Saturday, 11 May 2013

"Secondary Ticketing : The New Touting" by Tom Hingley

Hello everyone, hope you're well. 

I know it's been a while but the following post is definitely worth the wait.  We've got a massive treat for you today - the very wonderful Tom Hingley, ex-lead singer of the Inspiral Carpets, has written a fantastic post about the hot music topic of the moment - Secondary Ticketing. 

Anyway, without further ado, here it is :

How many of you have been in that situation where an old band announce they are reforming and you become part of a mass scramble to get hold of tickets for yourself, your friends and your loved ones? You perhaps end up spending hundreds of minutes, online time, and eventually hundreds of pounds through purchasing tickets at multiplications of their original face value.

You are part of a con being deliberately constructed by big players in the live performance industry.

Secondary ticketing sites were set up under the previous government under the aegis of introducing an element of control over the anarchy of unregulated online retailing of sports and entertainment tickets and scams with the official line that this would deter touting,
namely individuals purchasing a sizable minority of all the tickets for an event and then selling them outside for a massive profit. In fact, in many cases the very establishment of these secondary ticketing sites had exactly the opposite affect and what became the common occurrence was for many promoters to commit a sizeable allocation of tickets to these players, who then sat on them and sold them through the internet at vastly inflated prices while assuming the apparent position that each of the thousands of tickets they possessed was being sold as though it were a scarce item.

The con hinges on a concert/tour being announced through a variety of media outlets, such as the radio/TV/websites/social media platforms. The public are then encouraged to leap on one premium rate ticket hotline at 9 AM Friday morning. This creates an artificial log jam, and the disappointed fans then turn - in increasing desperation - to any other online retail outlets who may be able to satisfy this artificially hyped demand.

The secondary ticket sites exist under the falsely constructed identity of not being connected in any way with the original promoters, when in fact they are often actually partners, in the web, sometimes even owned by the same people who own the large entertainment entities who control the business. I call this cosy relationship of business entities who are actually fingers of the same corporate hand false walls, when I discuss a similar double value system operating in the UK drink industry (but more of that later).

As if this situation weren’t bad enough, added to the complexity of embedded and collapsed yet ‘separate’ presentation of promoters/touts is the added issue of individuals employed in the secondary ticketing entities owning and operating hundreds of credit cards, and purchasing large slabs of tickets from the original retail sites at the first point of retail in addition to, and way beyond, the original ones promised in the promoter’s direct allocations. The effect of these two actions is to render it impossible for genuine punters to buy tickets at the original ticket price and to divert tickets to a small number of secondary outlets/touts who then control the value-added super resale price of these consumer items.

One side effect of this ‘double buying’ by the promoter controlled/embedded secondary touting sites is that a possible outcome would be for a concert with a total of 10,000 tickets to be left with 10% of the tickets left in the drawers of the secondary ticketing businesses on the night of the concert, or being sold well below the original cover price by physical touts outside the venue namely, i.e., exactly what the introduction of these sites was supposed to prevent!  There may be false walls but really it’s all open plan, and they all live in the same house

My concern about this promoter-led touting is threefold: 1) the super value of the resold tickets is generally not being passed back to the performing artists, 2) the fans are being ripped off by a music business that knows this practice is being carried on at all levels (another horse meat scandal?) and 3, this practice is slowly and surely killing the live music scene. The digital touting of tickets , including the price fixing, monopolistic , fraudulent actions of these secondary ticketing touts and promoters and the deprivation of, say, 10% of a potential audience to see their favourite band will eventually prise even the most ardent fans away from their loved artists. There may come a time where punters are made to choose between seeing their favourite band for £500 per ticket or paying for school dinners and the mortgage. This inflation of the ticket price will lead to fans abandoning bands, and they won’t come back. This is a hideous adjunct to the end of recording artists being able to make money from exploiting sound recordings with the explosion of P2P infringing sites 

This is the Dutch Tulip Bulb Bubble of the 21st Century

Tom Hingley

Thanks Tom.  I think all genuine music fans feel this is an issue and it's great to see someone in the music industry sharing that opinion.

Before I sign off today I wanted to again thank Tom for a great, insightful post.  If you want to follow Tom on twitter, you can do so here - @tomhingleymusic

Today I'm going to leave you with a live clip of Tom singing the song 'Good' from his solo album "Thames Valley Delta Blues".  I highly recommend the album, it's a corker, and if you get a chance to see him live then go for it, you won't regret it.  He's a very funny man as well as a fantastic musician.

Thanks for reading

Simon S.