The 24th ILMC opened in London March 8, just as Europe’s live music industry re-focused on what in recent years has become its nemesis – secondary ticketing.
The last two weeks have seen increased furor in the UK’s live music business and its national media, prompted by a TV documentary on how the secondary market operates.
In that time, there’s been the drawing up of battle lines of sorts.
So far, Live Nation international chief ops officer Paul Latham has been the only promoter – the TV program also named SJM Concerts, 3A, Metropolis and MCD – to even try to explain why his company directly supplies tickets to touts.
Once it became obvious the UK government had failed to legislate against the secondary market – or “the genie was out of the bottle,” as Latham put it – it was only a matter of a very short time before promoters and acts tried to get their hands on some of the resulting extra cash.
On the other side of the line is the increasing number of smaller festivals – largely under the guidance of the Association of Independent Festivals – and ticket sellers that are trumpeting their more “ethical” way of selling tickets.
The AIF has set up Ticket Trust, a platform where tickets can be bought and sold only for face value, which has already won the support of some significant UK festivals such as Bestival, Creamfields, Kendal Calling, End of the Road and Secret Garden Party.
Radiohead, which is about to embark on its first tour in four years, is also working with Ticket Trust after deciding to use the ethical exchange platform for its fan club tickets.
The band is reportedly trying to guarantee that more of its most devoted fans can get tickets for face value.
“Secondary ticketing is wrong on so many levels and as management, with ultimate responsibility for the welfare of the band, we must ensure that their fans are treated fairly. This is why we are happy to work with The Ticket Trust,” explained a statement from Courtyard Management.
The groundswell of opinion in the UK may well have the support of Australian promoter Michael Chugg, an ILMC regular and a vociferous debater, who has recently called for new anti-scalping laws down under.
ILMC’s programming team has already found some space for more talk about secondary ticketing on Friday afternoon (March 9), reacting to the issue firing up again since the conference agenda was set.