Promoters buy into Oz ticket marketplace Tixel
Australian ticket marketplace Tixel has raised A$1.5m ($1.2m) in a funding round that includes a number of leading concert businesses and music investors.
Promoters Unified Music Group and I Oh You, labels Rose Avenue and Future Classic and investment firms Alberts and Galileo Ventures are among those who participated in the round, with Alberts CEO David Albert also set to join Tixel’s board of directors.
The funding will be put towards growing the Tixel platform and expand its product suite for event organisers, the Melbourne-based company says.
Launched in 2018, Tixel offers a ‘fair-price’ marketplace (capped at 10% above face value) for fans to buy and sell tickets to events. Most of the company’s inventory is currently in Australia and New Zealand, though it expects growth in the UK and US as in-person events return outside Australasia.
“The entire music and live entertainment industry has suffered beyond measure this last year, and our team is incredibly grateful to have been able to weather the storm,” says Zac Leigh, co-founder and CEO of Tixel. “We’re feeling optimistic about the steep uptick in demand we’re seeing on Tixel from fans wanting to see their favourite musicians, artists, comedians and sports stars.
“Our investment partners … know that a safe and honest place for fans to buy and to resell tickets is a critical need”
“Our investment partners share this optimism and know that a safe and honest place for fans to buy and to resell tickets is a critical need both today, as our plan-making remains fluid, and into the future.”
“At the heart of every investment we make is the goal to back pioneers who share our vision for a better tomorrow,” comments Albert. “A core pillar of our impact thesis is contributing to a vibrant culture. Tixel is a great example of this and sits within our arts, music and entertainment theme. It helps to bring fairness to a market that can attract exorbitant pricing, and safety to transactions that have the potential to be fraudulent.
“Having an independent ethical ticket resale marketplace in Australia can mean more fans at shows, more bar and merch sales for our venues and, importantly, an all-round better experience for everyone involved.”
Other capped-price ticket resale services active in Australia include UK-based Twickets, which launched there in 2017, and Ticketek Marketplace, which allows Ticketek customers to resell unwanted tickets.
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Ireland approves for-profit ticket touting ban
The re-selling of tickets to large events such as festivals or concerts at above face value will finally be outlawed in the Republic of Ireland.
Under the act, a person found guilty of an offence will face a fine of up to €100,000 or up to two years’ imprisonment.
The anti-ticket touting legislation was approved yesterday (20 April) by the cabinet, years after the initial private members’ bill was proposed in 2017 by MPs Noel Rock and Stephen Donnelly.
The 2017 bill won the backing of the previous Irish government in 2018 and was then brought forward in October 2020 by the deputy prime minister, Leo Varadkar but only now will it be published.
The bill will be introduced to Dáil Éireann, the lower house, at the earliest opportunity, and enacted as early as possible thereafter.
Once the legislation is passed, operators of venues with a capacity of at least 1,000 will be able to apply to the department of enterprise, trade and employment for ‘designation’ which will prohibit the for-profit reselling of tickets for that venue.
Event organisers or venue operators may also apply for the designation of events that take place on an annual or periodic basis in the same venue, such as a festival.
“This bill will stop opportunists enriching themselves at the expense of fans, artists and promoters”
According to the legislation, when a ticket is sold for an event that has been designated or which is to take place in a designated venue, the original seller must be given clear information (with the ticket and when advertising) that tickets cannot be resold above face value for the event in question.
Resellers of these tickets must also provide information on the original sale price of the ticket and the location of the seat or standing area to which the ticket entitles the holder to gain admission, according to the legislation.
The new bill does not address airline-style ‘dynamic pricing’ or ticket bundles, the department of trade confirmed to Hot Press.
“This bill will stop opportunists with no interest or involvement in music or sport enriching themselves at the expense of sports and music fans, sporting bodies, artists and promoters,” says minister of state at the department of enterprise, trade and employment, Robert Troy.
“And importantly, fans will have all the information they need to ensure they are not being ripped off. I recognise that sometimes there are justified reasons for reselling tickets above face value, for example, when charities are fund-raising, so allowances have been made in such instances.”
Deputy prime minister, Leo Varadkar, says: “We’re all looking forward to the day we can go to gigs, festivals and matches again. This law gives me hope. We’re planning for a time when live events are possible again. Numbers will likely be restricted to begin with so it’s even more important that people aren’t ripped off and that tickets go to real fans.”
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Ethical ticket resales up 50% at See Tickets
See Tickets has sold 50,000 tickets through its ticket resale platform Fan-to-Fan in 2019 so far, 25,000 more than in the same period of last year.
Launched in 2017, Fan-to-Fan was the UK’s first integrated face-value ticket resale platform. The service allows customers to resell unwanted tickets at the price they paid for them or less.
“We were the first ticket agency to bring a truly integrated ethical resale site to the market and figures show the service is more in demand than ever,” comments See Tickets CEO Rob Wilmshurst.
“Buyers and sellers want a fair resale platform they can trust and because we only list tickets originally purchased on our site, we can vouch for everything being resold in terms of its validity.”
“Buyers and sellers want a fair resale platform they can trust and because we only list tickets originally purchased on our site, we can vouch for everything being resold in terms of its validity”
See Tickets launched a secure, non-transferable digital ticketing system earlier this year, issuing tickets with dynamically refreshing barcodes that are uniquely tied to the fan’s user account, mobile device and See Tickets app. The feature has been used on tours for artists including Declan McKenna and Bombay Bicycle Club.
See Tickets also created a paperless ticket for Ed Sheeran’s summer shows in conjunction with promoters DHP and Kilimanjaro.
Adam Webb, campaign manager for anti-tout group FanFair Alliance says: “See Tickets have been vocal about their opposition to exploitative secondary ticketing for many years and FanFair has welcomed the steps they have taken to eliminate touting and provide a better customer experience. It’s really encouraging to see ticket buyers embrace Fan-to-Fan in such numbers.”
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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.
AGCM ordered to return €1m Viagogo fine
The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) must return a €1 million fine to Viagogo, after the Council of State rejected claims made against the secondary ticketing site in 2017.
The watchdog levied fines against Viagogo and three other resale sites in April 2017 for failure to supply transparent information to customers. A year later, the regulator raised the fine against Viagogo to €1 million for lack of compliance.
However, following an appeal by Viagogo, the council ruled that the site is a “passive hosting provider”, and therefore not responsible for ensuring sellers provide all the ticket information required by law.
The council also sided with Viagogo over its self-denomination as an ‘official site’, which many deem misleading to fans who believe they are buying from a legitimate, artist-approved seller.
Allegations related to so-called ‘drip pricing’ – advertising a cheaper price to attract customers before disclosing extra fees – and false claims of scarcity of tickets were similarly rejected.
As a result of its rulings, the court also annulled all fines for non-compliance.
“We have always sought an open dialogue with the AGCM to ensure we are compliant with Italian consumer law”
Viagogo managing director Cris Miller “welcomes” the “landmark judgement from Italy’s highest administrative court.”
“We have always sought an open dialogue with the AGCM to ensure we are compliant with Italian consumer law,” states Miller.
“We look forward to continuing discussions about the positive role viagogo plays in Italy and around the world through our platform.”
The AGCM is no stranger to refunding fines. In 2018, the regulator was ordered to return €1m to CTS Eventim-owned TicketOne, after a court rejected allegations that the ticketing site had made insufficient attempts to prevent its tickets ending up on the secondary market.
Last week, TicketOne chief executive Stefano Lionetti criticised the national communications regulator, AGCOM, for its “failure” to tackle secondary ticketing sites in the country.
Ticketline launches fan-first resale platform Fanticks
UK-based independent ticketing partner Ticketline has announced the launch of Fanticks, a fan-to-fan resale marketplace that enables fans to sell unwanted or spare tickets.
All tickets listed on Fanticks are inspected and verified prior to publication to verify ticket validity and ensure fair promotion. Tickets are price-capped up to 10% above face value.
Both e-tickets and physical tickets can be listed on the platform.Fanticks also provides a secure communication platform for both the buyer and seller to discuss the exchange of tickets using an in-built messaging system.
Tickets sold and distributed by Ticketline can be listed on Fanticks, as well as tickets from all other ticket agents that are qualified on Ticketline’s event database.
“We built Fanticks to provide our customers with an easy, fair and ethical resale platform for both buyers and sellers”
Fanticks additionally caters for buyers looking for tickets for sold out shows. Buyers can set up ticket alerts for specific events and venues when tickets become available.
“We are delighted that we have enhanced our product offerings for our customers with Fanticks,” says Ticketline head of marketing James Lee.
“We built Fanticks to provide our customers with an easy, fair and ethical resale platform for both buyers and sellers to sell unwanted tickets at the face value or less and make sold out events accessible and affordable to fans, and Fanticks delivers on this promise.”
Ticketline’s portfolio of products includes Ticketlight, a self-service ticketing system with reporting, real-time scanning and seating map editor, and the Ticket Network, a customisable ticket sales reward programme for promoters to encourage fans to sell tickets on their behalf.
Ticketcorner launches Fansale resale platform
Swiss ticketing platform Ticketcorner has launched its face-value Fansale platform, offering fans a separate, secure ticket resale platform.
CTS Eventim-owned Ticketcorner first announced the launch of its Fansale platform in December, having launched in the UK a year before. The ticketing company states that all tickets on the site, which goes live today, are legitimate, easy to handle and sold at a fair price.
“I’m glad that we have Fansale now to offer a reputable platform for the fair and secure resale of tickets”, says Andreas Angehrn, chief executive of Ticketcorner. “If you are unable to attend a show or if you’re looking for a ticket to a sold out event, you can buy or sell tickets via fansale.ch.”
Every ticket offered on Fansale is first subject to a verification process. Once passed, it receives a ‘Ticketcheck’, Ticketcorner’s official seal of approval.
Currently, customers cannot buy or sell tickets through the platform from providers other than Ticketcorner, due to the complexities of verifying tickets from different systems. However, Ticketcorner states it does not rule out future collaborations with other ticketing providers.
“Fansale is not designed to pursue a commercial purpose”
The pricing of tickets on Fansale corresponds to the original ticket price, with an additional fee to cover expenses. “Fansale is not designed to pursue a commercial purpose,” comments Angehrn.
To prevent transactions for profit at Fansale, resales are limited to a certain number of tickets per person. Ticketcorner customers do not need a separate login to access Fansale.
Fansale is the latest effort by Ticketcorner to support fair ticketing. The Swiss ticketer offers advice on its website on how customers can avoid ticket fraud, a growing problem in the live events market.
The company also participates in the information campaign “Ticket Check”, ran by the Romande Consumer Federation (Frc), French-speaking Switzerland’s consumer protection organisation.
According to IQ’s International Ticketing Yearbook 2018, CTS Eventim still dominates the Swiss market with Ticketcorner, although headway has been made rival ticketer Starticket in recent years. Eventim attempted to acquire Starticket last year in a move later refused by the Swiss Federal Competition Commission.
“Landmark” EU legislation against ticket bots
Members of European Parliament (MEPs) have voted to outlaw the use of automated ticket-buying software or ticket bots, directly addressing the issue of ticket resale for the first time.
The new legislation also requires resellers to declare whether they are professional traders, strengthens existing regulations, and sets the minimum standard by which EU members must abide.
Ticket bots are at the forefront of discussions surrounding secondary ticketing, enabling touts to bulk buy concert tickets and resell at inflated prices. A recent study revealed that bots generate nearly 40% of all ticketing traffic, impacting both primary and secondary ticketing sites.
This is the first time that the European Parliament has set a common standard for ticket resale in cultural and sports events.
The legislation will form part of Annex 1 (#23a) of a revised Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, which lists commercial practices which are unfair in all circumstances and will read: “reselling event tickets to consumers if the trader acquired them by using automated means to circumvent any imposed limit on the number of tickets that a person can buy or any other rules applicable to the purchase of tickets.”
“Everyone apart from touts loses out from bot bulk-buying of tickets”
Conservative MEP Daniel Dalton led the move to implement the legislation as part of the New Deal for Consumers initiative, which aims to strengthen consumer rights. It is hoped that the ruling will allow for more stringent provisions at national level.
“Everyone apart from touts loses out from bot bulk-buying of tickets,” says Dalton. “Real fans are either unable to see their favourite team or artist or are forced to pay many times the face value price, whilst event organisers are seeing their purchasing limits flagrantly violated.
“This first ban at a European level is an important first step, with the possibility to go further in future depending on how the ban works in practice.”
“We welcome the move to curb the use of bots in this first Europe-wide anti-touting law,” states Katie O’Leary of the Face-Value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT), an anti-ticket touting organisation dedicated to tackling resale from a continent-wide approach.
“As well as requiring professional sellers to identify themselves, it also enables member states to go further and potentially regulate the resale price of tickets.
“This [harmonised] approach is critical as secondary ticketing companies tend to exploit regulatory gaps between countries”
“Most importantly, this represents the first step in harmonising regulation across Europe. This approach is critical as secondary ticketing companies tend to exploit regulatory gaps between countries. There is still much to be done and we will be campaigning for tougher legislation in the next parliamentary term,” adds O’Leary.
Dr Johannes Ulbricht, a lawyer for German Music Promoters Association BDKV says his company supports the FEAT initiative, calling it “a step in the right direction”. FEAT is also supported by FanFair Alliance, Prodiss and the European Music Managers’ Alliance.
The European Council will formally adopt the legislation in June. Member states will then have a maximum of approximately two years to transpose the amendments into national law. The exact deadline will be set out in the directive once finalised.
In the UK, the ruling will be applicable throughout the two-year Brexit transition period, forming part of the country’s incumbent laws on consumer rights. The new legislation will aid national bodies such as the Competition and Markets Authority and the Advertising Standards Authority.
The UK introduced its own law criminalising ticket bots in 2017. The EU ruling follows the introduction of targeted bot legislation by other governments, including those in the United States, Ontario, British Columbia, South Australia and New South Wales.
British Columbia introduces ticket sales act
The Legislative Assembly of of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada’s westernmost province, has introduced a new Ticket Sales Act to establish a regulatory framework for the sale and resale of tickets to live events.
The ticketing bill prohibits the use of bots or automated ticket-buying software and introduces transparency requirements for both primary and secondary ticket sellers, including the declaration of the total price and face value of any ticket, as well as any additional fees or service charges.
Under the act, secondary ticket sellers must issue a refund guarantee to purchasers, as well as disclosing their identity, location and contact information.
The new legislation also places a ban on speculative tickets and on the sale of tickets that sellers do not have in their possession or control.
“These changes are going to make our live event industry in B.C. even better for the people who matter most — the fans,” says Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general.
“The new laws will make the ticket buying process more transparent and equitable for consumers, so that everyone in our province will have a fair chance of getting tickets for their favourite acts and events,” comments Farnworth.
“The new laws will make the ticket buying process more transparent and equitable for consumers”
The Ticket Sales Act comes following a government consultation into British Columbian perspectives on the current ticketing process. The subsequent report reveals the main concerns among the public to be the difficulty of obtaining tickets on the primary market and the “unfair” pricing of tickets on secondary platforms.
The Canadian Live Music Association has congratulated the British Columbia government on the act. “This legislation is good for fans and it’s good for the growth and momentum of BC’s incredible concert sector which creates almost 7,000 jobs and contributes $815 million to BC’s economy,” says Erin Benjamin, president and chief executive of Canada’s national industry association.
Benjamin commends Farnsworth and his team for “their commitment to working with the live music industry” in developing the bill.
According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2018, StubHub is the resale market leader in Canada. Ticketmaster is also involved in the resale business, through its Verified programme.
Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, introduced its own Ticket Sales Act on 1 July 2018, which banned bots and overhauled other areas of ticket selling. Ontario’s act also placed a resale price cap of 50% above face value on tickets which, along with other elements, proved controversial within the industry.
Alberta introduced its own ticket-selling legislation in August, with Manitoba following suit in December.
Vibe Tickets launches new Vibe Verified service
UK-based transparent resale platform Vibe Tickets has launched Vibe Verified, giving buyers the opportunity to distinguish between trusted, verified Vibe sellers and ordinary fan sellers.
Trusted sellers can now sign up to Vibe Verified and list their inventory on Vibe Tickets, using a transparent user profile and adhering to Vibe’s code of conduct. Such sellers will display a ‘Vibe Verified’ badge on their profile, so buyers are aware if they are buying from a fellow fan or a vetted, verified seller.
The company hopes the addition of Vibe Verified and the introduction of vetted sellers to the platform will ensure that supply for tickets always matches demand. The ticketing platform also aims to bring supply to one place, allowing customers to determine the true market value of tickets.
“What’s important to us is to increase supply whilst staying true to our Vibe promise,” says Luke Massie, chief executive and founder of Vibe Tickets. “By bringing ticket supply to one place in an open and transparent way, we’re giving consumers a choice.
“What’s important to us is to increase supply whilst staying true to our Vibe promise”
“We’ve created a dynamic marketplace, a true race to the bottom,” adds Massie. “If someone – fan-seller or Vibe Verified seller – wants to list their tickets for more than face value, they can. It doesn’t mean they will sell them and there will probably be another listing which naturally brings the average price down.”
The Vibe chief executive also refers to the improvement in regulation of ticket resale over the past few years, with the shuttering of Ticketmaster’s secondary ticketing sites Get Me In! and Seat Wave in August and the launching of price-capped ticket resale platforms by Ticketmaster, See Tickets, Eventim UK and AXS last year.
“Vibe Tickets is proud to support these changes and is looking forward to becoming more actively involved in discussions going forward – we believe we have a lot of real insight to offer,” says Massie.
In order for the service to remain absolutely free for fans, all Vibe Verified sellers will be charged a percentage of the cost of all sales they make on the site.