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Paradiso cancels 2,400 tickets on secondary market

Amsterdam’s Paradiso cancelled more than 2,400 tickets being sold on resale platforms at inflated prices for a large number of upcoming shows.

The Dutch club has resold the tickets at their original prices via a waiting list system introduced in 2022.

Paradiso’s head of ticketing Erik Luyten says the venue was compelled to act after seeing tickets for gigs by acts such as Air and PinkPantheress being advertised online at several times’ face value.

“At some popular concerts, 10 to 15% of the tickets are bought up and resold at a higher price,” Luyten tells Parool. “Black marketers operate in a very sophisticated manner. As a result, they often remain under the radar for a long time. Through extensive research, we were able to understand various practices of these individuals or groups, identify the suspicious orders and void their purchases.

“They use many different names and email addresses, but we were able to match them to specific people or parties by searching our data by bank account number or IP address. We hope to hit a number of major players on the secondary market with this action.”

“It is very bad that people who would like to go to a concert cannot now come for a normal price”

People whose tickets have been invalidated will not be refunded by Paradiso and have been advised to contact the relevant resale site.

No anti-touting legislation currently exists in the Netherlands, although a motion for legal measures was adopted by the House of Representatives in 2022.

Luyten adds that Paradiso is keen to keep concerts accessible to a large audience by keeping ticket prices as low as possible.

“These people and groups take advantage of this,” he says. “It is very bad that people who would like to go to a concert cannot now come for a normal price.”

The 1,500-cap venue has upcoming concerts with the likes of Lucinda Williams, Tricky, Róisín Murphy, Griff, Pixies, Echo & the Bunnymen, Thundercat and Declan McKenna.

 


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FEAT hopes DSA will clamp down on ticket touts

The Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT) is looking to the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) to clamp down on illegal ticket resale after once again taking aim at Google’s influence on the secondary ticketing market.

The DSA introduced new measures from August requiring large search engines to clamp down on illegal product listing, including working with risk-affected parties to carry out assessments of ‘systemic risks’ relating to illegal content.

FEAT, which is dedicated to the promotion of face-value ticket resale across the continent, says it is estimated that Google is responsible for driving two-thirds of traffic to Viagogo. Viagogo was banned from advertising on Google globally in July 2019 after the latter came under fire from lawmakers for allegedly accepting advertising money from sites listing tickets fraudulently. The ban was quietly lifted four months later.

At FEAT’s AGM in Barcelona last week, members agreed that by failing to properly consider the continued prevalence of illegal ticket resale advertising, large search engines may already be in breach of their new responsibilities. FEAT is also looking to adjust ticket T&Cs to enable event organisers to de-list resale ticket listings more aggressively via the DSA’s notice and action mechanisms once the regulation comes into force more widely.

“With new Europe-wide regulations coming into effect for predatory resale platforms in the New Year, we united at a critical moment”

“With new Europe-wide regulations coming into effect for predatory resale platforms in the New Year, we united at a critical moment,” says FEAT founding director and Doctor Music founder and CEO Neo Sala.

The organisation is also planning the next phase of its Make Tickets Fair! campaign,which  was launched earlier this year by a coalition of live industry organisations and professionals from across Europe launched with the intention of helping music fans avoid being ripped off on the secondary ticketing market.

“During the meeting we agreed exciting plans to use the DSA to get illegal ticket resale listings taken down, as well as ramp up the ‘Make Tickets Fair!’ campaign to help educate music fans on safe ticketing,” adds Sala.

Launched in 2019, FEAT has welcomed new member Kiki Ressler, MD of German booking and touring company KKT, which represents 64 artists including Die Toten Hosen and Die Ärzte.

 


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Ticket resellers to be taxed in the US

People who make more than $600 (€566) a year from reselling tickets in the US are to be taxed under new regulations drawn up by the Inland Revenue Service (IRS).

Previously, sellers only had to report earnings if they made more than $20,000 and at least 200 transactions a year.

The Wall Street Journal reports that under the law companies such as Ticketmaster and StubHub will now have to report if customers sold more than $600 in resale tickets annually. The requirement forms part of the American Rescue Plan Act, which came into effect at the start of the current financial year.

“Payment apps and online marketplaces are required to file a Form 1099-K if the gross payments to you for goods and services are over $600,” says the IRS in a statement.

“The $600 reporting threshold started with tax year 2023. There are no changes to what counts as income or how tax is calculated.”

The move could go some way to cracking down on ticket scalping, with the last 12 months having seen a flurry of demands for tougher regulation of the ticketing market.

Some of the UK’s leading music companies recently joined a fresh campaign against industrial-scale online ticket touting

Fix the Tix, a coalition of 30 US-based organisations across live entertainment, unveiled its plan for ticketing reform back in June, while the extraordinary worldwide demand for Taylor Swift tickets led to calls for stiffer punishments for touting in Brazil.

After local media reported that tickets were being offered for sale in-person and online at up to 10x face value,  congresswoman Simone Marquetto proposed the “Taylor Swift Act”, which would increase the maximum sentence for ticket touting from two to four years in prison, and fines of up to 100x the original price of the tickets.

Elsewhere, in Australia, the New South Wales and Victorian governments moved to crack down on touting after resale prices in excess of $3,000 were listed for the Eras Tour, with the latter designating the concerts as “major events,” triggering anti-scalping provisions in state legislation.

And some of the UK’s leading music companies recently joined a fresh campaign against industrial-scale online ticket touting. Led by FanFair Alliance, the campaign is urging MPs to introduce new legislation to “protect British consumers from unscrupulous and exploitative traders who operate on controversial websites such as Viagogo and StubHub”.

WME, CAA, ATC, 13 Artists, Kilimanjaro, FKP Scorpio and One Fiinix are among the parties to back FanFair Alliance’s three pro-consumer measures regarding legislative action, tech action and industry action.

 


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UK gov urged to outlaw resale of tickets for profit

Some of the UK’s leading music companies have joined a fresh campaign against industrial-scale online ticket touting.

Led by FanFair Alliance, the campaign is urging MPs to introduce new legislation to “protect British consumers from unscrupulous and exploitative traders who operate on controversial websites such as Viagogo and StubHub”.

WME, CAA, ATC, 13 Artists, Kilimanjaro, FKP Scorpio and One Fiinix are among the parties to back FanFair Alliance’s three pro-consumer measures regarding legislative action, tech action and industry action.

The first proposed measure is new laws making it illegal to resell a ticket for profit, bringing the UK into line with countries such as Ireland, France, Australia and Italy, which have introduced legislation to ban or restrict resale for more than face value.

The second calls for platforms like Google and YouTube to stop promoting touts, and help direct consumers towards legitimate sources of tickets. And the final point rallies the live music business to make capped consumer-friendly ticket resale visible and viable.

“We’ve seen many other countries adopt strict anti-touting legislation. It is high time that the UK caught up”

The fresh campaign comes a few months after the Department of Business & Trade rejected a series of recommendations aimed at strengthening existing laws around ticket resale in order to protect consumers, published by the Competition & Markets Authority.

But on Monday (11 September), at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse in the House of Commons, the music industry seized on the opportunity presented by the next election to call for a “reset” in how politicians, regulators and the music business look to tackle ongoing problems in this market.

“Over the course of the next year there will be a general election in the UK, the outcome of which will define the music industry for the rest of the decade,” said Tom Kiehl, the interim chief executive of UK Music, an industry body.

“It is vital as we approach this pivotal moment that policymakers secure a fair deal for music lovers by ending rip-off secondary ticketing practices.”

Adam Webb, campaign manager, FanFair Alliance adds: “When the FanFair campaign was established in 2016, online ticket touting in the UK was out of control. There was little enforcement of consumer law, and fans were systematically misled and ripped off by the dominant secondary ticketing platforms. Despite substantial progress to improve this situation it is now clear we need a reset. We need fresh legislation and fresh thinking – ending once and for all the parasitical practices of online ticket touts, while doing more to proactively promote capped consumer-friendly ticket resale. The UK is rightly proud of its live music culture, and this is an area we should and could be leading the world.”

Sharon Hodgson MP, chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, comments: “Since I introduced a Private Members Bill in 2010 that attempted to outlaw the resale of tickets for profit, we’ve seen many other countries adopt strict anti-touting legislation. It is high time that the UK caught up. Every week we continue to see thousands of ticket buyers fall foul of predatory and unlawful practices in the secondary market. I wholeheartedly support FanFair Alliance’s three common sense goals which would provide audiences with far greater protections, while helping to boost one of our country’s most important cultural industries.”

Companies and individuals backing FanFair Alliance’s three pro-consumer measures include:
13 Artists
John Rostron, Association of Independent Festivals
Alex Bruford, ATC Live
Brian Message, ATC Management
CAA Music
Paul Crockford, Crockford Management
Stephen Taverner, East City Management
Adam Tudhope, Everybody’s Management
David Martin, CEO, Featured Artists Coalition
Daniel Ealam, FKP Scorpio
Stuart Camp, Grumpy Old Management
Harvey Goldsmith
Alec Mckinlay & Marcus Russell, Ignition Management
Sybil Bell, Independent Venue Week
Richard Jones, Key Music Management
Stuart Galbraith, Kilimanjaro Live
Harry Magee, Modest! Management
Mark Bent & Natasha Gregory, Mother Artists
Annabella Coldrick, Chief Executive, Music Managers Forum
Music Venue Trust
Paul Craig, Nostromo Management
Jon Ollier, One Fiinix
Phantom Music Management
Angus Baskerville & Hayley Morrison, Pure Represents
Tom Kiehl, Interim CEO, UK Music
Gareth Griffiths, Director Partnerships and Sponsorship at Virgin Media O2
Ian McAndrew, Wildlife Entertainment

 


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‘Taylor Swift Act’ tabled to fight touts in Brazil

The extraordinary worldwide demand for Taylor Swift tickets has led to calls for stiffer punishments for touting in Brazil.

Some fans were allegedly threatened with violence by touts last week while waiting in line to buy tickets in São Paulo for the Brazilian dates of the singer’s Eras Tour.

Police removed 30 suspected scalpers from the queue and made at least 10 arrests. Nevertheless, Brazilian media reports tickets are being offered for sale in-person and online at up to 10x face value.

Congresswoman Simone Marquetto’s “Taylor Swift Act” would increase the maximum sentence for ticket touting from two to four years in prison, and fines of up to 100x the original price of the tickets, which in Swift’s case range from 190 to 1,050 reals (€36 to €201).

“Fans claim that dealers purchased a large number of tickets, making it impossible for other consumers,” says Marquetto, as per The Brazilian Report. “These ticket touts’ activity deprives the less fortunate, preventing them from attending the desired show and constitutes a true crime against the public economy.”

Swift will play three nights in Rio de Janeiro at Estádio Olímpico Nilton Santos from 17-19 November and a further three shows at São Paulo’s Allianz Parque from 24-26 November, promoted by Tickets for Fun. A sixth date was added after the five initial concerts sold out in 40 minutes, as more than two million people attempted to buy tickets online.

“Event promoters must take responsibility for the sale of their tickets and act to curb the actions of scalpers”

Billboard reports that Marquetto’s bill also opens up the possibility of fining promoters and sponsors that allow touting to occur.

“This crime is sometimes carried out with the consent of the promoter and even in conjunction with scalpers,” adds Marquetto’s bill. “Event promoters must take responsibility for the sale of their tickets and act to curb the actions of scalpers.”

Millions of people also recently attempted to buy tickets for the singer’s first concerts in Argentina. Swift also revealed the dates for the 2024 European leg of the Eras Tour last week. In addition, she has added three more shows at Singapore’s National Stadium from 7-9 March, bringing her total number of gigs in the country to six – matching Coldplay’s record-setting haul in the country.

The fallout from last year’s original tour presale in the United States prompted a Senate antitrust hearing and opened the floodgates for calls for ticketing reform. Last month, two Massachusetts lawmakers proposed new ticketing rules dubbed the “Taylor Swift Bill”, and New Jersey representatives Bill Pascrell and Frank Pallone introduced their updated BOSS and SWIFT Act.

Last week meanwhile, it was announced by US president Joe Biden that Live Nation and others have pledged to adopt all-in ticket pricing, which will enable fans to see the full cost of their transactions upfront.

 


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Bruno Mars gig organisers cancel scalped tickets

Promoters of Bruno Mars’ upcoming concerts in South Korea have cancelled dozens of tickets being touted online at almost six times’ face value.

The American singer and songwriter is slated to perform at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium in Seoul on 17-18 June under the banner, Hyundai Card Super Concert 27 Bruno Mars – his first gigs in Korea since 2014.

Tickets went on general sale last month, priced from 77,000 won (€53) to 250,000 won (€172). However, Korea JoongAng Daily reports that despite organiser Live Nation Asia banning the trading of tickets on unauthorised sites, several have changed hands on resale platforms for double their original price, while two ground floor tickets were being offered at 300,000 won (€2,058).

Live Nation has confirmed it intervened and cancelled the initial transactions after discovering more than 60 tickets that were dealt illegally on the secondary market. It says it will continue to check for unauthorised sales.

The shows form part of the 37-year-old’s first tour of Asia in five years

Mars will also play the Philippine Arena in Manila, Philipines, from 24-25 June. The shows form part of the 37-year-old’s first tour of Asia in five years.

His 24K Magic Tour, which garnered US$367.7 million worldwide and is the 17th highest-grossing tour of all-time, stopped off in Japan, Taiwan, China, Macau, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong from April-May 2018.

Mars will also headline two nights at Brazil’s new 105,000-cap festival The Town in São Paulo, with tickets for the 3&10 September dates selling out in just 72 minutes.

 


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The Cure cancels 7,000 scalped tickets for US tour

The Cure has cancelled 7,000 concert tickets listed on secondary resale websites, according to frontman Robert Smith.

In addition, the band has announced a plan to resell scalped tickets for their upcoming North American trek and donate the original fees to the charity Amnesty International.

When the Lost World tour was first announced, the Cure opted out of Ticketmaster’s platinum and dynamic pricing ticket options. The band also restricted ticket transfers in markets where it was legally allowed to do so in places like New York, Illinois, and Colorado.

“Any/all tickets obtained in this way will be cancelled and original fees paid on those tickets will not be refunded”

Following that move, Smith last Friday (31 March) announced: “Approx 7k tickets across approx 2200 orders have been cancelled. These are tickets acquired with fake accounts/ listed on secondary resale sites.”

The night prior, Smith said ticket buyers should not try to find a loophole with ticket transfer rules, and warned, “offering to sell/send account login details to get around [Ticketmaster] transfer limitations… any/all tickets obtained in this way will be cancelled, and original fees paid on those tickets will not be refunded.”

Pricing around the The Cure’s US tour has proved controversial in recent weeks, with the singer having criticised Ticketmaster for “unduly high” fees charged in the Verified Fan onsale for the dates, some of which were more than the face value of the ticket. However, Ticketmaster later agreed to refund fans some of the fees (between $5 and $10), as a “gesture of goodwill”.

 


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Viagogo fined €12m in Italy for resale breach

Italy’s Communications Regulatory Authority AGCOM has fined Viagogo more than €12 million for breaking the country’s laws on secondary ticketing.

Preliminary evidence found that the secondary ticketing platform had listed tickets for 68 events held in 2022 at prices 10 times above their face value.

Events included concerts for artists such as Måneskin, Blanco, Renato Zero and Cirque du Soleil.

An amendment to Italian legislation, introduced to Italy’s 2017 budget law to criminalise ticket touting, prevents tickets being sold for commercial purposes or for above face value.

Since 2020, Switzerland-headquartered Viagogo has been sanctioned three other times in Italy for breaking the law against ticket touting.

“The time has come for the EU’s own Consumer Protection Cooperation Network to take action”

Commenting on the ruling against Viagogo, Barley Arts promoter and prominent anti-secondary ticketing campaigner, Claudio Trotta, says, “Anyone in the entertainment business should be more than happy. However, I hope this [fine] will be paid and not cancelled for a second time by other institutions, as already happened in previous cases of fines in Italy.

“Secondary ticketing is a crime, thanks to the law obliging the use of nominal tickets. If controlled seriously by security and ushers, it’s is a win-win situation for all.”

Telling IQ he remains concerned about what impact dynamic pricing might have if it is introduced in the Italian market, Trotta adds, “The future is unwritten but it depends on us all – artists, promoters, managers, agents and the audience. I am still, and always, a true believer in the strength of human beings – if we are able to keep our humanity, of course. Let’s see…”

Sam Shemtob, director of Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT), adds: “It’s encouraging to see this action in Italy, which is proof positive that it’s possible to both adopt and enforce a tough stance on uncapped ticket resale. With over 40 major ticket resale cases taking place across the EU since 2016, the time has come for the EU’s own Consumer Protection Cooperation Network to take action.”

The president of Italy’s National Consumer Union, Massimiliano Dona, comments: “It is incredible that tickets continue to be sold with prices even 10 times higher than the actual ones, despite the numerous condemnations by the Authorities and the intervention of the legislator who has however put a stop to these intolerable and hateful speculations. Anyone who goes to a concert has the sacrosanct right to pay the right price for the ticket, without unjustified and illegal top-ups.”

 


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Touring powerhouses back Fair Ticketing Reforms

Live Nation, CAA, UTA, Wasserman Music and WME are among more than 20 music organisations to come out in support of ticketing reforms.

Fans & Artists Insisting on Reforms (FAIR) Ticketing is appealing for policymakers to combat ticket touts by giving artists the right to decide how their tickets can be sold, transferred and resold, and for speculative ticket selling and other deceptive practices used to sell tickets to be made illegal.

In addition, the coalition is demanding the expansion and and stricter enforcement of the 2016 BOTS Act and for resale sites that serve as a “safe haven” for touts – and knowingly sell tickets that are illegally acquired – to be fined.

Finally, it is calling for all-in pricing across all ticketing marketplaces introduced nationally so that fans know the full cost of a ticket plus fees right upfront.

“Bots and scalpers cause chaos in the current onsale process, leaving lots of fans disappointed,” says Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation, which launched the Fair Ticketing Act last month. “Artists are fiercely protective of their fans and we need to make sure laws help artists control their concert intellectual property and how their tickets are sold. That would be a big step forward in helping fans buy tickets at the prices artists set.”

“FAIR Ticketing reforms give more control over ticketing to the artists so they can get tickets to real fans and prevent unauthorised resellers from charging exponentially more than face value”

Other high-profile supporters of the reforms include The Azoff Company chair and CEO Irving Azoff, Wasserman Music EVP and managing executive Sam Hunt and WME global head of contemporary music Lucy Dickins.

“No one cares more about fans than the artists,” says Azoff. “FAIR Ticketing reforms give more control over ticketing to the artists so they can get tickets to real fans and prevent unauthorised resellers from charging exponentially more than face value. I hope Congress will pass legislation for the good of artists and their fans.”

“Ticketing can be a frustrating and confusing experience for fans, and technological advancements in the space often end up being double-edged swords,” says Hunt. “FAIR Ticketing reforms are a crucial leap toward creating a process that is equitable and transparent to all parties.”

Dickins adds: “There is no doubt that change is needed in the current ticketing ecosystem to protect our clients and their work. The FAIR Ticketing reforms would provide the necessary tools to empower artists and creators who know their fans best while putting an end to deceptive ticketing practices.”

The artist coalitions, management groups, music labels and agencies to have signed on to back the “artist and fan friendly reforms”, include the following:

724 Management
Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC)
Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
Crush Music
The Core Entertainment
Endeavor
Faculty Inc.
Full Stop Management
Gellman Management
Laffitte Management Group
Live Nation Entertainment
Music Artists Coalition (MAC)
REBEL
Red Light Management
Salxco
Songwriters of North America (SONA)
United Talent Agency (UTA)
Universal Music Group
Vector Management
Wasserman Music
Wolfson Entertainment Inc.
WME

 


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UK ticket touts ordered to repay over £6m

Two UK-based ticket touts, who were jailed after fraudulently reselling event tickets, have been ordered to pay back more than £6 million (€6.96m) or face a further eight years in prison.

Peter Hunter and David Smith, who operated as the company BZZ Limited, were jailed in February 2020 for four years and 30 months, respectively, following an investigation by the National Trading Standards eCrime Team and trial at Leeds Crown Court.

The pair committed offences between May 2010 and December 2017, making a net profit of £3.5 million in the last two years of fraud alone, buying and reselling tickets to concerts by artists including Ed Sheeran, Madness, McBusted, Taylor Swift and Coldplay, as well as to shows including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Yesterday’s (14 December) confiscation order follows a lengthy investigation by National Trading Standards and a complex and extensive financial investigation conducted by the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Economic Crime Unit (RECU). Smith and Hunter were found to have benefited from their crimes by a total of £8,750,732.00. They have been given three months to pay back £6,167,522.02 and face an additional eight years’ imprisonment should they fail to pay.

“We hope this sends a message to all those who choose to engage in fraud that there are severe consequences”

Ruth Andrews, regional investigations and eCrime manager for National Trading Standards, says the result “concludes a landmark case that demonstrates once and for all that dishonestly buying large quantities of tickets and reselling them at inflated prices is an unacceptable, illegal and fraudulent practice”.

“All too often fans looking to buy tickets to sport events, music concerts and other high-profile events find that official tickets sell out in minutes before reappearing on secondary ticketing sites at vastly inflated prices,” says Andrews. “This can have a significant financial impact on consumers and I hope this ground-breaking case helps drive long-term changes in the secondary ticketing market.

“The defendants have learnt again today that crime does not pay and their futures have been irrevocably damaged by their criminal behaviour as a result. We hope this sends a message to all those who choose to engage in fraud that there are severe consequences.”

Hunter and Smith, used dishonest and fraudulent tactics to purchase multiple tickets from primary ticket sellers such as Ticketmaster, Eventim and AXS, circumventing the platforms’ terms and conditions and their automated systems to block multiple purchases. They also engaged in “speculative selling” by listing tickets for sale on secondary ticketing websites that they had not purchased and did not own.

“Yesterday’s developments should be a trigger for wider investigations to tackle the excesses in this market”

The duo’s appeals against their convictions were rejected by the Court of Appeal in November 2021.

“Music fans should be delighted with the result of this landmark case,” says Adam Webb, campaign manager for anti-touting organisation the FanFair Alliance. “The sums involved are staggering, and give an indication on the massive harm being inflicted on consumers. However, Hunter and Smith are only the tip of the iceberg. They are not outliers by any stretch of the imagination, and many others still operate outside of the law.

“Yesterday’s developments should be a trigger for wider investigations to tackle the excesses in this market – whether that’s the activities of touts, their methods of acquiring tickets in bulk from primary agents, or the secondary platforms they sell through.”

 


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