Stone Roses highlight tout problem

The million pound bid on Ebay last week for a ticket at the newly reunited Stone Roses show at Heaton Park created a frenzy of internet activity, and while clearly a joke, not sure why some news channels took is seriously, it does raise an important issue that keeps getting ignored by the policy changers.  It was only a joke or at best a statement about the ridiculous nature of the second-hand ticket market, but it did serve its core purpose, to create headlines.


Let’s sort this debate out once and for all…….The fundamental reason behind ticket re-sales, and the reason there’s a loophole in the law, allowing for touts to flood the market and profit over the genuine fans and the tour promoters, exits because ticket holders are not allowed to refund back to the venue under any circumstance.  This creates a rapacious second-hand ticket market that grows bigger each year, denying fans the chance to buy tickets on an even playing field while simultaneously driving up the price of seeing live music.

Three easy steps to remove the problem:

  1. Each ticket distributor sets up a site where users can re-sell their tickets for the original price only, plus a small commission to cover the commission costs of the ticket outlet – for operation fees, plus postage and packing.
  2. All tickets for major gigs (1500+)should require a photo of the ticket buyer.  This has been tried and tested at certain events, notably Glastonbury, with unparalleled success.  Many people would argue that the major stumbling blocks for such an initiative would be cost to the ticket distributer or promoter and the dread of queuing for twice as long.  Easy to dispel those worries;  If $1 was added to each ticket it would more than cover the cost of setting up such a system, besides we’ve got the technology let’s use it!   No one likes queuing any longer than they have too, so let’s not change that!  Photo ID tickets will act as a deterrent, not many people will get checked but it will definitely make people think twice about buying an expensive ticket on Ebay if they know there’s a chance they might not get in!
  3. Last but not least, let’s legally stop reselling on the internet, with anyone caught facing hefty fines.  Once the first two steps are in place there’s solid justification for tightening up the laws around ticket touting and there’s also no excuse and loopholes for the touts to argue for their free market
This might be a template of idealistic endeavor but if nothing changes and the touts have free rein it will only serve to ramp up the initial prices of the tour promoters, knowing that their product can fetch a lot more on the black market, giving them carte blanche to increase prices across the board.  Quality live music could eventually became like opera or premiership football, elitist and regularly only affordable to the higher social classes.

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