Industry News

UK Music chief says Google complicit in Viagogo controversy

Michael Dugher, the chief of UK Music, has criticised Google for “shirking its responsibilities” over Viagogo and its failure to comply with transparency regulations.

Dugher was speaking to Music Week after Viagogo was last week referred to National Trading Standards, where it could face prosecution for failing to observe the advertising watchdog’s transparency criteria.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) claims that the controversial secondary ticketing firm is continuing to use misleading pricing after its deadline to make changes to its website by May 29 passed. Viagogo could face hefty fines and prosecution for continuing to be unclear about its extra booking fees and delivery charges added on at the end.

Google said it promised to deliver a “better and safer” platform for users after its new global transparency regulations on the secondary market began, but Dugher warned that more needed to be done.

“We welcome the investigation by National Trading Standards,” said Dugher, according to Music Week. “But we also need much tougher action from Google which continues to sit on its hands over this national scandal.

“In the same way Google’s YouTube rip off artists and creators, Google is complicit in taking music fans for a ride because they put Viagogo at the top of internet searches – not the official ticketing sites. That has to stop.

“Thanks to calls from industry campaigners like the FanFair Alliance and UK Music, everyone is aware of the problem. What we need now is action. Google needs to stop shirking its responsibilities and kick secondary sites that break new rules on transparency into touch.”

Image: Soumil Koumar