September kicked off with the major announcement that the UK’s competition regulator suspended preparations for court action against Viagogo after the controversial resale company finally made its ticketing information transparent to customers.
The Competition and Market Authority (CMA) ruled that Viagogo addressed its outstanding concerns about how it presents important information to its customers, claiming it is “worlds apart from the one they faced before the CMA took action.”
The UK watchdog’s chief executive Andrea Coscelli said it would continue to “keep up the pressure” on Viagogo to ensure its ongoing compliance with consumer protection law.
The month also saw AEG fully acquire AXS Tickets from majority co-owners TPG Capital and Dan Gilbert’s Rockbridge Growth Equity.
AEG already held a 38 per cent stake in the ticketing firm, which has been its official North American ticketing partner since September 2018.
Over the past year, AXS has had two unsuccessful bids from other ticketing companies, although AEG made it clear it would not give up operational control.
AXS has several major partners including Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise Real Salt Lake and its Rio Tinto Stadium, as well being named the official secondary ticketing partner of Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena with StubHub.
AEG said it would develop its own resale offering as well as looking to merge or acquire a new a ticketing partner. AEG was reportedly also looking to pursue a non-exclusivity model for new clients, in which promoters who bring shows to the building are welcome to use the ticketing technology of their choice. This would mean that instead of paying an advance for upfront exclusivity, venues using AXS would be allowed to use Ticketmaster for any Live Nation shows brought to their facilities.
Later in September, digital rights advocacy group Fight For the Future released a list of music festivals that pledged to never employ facial recognition for ticketing or security purposes at their events.
The US-based group also highlighted festivals, primarily across the country, that have said it “might use” the technology in the future, or that have refuse to commit to a complete ban.
Music festivals such as Shambala, Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits “made a clear commitment to not use facial recognition on fans,” while the likes of Boston Calling, Coachella and Lollapalooza “refused to commit,” meaning that they might use this technology now or in the future.