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Industry News

Live Nation CEO says any change from ticketing legislation is “unrealistic” 

Live Nation chief executive Michael Rapino has said it is “unrealistic” to expect legislation to solve the problem of digital scalping and ticketing price hikes.

Bots and expensive resale prices have long plagued music, sports and other live events, with governments and law makers in the US, UK and other parts of the world attempting to introduce laws that might deter scalping.

However, after speaking at Canadian Music Week in Toronto, Ontario – a Canadian province that has seen government action on ticketing in recent months – Rapino suggested the free market was more likely to create fairness than state action.

“As long as the market’s gigantic, you’ll have sophisticated players trying to figure out how to monetise it,” Rapino said when asked by Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail about the effectiveness of legislating to solve the ticketing industry’s problems. “My instincts are always on the free market.

“I think some of these [legislative changes and suggestions around the world] are decent attempts, but I don’t think over all, until you start pricing the product better, and/or have better technology to deliver the fan their ticket, that you’ll start to make a difference.”

Complaints about the secondary ticketing market became especially prevalent following a Tragically Hip (pictured) tour towards the end of last year. The public reaction prompted Ontario Attorney-General Yasir Naqvi to announce an investigation into how legislation could make the ticketing industry fairer.

The province consulted nearly 35,000 Ontarians for input to develop “practical solutions” for giving people a “fair shot” at buying tickets for concerts, sports and other events, with results expected soon.

According to the Globe and Mail, Rapino also said that getting regular ticket prices closer to market value might deter scalping. However, it could mean higher box-office prices, but the extra money would go to content creators, such as artists and sports teams, rather than secondary market resellers. The growth of VIP and platinum seating sections is a move in that direction, Rapino said.

He added that ticketing should become fairer as companies improve verification systems such as bar codes.

Late last month, legislation that could make the use of ticket bots illegal and punishable by unlimited fines was discussed in the UK’s House of Lords.

Amendments to the Digital Economy Bill include a series of new clauses relating to bots, most notably making the use of software to bypass limits on maximum ticket purchases set by event organisers a criminal offence.

In the US state of Missouri, lawmakers passed a law to crack down on online ticket scalpers. The Missouri House voted to pass the bill aimed at stopping the use of automated software that allows people to purchase tickets to resell at mark up prices.