Secondary Ticketing: Ticketmaster closes resale sites
Today, Ticketmaster announced it would be closing secondary ticketing platforms GetMeIn and Seatwave.
Head of Ticketmaster UK, Andrew Parsons, announced the decision, saying it was based on feedback from unhappy fans being charged over-the-odds for tickets bought by ‘professional’ touts. The announcement of the closing of the platforms conveniently comes after a series of nails in the coffin in of current secondary ticketing trends have been hammered down by legislators and industry watchdogs.
Legislation and investigations
In July 2018, the Irish government supported new laws banning the resale of tickets for more than face value. In response to the initial proposals of such laws in 2017, Seatwave and Ticketmaster both submitted responses describing a ‘media frenzy’ around secondary ticketing, claiming the press coverage “only served to confuse the public and sensationalise the issue”. These objects are a far-cry from the now sympathetic ticketing giant’s statements.
Legislation of the secondary markets haven’t just been suggested in Ireland. In early 2017, the House of Lords suggested amendments to the digital economy bill, which would outlaw aspects of the secondary ticketing industry, mostly dominated by Ticketmaster’s Seatwave and GetMeIn as well as Viagogo.
A closer look at the industry was also taken by the Competition and Markets Authority in late 2017, which said it had identified issues causing ‘widespread concerns’ about the information given to consumers when purchasing second-hand tickets. During the CMA’s investigations, raids of the Viagogo and Stubhub offices were undertaken, gathering evidence of relationships between professional touts and the platforms themselves.
As well as all of the interest from legislators, industry bodies, consumer groups and watchdogs have been taking a closer look at these platforms. In May 2018, National Trading Standards opened and investigation into Ticketmaster’s competitor, Viagogo, for ‘persistently misleading customers’ after the Advertising Standards Authority had already censured the company. Earlier in the year, soon-to-be closed sites Seatwave and GetMeIn were also under the ASA’s microscope, leading to the Digital Minister, Margot James, calling for consumers to boycott the platform.
Losing key artists
It won’t just have been the interest from governments and industry bodies that will have prompted Ticketmaster’s change of heart. Internationally touring artists Ed Sheeran and Adele both chose alternative, secondary ticketing platform Twickets as their official resale partners. Twickets allows ticket holders to re-list their tickets for no more than 10% above the original price, meaning ticket prices can’t be inflated and sellers cover their booking fees and postage costs.
But what’s next?
The closure of prominent ticketing sites like GetMeIn and Seatwave will come as great news for many fans, as well as industry reps like Society of Ticket Agents & Retailers and the Fair Fan Alliance.
Touting originated decades ago, with people stood outside sold out gigs offering tickets to diehard fans. Over the years, the industry has grown with the digital age to become the beast it is today. With ‘professional’ touts finding ways and means of purchasing tickets in bulk, only to automatically list them on secondary sites minutes later, despite legislation making the purchase of tickets by using automated software illegal. The lack of regulation in the sector leads to many getting away with profiting from in-demand gigs.
So, no doubt, the closure of mainstream secondary ticketing sites will not signal the end of unfair practices, just the start of a new era.
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