StubHub says that half of tickets on resale sites are from event promoters selling to ‘professional’ sellers via bulk listings.
Scott Cutler, he chief executive of the eBay-owned ticketing resale site, said in an interview with the Financial Times that there is an even split on its platform of consumers selling their tickets and ‘professional’ traders.
While the live music industry has been critical of ticket reselling websites such as StubHub, Cutler said it should be more tolerant of the different ways that tickets are currently being sold.
“The business as a whole needs to be a lot more transparent around where the tickets are distributed . . . Very little is actually being sold at the ‘on-sale’ to the public,” Cutler said.
“Why is it that only 20 per cent of a typical venue is actually sold to the public? Where is the rest of that inventory being sold? Being sold to fan clubs? Being sold to premium members? Being sold to managers? Being sold to friends?”
Cutler said he wanted to work with regulators and was “very transparent” about what happens on StubHub, but added: “It is not going to be a discussion that’s productive if the discussion is simply that we don’t want you to exist, because we do.”
He told the Financial Times that examples of people paying exorbitant prices for tickets were isolated and that half of tickets sold on the platform were at less than face value. He added: “It’s not that those people are being ripped off, there are people that are willing to pay £1,000 to see Adele”.
According to StubHub, the percentage of professional sellers varied between countries but it did not provide figures, and it also said it cannot reveal details of the identities of bulk buyers because of contractual obligations.
Cutler also said he does not believe that it is hypocritical for the music industry to both criticise and work with resale websites. He said, “It’s just the reality of doing business.”
The company, which had revenues of $940m (€876m/£761m) last year, is the market leader in the US, and has expanded into 48 countries following the recent acquisition of Spanish rival Ticketbis.
In the UK, it could soon become illegal for automated ‘bots’ to buy tickets in bulk as the government is in the process of cracking down on the industry. Ministers also announced they wanted ticket resale sites to “do more to identify ticket touts and warned they “will look at further action to ensure that consumer law is being adhered to”.