Secondary ticketing was a “huge issue” in the planning of Ed Sheeran’s Divide world tour, according to the star’s international booking agent.
In an interview with Music Week, Jon Ollier, of CAA, said that a strategy of reducing the impact of scalping and touting was at the core of plans for the schedule, which began in Dublin last week.
Ed Sheeran will play 17 dates in the UK and Ireland as well as visiting the US, Canada, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Mexico.
With demand “absolutely off the scale”, Ollier said Sheeran’s team decided to focus on a partnership with Twickets that would educate fans about the problems created by secondary ticketing rather than all-out prevention.
“We moved away from trying to directly stop secondary ticketing because it’s a beast and a difficult one to control,” Ollier told Music Week. “We pushed [Twickets] as the primary partner, not because we thought it was going to stop touts in their tracks, but to start the education process on getting people to understand what secondary ticketing is.
“Although that might not sound as strong as some other artists, it’s allowed us to be part of a conversation where now, manager Stuart [Camp] is sitting on the FanFair Alliance panel, presenting to the parliamentary select committee, doing BBC News interviews and that kind of thing.”
Ollier added that Ed Sheeran and his team were also resolute in avoiding any links with the secondary market.
“We made sure that no journalist could point to things – like they’ve done with other artists recently – and say, ‘such and such has put their tickets straight on a secondary site and the money’s going straight into their pocket’,” he told Music Week.
“We made sure that everyone was absolutely clean on that and that nothing could come back to Ed. That meant that we could go forward into the conversation with clean hands and a clean conscience. It’s been about a bigger conversation than just this tour.”