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Labour leader pledges to cap ticket resale in UK

Music industry figures in the UK have welcomed Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s pledge to introduce new legislation to cap ticket resale if the party wins the next general election.

Speaking today (14 March) at the Labour Creatives Conference in London, Sir Keir said: “We can’t let access to culture be at the mercy of ticket touts who drive up the prices. So a Labour government will cap resale prices so fans can see the acts that they love at a fair price.”

The move would restrict the resale of tickets at more than a small, set percentage above face value, and limit the number of tickets individual resellers can list.

In addition, it would make platforms accountable for the accuracy of information about tickets they list for sale and ensure the Competition and Markets Authority has the powers that it needs to take action against platforms and touts, to protect consumers.

Sir Keir’s speech came just a day after two people were convicted of fraudulently and dishonestly buying and reselling tickets for high-profile concerts by acts including Ed Sheeran as part of a £6.5 million scheme.

A 2022 investigation by ITV News, based on research carried out by campaign group FanFair Alliance (FFA), found that three people were responsible for over two-thirds of UK festival and outdoor event tickets listed by resale platform Viagogo.

“The impact of these policies should be monumentally positive, and help to reset the UK’s live music market for the benefit of artists and their audiences”

Legislation to outlaw ticket touting has been adopted in a number of other countries. However, the UK government last year rejected the recommendations of the British competition regulator to tighten laws around online ticket touting, prompting the FFA, which was established by the Music Managers Forum (MMF) in July 2016, to relaunch its campaigning and advocate for a total ban on ticket resale for profit.

FFA campaign manager Adam Webb describes the announcement as “positive news for music fans”, while managers of acts such as Ed Sheeran, Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Biffy Clyro also applauded the news.

“We have spent years fighting the scourge of online ticket touting and keeping prices fair for fans,” says Stuart Camp of Grumpy Old Management. “The impact of these policies should be monumentally positive, and help to reset the UK’s live music market for the benefit of artists and their audiences.”

“I fully welcome and applaud the commitment from Labour to introduce legislation to reform the broken resale marketplace which has blighted our industry for years,” says Wildlife Entertainment CEO Ian McAndrew. “As a founder member of the FanFair Alliance, we have campaigned for over a decade to encourage change while introducing measures to try and protect fans. The introduction of new legislation will better protect fans from the unscrupulous practices of online touts.”

“ATC has always strived to prevent our artists’ audiences from being exploited by online ticket touts,” adds ATC Management’s Brian Message. “This is often a challenging, time-consuming and difficult process, which is why we helped set up FanFair Alliance and why fresh legislation in this area is now so important. I’m hopeful today marks a real turning point.”

Nostromo Management’s Paul Craig says: “As a music manager, I am delighted with Labour’s initiative to dismantle the secondary ticket market’s grip on live events. This decisive action against online ticket touting should herald a new era where fans can access tickets fairly, and the essence of live music will thrive without the shadow of exploitation.”

“The enforcement of new legislation is the only way to fully clamp down on these rogue traders and the platforms they sell across”

A host of other prominent executives have also spoken out in support of the proposed legislation.

Jon Collins, CEO of trade body LIVE, says: “We welcome Labour’s commitment to clamp down on ticket touting to ensure more tickets end up in the hands of fans and not bots.”

Annabella Coldrick, MMF chief executive, says: “We welcome greatly that the Labour Party has announced this policy and look forward to seeing it come into legislation.”

Stuart Galbraith, CEO of Kilimanjaro Live and co-founder of LIVE, says: “Alongside other FanFair supporters, Kilimanjaro has called for these kinds of consumer-friendly policies for years. As a company, we work incredibly hard to stop our events being hijacked by online ticket touts, but the enforcement of new legislation is the only way to fully clamp down on these rogue traders and the platforms they sell across.”

Gareth Griffiths, director partnerships & sponsorship, Virgin Media O2, says: “O2 has been part of the FanFair Alliance since 2017 with the aim of protecting our customers from online touts during our exclusive Priority Tickets presales.

“We’ve seen the secondary market swamped with over-inflated, sky-high ticket resale prices for years, with no benefit for artists or their fans. Legislation would be a crucial step forward and through our continued work with FanFair Alliance we’re pleased to see this issue getting the attention and action it deserves.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Viagogo expressed caution, saying there is “significant evidence” to show that resale restrictions force fans “to unverified sites and social media, exposing them to a high risk of fraud without any protection”.

“We see this as an opportunity to underscore the effectiveness of today’s regulatory framework of the resale marketplace, which has been shaped by years of government review and oversight,” adds the spokesperson. “A safe, secure and transparent environment for UK consumers has been established.

“We protect consumer’s rights to buy and sell tickets in a secure, regulated marketplace. On Viagogo, payment is contingent on the buyer successfully entering the event, and every transaction is guaranteed, ensuring buyers either gain entry or receive a refund.

“We believe that a comprehensive conversation, focused on practical and effective regulation across the entire ticketing industry, is in the best interest of consumers.”

 


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