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Japan’s ACPC takes tough anti-tout stance

Japanese promoters’ association, the All Japan Concert and Live Entertainment Promoters Conference (ACPC), is calling for a “fairer secondary ticketing infrastructure”.

Following the adoption of Japan’s new anti-touting law, which effectively criminalises touting, the ACPC has issued a statement in which it urges an overhaul of the Japanese ticketing system.

“Ticket touting will not disappear tomorrow,” reads the ACPC statement, entitled ‘Ticket Integrity’. “From better education for consumers to strong enforcement, we will tackle the issue from all angles to help establish a fair ticketing system that truly puts fans first.”

“Ticket touting will not disappear tomorrow”

The association believes that secondary ticketing is among the industry’s “most pressing issues”, as the resale market gets set to reach almost US$15.2 billion by 2020.

ACPC chair Takeo Nakanishi commends the work that the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT) is doing “to encourage better legislation in Europe”, stating that the aim is to establish “a healthy ticketing system worldwide”.

In response, FEAT director Sam Shemtob says the anti-tout alliance “support[s] the ACPC in their work towards preventing ticket touting in Japan at this pivotal time, and are delighted by the impact new anti-touting legislation will no doubt have.

“We are confident that, as the live events industry and governments work together, a fairer ticket resale market can be achieved globally.”

 


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Spain: 69% of resold tickets are touted for profit

Nearly three quarters of tickets placed on secondary sites in Spain are there to be sold for profit, new data reveals, as momentum builds towards regulating the Spanish resale market.

Ticketea, a Madrid-based self-service ticketer, on Monday held a press conference to present the results of a survey of 12,000 people which discovered more than one in four (26%) Spaniards has resold an event ticket online. Of those 26%, 69% of respondents admitted to “speculating” on the ticket’s price, turning a profit by reselling it for more than face value.

The Ticketea survey comes as public sentiment in Spain shifts increasingly towards legislating to regulate the secondary market, inflamed by several high-profile controversies over ticket touting. Bruce Springsteen promoter Doctor Music is taking legal action – still ongoing – against several sites it accuses of “defrauding” consumers, while in February Berry Producciones and popular singer Alejandro Sanz sued Viagogo and established the Anti-Resale Alliance, an anti-touting association along the lines of FanFair in the UK.

While a majority (55%) of those surveyed are against an outright ban on resale, as is being introduced in Italy, 67% say secondary ticketing should be a “controlled practice, regulated by the law”. Of those 67%, more than three quarters say the price of resold tickets should be capped at no more than 10% above face value.

“They hurt the fans, and they take advantage of the talent of the artists and the risk assumed by promoters”

Speaking at the press conference – also attended by Doctor Music’s Neo Sala and Springsteen fan club president Joan Colet, who is hoping to gain 500,000 signatures on a petition to criminalise for-profit resale – Ticketea CEO Javier Andres said: “The current situation with ticket resale in Spain is not caused by fans selling a ticket because they can no longer attend a concert; the problem is speculators who buy large numbers of tickets and resell them for a premium of as much as 1,000%…

“They hurt the fans, and they take advantage of the talent of the artists and the risk assumed by promoters and organisers of events.”

Other insights from the survey include that around one in three people have bought a resold ticket, of which 30% paid above face value, and that 94% of consumers would like to see the introduction of a window of time in which tickets can be legally resold – cutting out brokers who harvest tickets in bulk and immediately list them on secondary sites.

Spanish culture minister Íñigo Méndez de Vigo pledged on 8 March to “regulate” the online ticket resale market, although he ruled out an outright ban, saying it would be like “putting doors on a field” (“ponerle puertas al campo“) – ie impossible. No concrete measures have yet been announced.

 


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#stopticketabuse: Spanish Boss fan petitions govt

The president of Bruce Springsteen’s Spanish fan club today launched a petition aimed forcing government to take action on for-profit secondary ticketing sites.

Joan Colet, president of the Stone Pony Club, is hoping to gather half a million signatures to present to Spain’s minister of justice, Rafael Catala Polo, minister of education, culture and sports, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, and state secretary for culture, Fernando Benzo Sainz, calling for a crackdown on the “robbery of real fans of live music” by ticket brokers.

Bruce Springsteen shows were at a centre of the secondary ticketing controversy that erupted in Spain last year, with promoter Doctor Music taking legal action – still ongoing – against several sites it accuses of “defrauding” consumers.

This was followed in February by a similar lawsuit by Berry Producciones against Viagogo and the establishment of the Anti-Resale Alliance by singer Alejandro Sanz.

“Live music fans need a government ban on the resale for profit of live music tickets”

Méndez de Vigo pledged on 8 March to “regulate” the online ticket resale market, although no concrete measures have yet been announced.

“Live music fans need a government ban on the resale for profit of live music tickets, so that we can return to buying tickets at their agreed price without risk of being ripped off,” comments Colet, who is using the hashtag #stopticketabuse to spread word about the petition.

“I have created this petition in order to gather the 500,000 signatures that will allow me to present our case to make Congress, the government and the judiciary take the necessary legislative and judicial measures so as to end the robbery of real fans of live music by a few unscrupulous people who profit at their expense.”

The petition went live on Change.org earlier today.

 


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Viagogo hit by multiple speculative selling suits

Viagogo just can’t catch a break.

The secretive, Geneva-headquartered secondary ticketing colossus is facing its second lawsuit of 2017 following a furore over the speculative selling of tickets for a postponed show by Joaquín Sabina in A Coruña (Corunna), Spain, next July.

In a joint statement, the promoters of Sabina’s Lo niego todo (I deny everything) tour, TheProject, Get In and Riff Producciones, and his management company, Berry Producciones, say they are “outraged” and intend to bring legal action action against Viagogo for the fraudulent listing of “tickets that do not exist”.

A spokesperson tells IQ the parties’ lawyers are currently in the process of filing the action.

The lawsuit mirrors one filed by SIAE in late January, in which the Italian collection society alleges Viagogo listed tickets for a Vasco Rossi show in Modena before they went on sale on the primary market.

It also found itself in hot water with European football’s governing body, Uefa, last year for allegedly facilitating the illegal resale of tickets for the Euro 2016 tournament in France. (This was, in fact, doubly illegal, as the resale of tickets without permission is prohibited under French law; Viagogo is believed to owe promoters’ association Prodiss hundreds of thousands of Euros in fines.)

“Viagogo is offering secondary tickets for this concert, confusing the public with false advertisements … of tickets that do not exist”

In contrast to chief rivals StubHub and Ticketmaster (Get Me In!, Seatwave), publicity-shy Viagogo is reluctant to field enquiries about its business practices, although it will be compelled to appear before British MPs later this year as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into “ticket abuse”. It is currently also being investigated by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority and tax agency HMRC.

The latest lawsuit by Berry Producciones et al. is backed by Spanish promoters’ association APM, the Citizens political party and popular singer Alejandro Sanz, who yesterday announced the launch of the Anti-Resale Alliance (Alianza Anti-reventa) to push for legislation to curb online touting in Spain.

The alianza calls for, “in an urgent and effective manner, the introduction of effective legislation for the digital age to prohibit the speculative sale of tickets and protect consumers, as already exists in countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy and France”.

Ticket touting in person is illegal in Spain, but there is no legislation specifically targeted at online resale. A proposal introduced by Citizens to the Congress of Deputies says this “legal vacuum” has led to “the most affordable tickets being sold out in a few hours and reappearing on the secondary market with the price increased considerably, preventing the most economically vulnerable from attending the event”.

 


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Investigations into “dirty” Italian resale market

Two consumer organisations have lodged official complaints with Italian authorities after tickets for Coldplay’s two dates in Milan next July sold out within minutes of going on sale.

Codacons, which says – despite the TicketOne website crashing “at the opening of pre-sales” – many resellers “managed to grab thousands of tickets”, which were listed instantly on secondary ticketing sites, has complained to the Milanese public prosecutor about what it describes as the “dirty and illicit” ticket resale market.

The organisation noted on Friday that on Viagogo the “lowest currently available price is €166.82” – it’s now up to €229 – which rises to the “absurd figure of €1,780.94” for the most expensive tickets, more than 16 times face value (although it’s important to note that just because tickets have been listed for 16 times their original price doesn’t mean they’ll sell for it – cf. Desert Trip).

Secondary sellers have also provoked the ire of Altroconsumo, which has asked the Italian Antitrust Authority, the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), to investigate TicketOne (according to the International Ticketing Yearbook, one of the two main primary ticketing companies in Italy) for alleged unfair business practices.

“We ask the Antitrust Authority to put in place measures to avoid thousands of tickets sold at extortionate prices on the secondary market”

In a statement, the consumer rights group says: “In tests, Altroconsumo verified that within a few minutes of [going on sale], the tickets were available at exorbitant prices on the secondary market, with prices tripled at best.

“The organisation asks the Antitrust Authority to evaluate the behaviour of TicketOne and to put in place tools and measures necessary to avoid thousands of tickets being purchased and then resold at extortionate prices on secondary platforms.”

In May Belgium became the first country to force ISPs to block access to ticket resale sites in response to widespread touting and fraud.

Coldplay will play the San Siro stadium (80,000-cap.) on 3 and 4 July 2017.

 


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