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Exclusive: No Secondary Ticketing stream

Update (27/7): The conference has finished, but the archived stream can still be watched in its entirety above.

 


Today, at the Franco Parenti Theatre in Milan, Italian promoter Barley Arts hosts the inaugural No Secondary Ticketing conference.

No Secondary Ticketing, the “first international conference against secondary ticketing”, was convened in the aftermath of the infamous ‘Coldplay case’ which led to ticket touting being provisionally banned outright in Italy. It brings together international live music professionals to discuss the ethics and effects of secondary ticketing on the global live entertainment industry, and will see the launch of the Anti-Secondary Ticketing Federation – an association that will report illegal ticket resale to police and “inform consumers about the risks of the secondary market”.

A live stream in English will be live from 10am GMT. The full agenda is as follows:

Session 1 (10.00–12.30 GMT)

Session 2 (14.30–17.00 GMT)

 


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Tout-weary YMAS to cut out box office altogether

Perhaps inspired by Chance the Rapper, You Me at Six frontman Josh Franceschi has revealed he will sell the final allocation of 100 tickets for the band’s 26 November concert at Dingwalls (500-cap.) in Camden, London, himself.

After tickets for the show appeared on resale sites, leading Franceschi to call “people that only buy gig tickets to resell at three times the value” his “worst enemy”, the venue has agreed to release more tickets, which the singer will sell directly to fans at the Dr Martens store in Covent Garden:

 


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May promises action on Waterson report

Just over a month after Professor Michael Waterson said he was concerned government has yet to respond to his recommendations for the regulation of Britain’s secondary ticketing market, prime minister Theresa May has pledged to look “very carefully” at his findings “to see what can be done to address the issue” of unauthorised ticket touting in the UK.

Mrs May (pictured), speaking in parliament today during Prime Minister’s Questions, was responding to a question from Nigel Adams, the member of parliament for Selby and Ainsty.

Referring to an incident in which he’d fallen lost out to ticket bots, Adams said: “A few weeks ago, I thought I’d successfully bought four tickets online for one of my favourite bands, Green Day” – cue much laughing from the house – “only to be told the tickets were unavailable and the gig sold out. Within minutes I could buy the tickets on another site for twice the price.

“It turns out the ticket site had been the victim of a computerised attack by organised touts, who then resell the tickets at inflated prices.

“Will the prime minister ask her ministers to give close consideration to my amendment to the Digital Economy Bill, which would make the computerised targeting of tickets for resale an offence? Similar legislation exists elsewhere, and it would go a long way towards protecting consumers and genuine music fans.”

Adams’s amendment to the bill, for which the government hopes to achieve royal assent by spring 2017, would make it an offence to “use digital ticket purchasing software to purchase tickets for an event over and above the number permitted in the condition of sale” and “knowingly resell tickets using such software”.

“If this amendment is made law, it would help turn the the tide and ensure the ticketing market works in favour of fans rather than touts”

Adams has the support of the world’s largest secondary ticketing site, StubHub, which has itself come in for criticism from anti-touting groups (most recently the FanFair Alliance). A spokeswoman tells IQ: “We have consistently supported anti-bot legislation, and recently gave evidence to the US Senate Commerce Committee on this subject. This is one of the biggest issues that the ticketing industry faces.

“However, legislation alone cannot solve this. Professor Waterson’s review into the secondary ticket market concluded that event organisers and primary ticketing companies need to develop better technology in the fight against bots, which we fully support.”

FanFair also welcomes the amendment. The group’s campaign manager, Adam Webb, says: “Instinctively, I suspect most people would feel that hacking into a ticket sale with the sole intention of hoovering up huge volumes of inventory to then resell for profit would be illegal.

“Along with enforcement of existing consumer legislation – something that is urgently needed – if this amendment is made law, it would help turn the the tide and ensure that the ticketing market works in favour of fans, rather than touts and the under-regulated secondary platforms they operate from.”

Adams’s amendment will be debated in parliament on 27 October.

 


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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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Touts overestimate Oldchella demand

Ticket resellers appear to have overestimated massively demand for Goldenvoice’s upcoming Desert Trip ‘megafestival’, with prices for three-day passes now listed on secondary ticketing sites for far less than face value.

As of this morning, three-day passes for weekend one of the festival, which takes place at the Coachella site in Indio, California, this weekend, are available on StubHub for US$149 and via the festival’s official resale partner, Viagogo, for £98.17 (roughly $125). The face value of the tickets is $399.

On Ticketmaster’s TicketsNow, meanwhile, the cheapest three-day tickets are $194 – still less than half the original price.

Three-day passes for weekend one of the Desert Trip are available via festival’s official resale partner, Viagogo, for $125. Face value is $399

In May, shortly after tickets for Desert Trip – dubbed ‘Oldchella’ for its heritage-heavy line-up – went on sale, the same passes were listed for close to $1,500 on Viagogo.

Desert Trip, which will feature performances from The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who, is believed to have earned promoter Goldenvoice/AEG Live more than $150m. The original allocation of tickets sold out soon after going on sale, although Goldenvoice released additional inventory in mid-September.

 


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Maiden arena tour: Everyone welcome, except touts

Iron Maiden are, in partnership with promoter Live Nation and ticket agency Ticketmaster, introducing a series of measures designed to prevent the touting of tickets for their upcoming UK arena tour, the details of which will be announced tomorrow.

Maiden manager Rod Smallwood explains: “We do not want our fans being ripped off either by counterfeit tickets or through costly mark-ups on so called secondary ticketing websites. These problems now affect the UK more than any other country outside of the US.

“We believe the most successful way to prevent this is by implementing paperless ticketing. This proved highly successful in reducing piracy at our previous London shows in 2013 and on our North American tours since 2010. This is a simple procedure and goes a long way to minimising the resale of tickets and reducing fraud by requiring the original cardholder purchaser to be present at entry.

“We have been working with our UK promoter Live Nation and Ticketmaster to ensure that we can operate a paperless ticketing system, in full or in part, at all the UK venues we’ll play in 2017. We are also instigating a number of additional measures which we believe will directly help our fans to access tickets in the fairest, safest way and at the intended price.”

According to Smallwood, those measures are:

Smallwood also highlights that Iron Maiden are signatories to the FanFair Alliance declaration, which “unites music businesses, artists and fans against ticket touting and profiteering in the online secondary market”.

 


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Waterson: Be braver in pricing to stop touts

Michael Waterson, the Warwick economics professor behind May’s long-awaited review of the UK secondary ticketing market, has called for greater diversity in ticket pricing, arguing the sale of different seats in seated venues at too similar a price is encouraging touting.

Speaking yesterday at the Live & Ticketing Summit at the Grosvenor House hotel in London, Prof Waterson expressed concern the British government has not yet responded to the review, saying he hopes his recommendations – which called for government and the industry to ensure compliance with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) – won’t be “pushed into the long grass”. He added, however, that artists and promoters, who “tend to price similarly between seats”, also have a part to play, and must cater for “different degrees of fan” (for example, “people from the office” and girlfriends and boyfriends only mildly interested in the artist) who will have “different needs and different abilities to pay”.

Prof Waterson’s comments echo those made by Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino at the 28th International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in March. Speaking to ILMC managing director Greg Parmley – who also moderated the Political, Policy and International Developments panel on which Prof Waterson appeared – Rapino said artists need to be braver in how they price the house, stating that on one hand acts are still scared to charge high sums for front-row seats and less for seats at the back – something that’s “generally not a good brand position”, he said – and on the other upset that secondary ticketing companies are profiting from it.

Rapino and Prof Waterson’s views are also shared by artist manager Paul Crockford (Paul Simon, Mark Knopfler, Danny Thompson), who, speaking from the audience, said in his experience touts are “only interested in the front ten rows” in seated venues. He recommended cutting out the primary market altogether for such seats, selling them “straight to fan club”.

Paul Crockford said touts are “only interested in the front ten rows” and recommended cutting out the primary market altogether

Dissenting voices came from fellow panellist Dianne Hayter, a Labour peer, who called for government, police, promoters and venues to take a tougher line on touts who violate the CRA – venues, said Baroness Hayter, have “every right” to turn people with fraudulent tickets away, while from a legal standpoint “one person behind bars would be wonderful!” – and audience member Marcus Russell of Ingition Management (Noel Gallagher, Catfish and the Bottlemen), who said artists aren’t underpricing but “growing [their] brand” rather than chasing “short-term profit”.

Russell also channelled his inner Michael O’Leary by advocating that touts are called ticket “pirates” instead, akin to those who illegally download recorded music.

Joining Prof Waterson and Baroness Hayter on the panel was Neo Sala, founder of Doctor Music, the Spanish promoter currently taking legal action against Seatwave, Viagogo, Ticketbis and a number of other secondary ticketing sites. Sala stated that he “wish[es] we had [face-value ticketing exchange] Twickets in Spain” and closed with an emotive appeal to act on large-scale ticket resale, saying: “What kind of society do we want to live in? One where only rich people can to go shows?”

Recently launched anti-touting alliance FanFair, which organised the summit with Songkick and the Music Managers Forum, used the event to launch #ToutsOut, a 24-page guide advising on how to minimise touting of their artists’ tickets.

Speaking at the launch, FanFair Alliance founder Adam Tudhope said: “While we wait for government to act, it is essential that managers and music businesses develop ticketing strategies that aim to disrupt the touts and help fans. This guide marks a first step towards that goal.”

 


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Chance out-touts touts – by buying resold tickets

Chance the Rapper, scourge of ticket touts everywhere, has unveiled the latest weapon in his anti-scalping arsenal: he’s buying touted tickets himself and reselling them to fans.

The 23-year-old rapper – who last month revealed his 24 September Magnificent Coloring Day (MCD) festival in Chicago will break the attendance record at the US Cellular Field (40,615-cap.) after he made every seat in the stadium available in a bid to undermine “greedy, untalented” resellers –announced on Twitter last weekend that he’d bought “almost 2k” tickets from “fuckboy scalpers” and intends to sell them for “either $45 or $75 each”.

“I took the tickets back from the scalpers,” he wrote. “That shit gotta be historic.” [sic]

Magnificent Coloring Day, scheduled for 24 September and featuring performances by John Legend, Lil Wayne, Alicia Keys, Young Thug and Skrillex, is the first live music event to be held at the US Cellular Field (soon to be the Guaranteed Rate Field) since a 2003 show by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Chance the Rapper is an ambassador for the Chicago White Sox, who play at the stadium.

 


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Wantickets, EB in wrongful interference suit

Wantickets, one of North America’s largest primary ticket agencies for nightclub and dance music events, is suing former employees Barak Schurr and Diego Carlin for breach of contract, aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary duty and ‘tortious interference’ in relation to their recent move to Eventbrite.

Charles Michael and Michael A. Keough of Steptoe & Johnson, representing Wantickets, allege the rival online ticketing platform has “joined forces with two former employees of the plaintiff [Wantickets]” to exploit “the plaintiff’s confidential information for the purpose of redirecting business away from the plaintiff and to Eventbrite”.

The lawsuit, Wantickets RDM, Inc. v Barak Schurr et al, also seeks to prevent Schurr and Carlin – formerly president and CEO, respectively – from working with Eventbrite by holding them to their contracts with Wantickets, which tie both into a three-year period of employment ending 9 April 2017. (Both Schurr’s and Carlin’s employment agreements, which commenced 9 April 2014, were presented to the court on 3 August.)

A summons was also issued on 12 August by the New York County Supreme Court for a potential separate suit against Eventbrite (Wantickets RDM, Inc. v Eventbrite, Inc.) for “damages in an amount to be proved at trial”, although Wantickets has not yet filed a request for judicial intervention and the case has not been assigned a judge.

First reported by Dave Brooks’s The Real, much of Wantickets’ evidence for its claims against Schurr and Carlin comes in the form of a ten-page affidavit by Wantickets chief financial officer, Richard Blakeley, who reveals the company had conditionally agreed to sell to Eventbrite before the deal fell apart.

“Thanks to the disloyalty of our own salesperson, we face the risk of losing our largest client”

Blakeley writes: “The Eventbrite transaction never closed, however, for reasons that only Eventbrite can explain. It appeared to me that Eventbrite was never very serious about the transaction because […] its representatives made few efforts to contact me or to discuss the financials of Wantickets.

“Wantickets thereafter entered into a different sale transaction, and the new owners promptly terminated Mr Schurr and Mr Carlin for cause. Specifically, Wantickets had discovered that, even though the Eventbrite transaction never closed, Mr Schurr and Mr Carlin had been doing work for, and sending clients to, Eventbrite — all while being employed and paid by Wantickets.”

Blakeley provides as evidence over 20 emails, seen by IQ, between Schurr, Carlin and over 20 high-profile dance music festivals, promoters, venues and nightclubs in which Schurr – then still a Wantickets employee – appears to suggest they switch to Eventbrite’s platform for ticketing. In one typical example, Schurr offers to give a “full demo of Eventbrite’s capabilities”.

In his affidavit, Blakeley says Wantickets has “spent years building relationships and goodwill with clients that Mr Schurr and Mr Carlin can quickly exploit and destroy for Eventbrite’s benefit”. He cites as an example the company’s largest client, “a casino with several nightclubs and similar venues that sell tickets via Wantickets.

“This casino represents 26% of our annual revenue. We met with representatives from the casino on 28 July, and they told us that Mr Schurr had already proposed moving their business over to Eventbrite. They asked for a proposal from us by 5 August to compete with the economic terms proposed by Eventbrite.

“In other words, thanks to the disloyalty of our own salesperson, we face the risk of losing our largest client.”

“At no time during this process was I moving business from Wantickets to Eventbrite”

Schurr’s affidavit, however, tells a different story. He says the Chehabar family, then Wantickets’ owners, had lost their “appetite for the technology and ticketing business, and directed […] Carlin and myself to expedite an exit strategy”, which involved exploring the possibility of a sale to Eventbrite.

He says the two men were “at all times entirely transparent with the Chehebars, and kept them fully informed of the discussions with Eventbrite” and “at no time during this process was I moving business from Wantickets to Eventbrite”.

Schurr’s recollection of his and Carlin’s termination also differs from Blakeley’s: “It was my understanding that the new Wantickets owner, Mr [Joe] Schnair, had promised the Chehebar family that both Mr Carlin and myself would remain with Wantickets following the newest change in ownership [live-streaming company LiveXLive]. However, on 18 July 2016, we were told by Mr Blakeley that we were both terminated. Mr Blakeley apologised profusely to us and simply said that the new owner felt no need to continue with existing management.”

Quoting from Blakeley’s affidavit, he adds: “At no time during the interactions with Mr Blakeley did he state, imply or suggest that were were terminated for “cause”, that we were “sending clients to Eventbrite”, that our behaviour was “shocking” or that we had engaged in “flagrant misconduct”.

When reached for comment, an Eventbrite spokesperson told IQ: “As you know, it’s a competitive industry. Due to pending litigation, I’m unfortunately unable to share any specifics about Barak and Diego, but what I can assure you is that competing fairly is of critical importance and central to our ethics at Eventbrite and we continue to operate as such.”

The case continues.

 


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TeamRock debuts new ticketing operation

British magazine publisher and broadcaster TeamRock has launched its own ticketing platform in partnership with NEC Group’s The Ticket Factory (TTF).

The creation of TeamRock Tickets will, says TTF managing director Stuart Cain, give the company access to “arguably the biggest rock and metal customer base in the country”, making TTF the “go-to national agent for any event promoter looking to reach rock and metal fans”. TeamRock, which publishes Classic RockMetal Hammer and Prog magazines and operates TeamRock.com and TeamRock Radio, has a reach of some six million people worldwide.

The TeamRock Tickets store is hosted on the TTF website and currently offers tickets to, among other events, Bloodstock festival, Bryan Adams’ The Get Up tour and The Who’s (pictured) Back to The Who 51! tour.

“Our audience is built of loyal and passionate people who will soon be able to buy tickets under our brand, meaning we can provide an even better TeamRock experience”

The tie-up continues TTF’s strategy of partnering with well-known brands and builds on exiting arrangements with Barclaycard, Virgin Trains and Uber.

“Our audience is built of loyal and passionate people who will soon be able to buy tickets under our brand, meaning we can provide an even better TeamRock experience,” says TeamRock’s managing director, Tony Dowling. “The Ticket Factory’s technology and systems mean we’ll deliver a reliable service to our customers which will integrate seamlessly with the TeamRock brand.”

He adds: “Their proposition of standing ‘for the fans’, developing their product with a customer-first approach and strong stance against secondary ticketing, aligns closely with our ethos as a credible and authentic media owner.”

 


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