It’s been a while since I wrote about secondary ticketing, nearly nine months in fact. If you want to catch up on the backstory, click here (The Consumer Rights Bill and what you need to know) and here (Help us Put Fans First).
But in a nutshell, a group of MPs looked into secondary ticketing, decided things weren’t right, and made some recommendations to change the Consumer Rights Bill.
After a lengthy back and forth with the House Of Lords, The House Of Commons passed some of the amendments and agreed to an independent review into secondary ticketing. And that’s where we are now.
It has been seven months since the House of Commons backed revised legislation to regulate secondary ticketing sellers more closely, but what does that mean for you as a music fan? Well, not much to be totally honest.
It was recommended that the face value, seating information, and the seller’s name all be made available when purchasing your ticket on a ticket reselling website. Government only agreed to passing the first two of these stipulations (seat info and face value), but most ticketing sites aren’t even bothering with that.
“This review is your only chance for what could be a decade to have your say and make a difference to the secondary market.”
The seller’s name caveat got a free pass after some hard lobbying from the big boys of ticketing. And why wouldn’t you want your name exposed? Well, because it could just be that the tickets aren’t being re-sold, they’re somehow going directly to these ticket reselling websites without the artist, venue or promoter's knowledge. Perhaps they’re using technology (bots) to harvest up concert tickets before fans even have a chance to buy?
This review is your only chance for what could be a decade to have your say and make a difference to the secondary market. And why should that be important to you?
We’ve all been there at 9am on a Friday desperately trying to buy tickets to see the band we love, only for the show to sell out in record time. And then, as if by magic, tickets appear on the secondary market within seconds. Oh, and they’re now seven times the price you should have paid.
It’s not fair, but even worse it’s damaging our cultural industries. Music aside, young fans are now being priced out of sporting events like rugby and cricket, and out of theatre, art, and opera, because the only people able to afford these hyperinflated tickets are a silvering audience. These cultural events that shape our country are facing a generation gap in their audience in the next ten years, and that’s hugely worrying.
Add to that the venues, stadiums and arenas who host such events. With so many tickets being scalped and priced out of the hands of fans, a large percentage of seats will remain empty, and that’s lost revenue from bar sales, not to mention merchandise sales that count for a big slice of the performer’s revenue.
As fans, we need to work together to protect the artists we love. And the athletes, comedians, actors, and for that matter, anyone who works so hard to create an amazing experience that we’re happy to pay a fair price for.
This is not simple supply and demand. The ticketing industry needs transparency to protect the longevity of our creative culture. Software bots that scrape up thousands of tickets in seconds of them going on sales are not the ‘free market’ in action.
The period to submit evidence for this review is incredibly short. It was quietly announced earlier this month that Professor Michael Waterson will be chairing it, and the deadline for submissions is November 20th.
When the Consumer Rights Bill amendments were flip-flopping between the House Of Lords and House Of Commons the then Culture Secretary Sajid Javid (of ‘touts are just classic entrepreneurs’ fame) was strongly against any regulation. By giving you such a short time frame and by not alluding to any progress in the review ahead of the quiet announcement of the chair last month, they’re trying to slip this under the carpet. Don’t let them.
The secondary ticketing sites already have their own Parliamentary poster boy in Conservative MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire, Philip Davies who it seems hates pretty much any regulation. Not only does he believe Government should stay clear of the secondary market for fear of driving us all into the hands of the black market touts, he thinks ‘blacking up’ is not racist, that disabled people should be paid less (as they’re less able, DUH), and he’s very much against gay marriage. Thanks Phil. God knows we don’t want any gays in the entertainment industry.
“Every email will make a difference to help regulate a corrupt, unfair, and detrimental industry.”
Don’t let these people speak for you. Evidence from fans is essential in making this review count. You don’t need to have graphs, figures, or statistics. All you need is your own stories, opinions, and experiences as a real life fan. The other team will be getting their spreadsheets together, don’t let them win.
And it’s super simple too - just click here, fill in your name and city, and send them an email. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. The more personal you can make it, the better.
Have you ever been sold a fake ticket? Have you had to spend a month eating baked beans because you took the plunge and bought that hugely overpriced ticket to see your favourite band from a tout website just seconds after the primary tickets sold out? Would you as a real fan far rather sell unwanted tickets to your fellow fans at face value?
Every email will make a difference to help regulate a corrupt, unfair, and detrimental industry. And this will only go to benefit the bands, artists, athletes, and events we love.
The deadline is November 20th. Share with your friends and help spread the word. Fuck touts. Fans First.