Thursday, January 10, 2008


This report on the BBC website is more comprehensive and balanced:

It's particularly good to see that the report highlights the lack of returns servives offered by promoters or agencies. When tickets used to be sold almost exlusively by venue box offices, it was once even possible for event-goers who suddenly found themselves unable to attend to be refunded, and for the tickets to be legitimately resold at face value to others. I can't think of a single major ticket agency that currently offers this service.

I suspect that a blanket ban on unofficial reselling would be impractical and unhelpful given the lack of suitable returns policies. The problem at the moment though is that the secondary market is completely unregulated - and there seems to be little hint of any attempt to try and cap the grotesque prices at which tickets are resold on auction sites. Nobody in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport seems to have recognised that these 'secondary' prices have the effect of legitimising huge increases, well above the rate of inflation, in the standard prices charged for 'event' gigs, enabling the likes of The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Neil Young, Barbra Streisand and Dolly Parton to charge absolutely outrageous prices. Yes, demand and willingness to pay fuels the market - but there will always be people wealthy or silly enough to part with huge sums for one night in the company of their favourite performers. What's more worrying is that the promoters/artists levy that is being suggested here will merely increase the 'secondary' prices further.

A 'voluntary' solution across the industry will not work as touts themselves will not be party to it. Does the government not recognise that many of them are professionals in the art of reselling tickets? Similarly, it's hardly in the interests of ticket auction sites to restrict this kind of activity in any way. Why do the interests of the consumer seem to be the lowest on the list of priorities in this report? Entertainment should not be the preserve of a wealthy elite.

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