up 30-40% – and you can’t put tickets up at the same level because people are working out how to pay their heating bill – that’s tough,” says Coldrick.

“Some artists can absorb the current costs of touring but most can’t. I think we’re going to have to look at how we tour and what reductions we can bring in.”

One band that has spoken up about the overwhelming cost of touring is Belfast-based band New Pagans, who earlier this year opened up about the “massive debt” they racked up on a European tour with Skunk Anansie.

“I think we’re going to have to look at how we tour and what reductions we can bring in”

“Brexit and Covid have truly done a number on small bands. To break even on a tour, or even come home with a little profit was always the goal… to come home from a tour having accumulated massive debt is now the reality for many small and independent bands in 2022,” reads a tweet from the band.

“Fuel costs, tolls, venues taking 25% of merch, buying a carnet to get through customs: just a few things conspiring against you.”

Coldrick raises concerns that the hike in prices will result in a talent drain of British artists.

“I think in five or six years’ time, you’ll see a load of artists who lost momentum because of Covid and not being able to make ends meet,” she says. “And when you look at festival bills in half a decade, they’ll be much fewer British artists on them – partly because they’ve not been able to build the audiences from touring.”

And for the acts that do continue to tour, there’ll be some tough decisions to make – both financially and creatively.

“I think in five or six years’ time, you’ll see a load of artists who lost momentum because of Covid”

“I think production will be severely stripped back for those who do go ahead with touring,” she continues. “I’ve already heard about bigger bands that would usually take three trucks and are now just taking one. We will definitely see different types of shows now.”

With no silver bullet for the cost of touring, the MMF CEO anticipates a tough few years for gigging acts but says there are some things that can ease the pressure.

A 5% rate of VAT on ticket sales is high on the CEO’s wishlist, along with acts being able to take home 100% of the proceeds from the merchandise sold at concerts.

“So many managers have spent a lot of time trying to find ways around venues taking a commission of merchandise,” she explains. “I’ve heard stories about artists hiring ice cream vans and putting them outside of the venue to sell merch, or taking over cafes. We don’t want to do that – it’s a lot more time and effort.

“We’re hoping the venues will realise that being able to make it possible for artists to tour at the moment is a key thing. I think we need to realise we’re all in it together and try and find a way to make that level of touring work or shows will get pulled and that’s not good for anyone in the industry.”


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UK live industry cautiously welcomes £1.57bn aid

British live music industry leaders have said they stand ready to work closely with government on the details of its £1.57 billion culture rescue fund, but cautioned that the whole live music ecosystem must be protected.

The financial aid package of emergency grants and loans must also be complemented by an exemption in VAT for the sector, a government-backed insurance scheme for shows and a conditional date for reopening, they say.

Sunday’s announcement about the support package followed the hugely successful #LetTheMusicPlay day, which saw 1,500 artists write directly to culture secretary Oliver Dowden and tens of millions of fans posting online about the importance of live music, a £4.5bn sector that employs 210,000 people.

The campaign, coordinated by members of the UK Live Music Group and Concert Promoters’ Association (CPA), with additional support from UK Music, trended at No1 globally on Twitter and attracted media coverage around the world.

“Thousands of artists, venues, festivals, managers, agents, promoters and production crew came together for #LetTheMusicPlay, and we must ensure that all of them receive the support that they so desperately need,” says Phil Bowdery, chair of the CPA.

“We stand ready to work closely with the government to ensure that this world-class industry survives”

“We stand ready to work closely with the government to ensure that this world-class industry survives.”

Live music was one of the first industries to close as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and concerts are not expected to return in full force until well into 2021. According to member research compiled by live music associations over the six month period between October 2020 and March 2021, the operating costs of the broader live music sector will be £298.8million. This figure is in addition to the £47m required by grassroots music venues, called for by Music Venue Trust.

“The government’s £1.57bn package for the arts is welcome, but we lack detail of how funding will be allocated for music,” comments Annabella Coldrick, chief executive of the Music Managers Forum. “The thousands who work and perform in our sector desperately require comprehensive support if their jobs and livelihoods are to be sustained.”

Kilimanjaro Live MD Stuart Galbraith, co-chair of the CPA, adds: “We are ready to work on the details of the scheme, and our other requests – a VAT exemption for the sector, a government-backed insurance scheme to allow shows to go ahead, and a timeline for safe reopening without social distancing – at the government’s convenience.

“We look forward to this ongoing discussion shortly.”

 


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MMF calls for review of music managers’ role

A report published today (Friday 1 November) by the UK’s Music Managers Forum (MMF) calls for a review of how managers are remunerated, in line with their changing roles.

The report, ‘Managing Expectations’, was previewed on Thursday evening at the BBC Music Introducing Live event at Tobacco Dock in London.

The findings are drawn from surveys with over 180 music managers and interviews conducted with ie:music’s Tim Clark (Robbie Williams), Dirty Hit’s Jamie Oborne (the 1975), Eleven Management’s Niamh Byrne (Gorillaz) and Step Management’s Ellie Giles (Bill Ryder-Jones).

The report examines how managers support talent development; their relationships with record labels; the increasing diversity of managers; the expanding skill sets required; and challenges around mental health.

In particular, the document analyses the commercial sustainability of music managers, with 26% of survey respondents working another full- or part-time job in a different section of the music business and 56% earning less than £10,000 a year from music management.

“Against a fast-moving background of complexity and diversification, the way in which most managers get paid has remained stubbornly rigid,” writes MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick, “with the vast majority reliant on commission-based earnings – and typically of 20%.

“Against a fast-moving background of complexity and diversification, the way in which most managers get paid has remained stubbornly rigid”

“This is increasingly unsustainable, and with so many upcoming managers not making any money at all, we run the risk of losing many of these talented professionals altogether.”

The report outlines access to financing, support for mental health provision, diversification of skills, transparency of income streams and new commercial models as the five main barriers that “may prevent music managers and their clients from reaching their potential.”

“The goal of this report is to better explain what a modern day music manager actually does and enhance understanding of how this has changed in the digital age,” comments Coldrick.

“We will use the findings to better advocate for our members’ interests and expand our activity on the critical areas identified and to initiate discussions with our clients and partners on new business models in management.”

As a step to alleviating the challenges highlighted in the report, the MMF this year launched the Accelerator Programme for Music Managers, which has so far supported 24 managers. The beneficiaries of the 2020 programme will be announced soon.

The full report can be read here.

 


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FanFair Alliance launches guide to tackle touting

FanFair Alliance, the music industry campaign established in 2016 to tackle “industrial-scale online ticket touting”, has today (Tuesday 17 September) published new guidance to help artists and managers to tackle secondary ticketing.

The guidance, which was developed alongside new model terms and conditions published by the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) and is backed by the UK’s Music Managers Forum (MMF), can be downloaded here.

The guide advocates that artists, event organisers and venues make two clear and upfront statements in their terms and conditions of sale – that tickets are for consumers only to purchase, and that audiences are permitted to resell tickets for the price they paid or less, and that a consumer-friendly resale or reallocation mechanism is provided.

The alliance hopes that the cost-free measures will empower artists and organisers to employ a wider range of acts to prevent exploitation of fans, while promoting fairer ticket resale practices.

The publication follows major developments in the fight against the UK’s secondary ticketing market, including the provision of detailed information about the tickets listed on secondary sites – in keeping with consumer protection law – an end to misleading marketing practices such as “drip pricing” and the suspension of infamous secondary site Viagogo from Google search advertising.

The introduction of “consumer friendly” resale services, including AXS Official Resale, Ticketmaster’s Ticket Exchange, See Ticket’s Fan-to-Fan and CTS Eventim’s FanSALE, has also given fans alternative resale options.

According to STAR chief executive Jonathan Brown, the use of such authorised resale systems “helps to combat unwanted excesses in the secondary ticket market.”

“As well as disrupting the practices of dedicated touts, our aim is that [artists] will help promote a fairer and more transparent ticketing market”

Despite developments, YouGov data, viewed by FanFair Alliance, suggests online ticket touting remains a concern for live music fans, with 79% of concertgoers surveyed in April 2019 stating that “too many tickets end up on reselling sites for inflated prices” and 67% affirming that artists “should do more” to prevent this practice.

A recent decision by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority to halt legal actions against Viagogo prompted further concerns from anti-tout groups and live industry professionals.

“The message from audiences remains pretty clear and consistent,” says FanFair campaign manager Adam Webb, who recently aired his thoughts on the continued need for action against Viagogo in IQ. “They’re still sick of exploitative online ticket touts, and they expect artists, event organisers and venues to do something about it.

“And here’s the good news: they can. The UK is now leading the way in the fightback against unscrupulous secondary ticketing practices. Artists have been empowered to take action.

“There’s a number of strategies they can pursue, but the no-cost recommendations in this guidance are open to all. As well as disrupting the practices of dedicated touts, our aim is that they will help promote a fairer and more transparent ticketing market.”

MMF chief executive Annabella Coldrick agrees, stating that “artists and their teams now have real power to take back control of their ticket prices by using simple T&Cs and offering consumer-friendly resale to fans,” urging “all managers to read this guide and use it.”

The full guide can be read online for free here.

 


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