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UK Business Speaks Out Against Touts

02:01 PM Tuesday 10/9/12 | |

A large chunk of the UK’s music business has spoken out against the secondary ticketing market, claiming that it’s “bad for fans and bad for live entertainment.”

Bands including Radiohead, Orbital and Portishead have joined top London talent agencies such as X-Ray Touring, Value Added Talent and Coda Agency to sign a charter taking a stand against the touts.

  • Radiohead

    Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Manchester, Tenn.
    June 8, 2012

    (John Davisson)


The charter sets out their position against secondary ticketing and demands that touts stop selling tickets for their events.

The idea came from the Association Of Independent Festivals and the signatories include 55 industry veterans, artists, promoters and festivals. They also include 13 Artists, festivals such as W.O.M.A.D., Bestival and Secret Garden Party, and record companies including Hospital and Ninja Tune.

It also has the support of independent ticket firm WeGotTickets, whose business development manager Dave Newton has recently emerged as one of the more articulate spokesmen against the secondary market.

The charter’s part of a wider strategy to address secondary ticketing, which is described as “a growing problem of for both the live industry and for gig goers across the UK.”

It accuses the secondary ticketing market of “attempting to cloak and legitimise touting, whilst undermining much of the live sector’s attempts to offer quality entertainment at reasonable prices.”

“The whole secondary ticketing situation does make me really angry, mostly because I just don't feel many of the people paying vastly inflated prices actually understand the mechanics behind it, and secondly because the people profiting are doing so driven by pure greed,” said Bestival and AIF co-founder Rob da Bank.

“For me music has never been about money and there’s a sharp divide between those in the music business purely for profit and those who are in it for the love of music. The festivals who say they've sold out while blatantly putting hundreds or thousands of tickets on a secondary seller are just plain dishonest.”

Dan Silver, head of London’s Value Added Talent agency, said that as artist representatives and acting as their officially appointed ambassadors to their fans, “VAT will continue to resist strongly the efforts by unconnected third parties to profit from ticket sales as middlemen, and will always seek to sell to fans at the lowest possible transaction charges – which we would like to stress are not shared in any way with the creators of value, the artists themselves.”

While it’s not unusual to hear certain sections of the industry lash out at the secondary sellers, the anti-tout charter looks to be the most significant united front against the market.

It’s also one that will likely grow as The Fan Fair Alliance, a new industry group to be launched with the support of anti-touting Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, will begin by launching a public attack on the secondary market.

The combined voice of the industry organisations speaking out against ticket touting is a powerful lobbying tool, and is as loud as it’s ever been since former culture secretary Tessa Jowell decided not to outlaw the practice in 2006.

The charter says there are strong arguments for legislation to curb the activities of unofficial ticket-sellers.

 “Until such legislation is enacted we believe the entire live entertainment industry should further increase its efforts to protect fans,” it says.

The charter can also be viewed at AIForg.com.