Ticket touting has become a major problem for the UK’s music industry, which comprises 142, 000 jobs, in accordance to UK Music.  Instead of cash going directly to the fans favourite acts, large quantities are being handed over to so-called ‘touts’, who often charge preposterous ticket mark-ups for ‘sold out tickets’.  The resale prices of these tickets have sullied the experience of fans up and down the country. The scale of the issue is evidenced by a growing acceptability of the practice and a subsequent reluctance from people to attend future concerts or fork out on recorded music. This could have serious long-term consequences for the UK music industry, which already has had to adapt to the illegal downloading and streaming of music on the internet. Because of this universal ability for fans to listen to their favourite tracks for free, supporting live music concerts has gained an extra added significance.

More artists should use their platform to speak out for their fans that have fallen victim to stouts. Pressure applied from the artists would make a huge difference as they are the people who have the economic power in the given dynamic. There has been talk in the House of Lords about amending the Digital Economy Bill which would result in potential prosecutions for corporations that permit touts to resell tickets above face value. The conservative government has suggested legislation that would make the use of ‘bots’- automated software that gather tickets- illegal. Although conversations about the problem and initial proposals are a promising sign of development, our elected representatives have done little else to act on the scale of the concern in question.

Other industries have intervened in order to protect their ticket buyers from similar rip offs. A case in point is the game of football. Since 1994, the general resale of match tickets has been outlawed in the UK, and comparable regulations in relation to music concerts are being increasingly called for.  The crux of the issue is the lack of accountability and transparency for primary sellers, who should be clearly listing how many tickets are explicitly for primary sale. Until this central difficulty has been addressed, fans will continue to be discontented by widespread online ticketing touting. How long can that resentment last for? And what affect will it have on our music industry while it is being resolved?

Article by Yohannes Lowe

George Millington