Ticket Touts: A last minute bargain or blunder?

Instead of enjoying their favourite artists, many fans are often worried about the hidden charges.

There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of seeing a band or artist you love, live. The adrenaline of jumping about and swaying to their hit tunes and the total gratification of knowing all the words to their hidden gems surely is in a league of its own. However, this can be often undercut by the sting of paying vastly over inflated prices to see them.

The ease of buying tickets from a second-hand website compares to no other, a quick type of your details and the tickets are swiftly in the post and on their way. In spite of this ease, there are often hidden charges ready to take you unaware. Ticket touts and the redistribution of tickets at vastly increased prices are a blight on the music industry. This does not only affect the artists when performing but also their bank accounts as well. According to figures published by fanfairalliance.org, an organisation primarily founded to fight ticket touts and unethical distribution, 47% of consumers think they will spend less on recorded music because of the amount they’ve spent on tickets. This isn’t a minor problem that affects only a handful of people. The second-hand ticket market has an estimated value of £1billion each year meaning plenty of potential music fans could be fleeced out of their hard-earned cash.

In March 2018, the Advertising Standards Authority banned resale sites like viagogo from using misleading pricing information however this hasn’t stopped many of them.

The problem has grown to such an astronomical extent that the Government has been pushed to take a stand. Last November, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) began enforcement action against notorious giants of resale scams such as GetMeIn, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo. Many of these sites had broken consumer law, meaning that customers have been offered non-existent tickets or tickets that the supplier doesn’t have. This is no surprise to lots of music fans, searching any of these companies’ names brings up a mass of negative reviews and angry customers demanding their money back; while 80% think that GetMeIn, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo are “ripping off” fans with high prices.

However, there seems to be an emerging solution lying with the artists and fans collaborating. Adele and Ed Sheeran only resold tickets through a fan-to-fan website they oversaw and were able to set a reasonable margin. Adele even officially partnered Twickets (a fan-to-fan resale website) in 2016 and has carried this partnership for every tour since. Various other big names such as One Direction, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Mumford and Sons and The 1975 have all used and promoted this website for their tours against the excessive alternatives. When polled 87% of UK consumers liked this idea and thought it would far more effective the multitude of resale websites overcharging.

So what does this all mean for the music industry and the many thousands left out of pocket? For those already scammed, it may be too late to get a refund. Despite this, the new wave of fan-owned resale websites may mean the popularity of unethical platforms for ticket resale will fall. Hopefully, giving way to interactivity between artists and fans that no other industry has.