Industry News

MPs told that secondary websites can “cover for” touts

UK Members of Parliament have been told that some secondary ticketing websites are “covering for” professional touts.

Reg Walker, the head of the Iridium Consultancy, which works with venues such as London’s O2 Arena, told MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport select committee that some sellers are “courted” by secondary sites because “there's a finite amount of these people that harvest tickets in bulk”.

Walker alleged that some sellers are paid in advance and provided with powerful software to manage their inventories, with the sites dependent on “bad actors” who use computers to harvest “and resell high volumes of tickets”.

Walker also said that it is not just professional touts who exploit the system, with some gig tickets handed directly to a secondary website by associates of artists.

Arctic Monkeys' manager Ian McAndrew added to the MPs that he had been offered such a deal in the past, and called for greater transparency in the sector.

“The number of tickets that go on sale at general sale is unknown, is unclear to us,” he said. “But there is increasing evidence to suggest it is far smaller than it should be.”

Warwick University economics professor, Michael Waterson, who conducted a government-backed review into ticketing earlier this year, said at the hearing yesterday (Tuesday) that he supported the idea of banning so-called bots, which snap up tickets in bulk and automatically resell them on secondary websites at inflated prices.

He also called for concert organisers to introduce variable pricing, but stopped short of recommended banning secondary ticketing services.

The MPs also heard from StubHub, with the company’s head of legal affairs, Paul Peake, saying that due diligence is “carried out on all sellers”.

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