Entertainment & Arts

Music industry calls for action over secondary ticketing sites

Colplay's Johnny Buckland (left) and Chris Martin Image copyright PA
Image caption Coldplay's Johnny Buckland (left) and Chris Martin signed the letter together with managers for the UK's biggest live acts

Rock band Coldplay and managers of acts including Ed Sheeran, Elton John, Blur and Radiohead have signed an open letter to the government calling for action over secondary ticketing sites.

Published in The Times, the letter says fans are being "ripped-off by touts who anonymously exploit fair ticket prices via online ticket marketplaces".

It urges the government to put "the public's interests before the touts".

A government consultation on the resale of tickets closes on Friday.

"As artist managers, we deplore the increasing industrial-scale abuse and insider exploitation of tickets for music, arts and sports events by ticket touts," the letter says.

"The consequence in many cases is that fans will attend fewer shows, meaning that the profits made by such immoral practice is also money lost from the industry."

It is signed by managers for the UK's biggest live acts including One Direction, Little Mix, Radiohead, Mumford and Sons, Iron Maiden, Arctic Monkeys and Noel Gallagher.

'National disgrace'

The letter agrees there is a need for "genuine, transparent ticket resale/exchange" through businesses selling tickets at face value, and urges the review to recommend "all parties in a ticketing transaction should indentify themselves".

Earlier this week concert promoter Harvey Goldsmith told the BBC the issue of secondary ticketing websites was "a national disgrace".

He told Radio 4's Front Row programme that tickets to U2's recent London shows were advertised for up to £3,300 on resale sites, despite a face value of £182.

"We're asking the government to pass a law which says you cannot sell a ticket for more than 10% of its face value," Goldsmith told the BBC.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Prince recently postponed the sale of tickets to his European tour over concerns about tickets being resold on third-party websites

Consumer magazine Which? also called for a crack-down on ticket resale sites earlier this month, arguing consumers face a "stitch-up".

The group spent eight weeks monitoring four of the biggest secondary ticketing websites and said it found "some really unusual behaviour".

Music fans have until 23:00 GMT on 20 November 2015 to make their views known in the consultation.

The industry letter was compiled by Twickets, an online site which allows fans to sell spare tickets only at face value or below. Here is the full list of signatures and which artists they represent:

  • Julian Wright & David Furnish, Rocket (Elton John, The Strypes)
  • Stuart Camp (Ed Sheeran)
  • Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland & Will Champion (members of Coldplay)
  • Richard Griffiths, Harry Magee & Will Bloomfield, Modest! (One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer, Little Mix, Olly Murs, Cheryl)
  • Chris Hufford & Bryce Edge, Courtyard (Radiohead, Gaz Coombes)
  • Adam Tudhope, Everybodys (Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, Keane)
  • Marcus Russell & Alec McKinley, Ignition (Noel Gallagher, Oasis, Catfish & The Bottlemen)
  • Paul Loasby, One Fifteen (David Gilmour, Jools Holland)
  • Ian McAndrew, Wildlife Entertainment (Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood, The Last Shadow Puppets, Travis)
  • Ian Grenfell, Quietus (Chrissie Hynde, Suede, Simply Red, Simple Minds)
  • Paul McDonald, Closer Artists (George Ezra, James Bay, James Morrison, John Newman)
  • Jamie Oborne, All On Red (The 1975)
  • Sam Eldridge, Urok (Jess Glynne, Plan B, Tom Odell, Mystery Jets)
  • Rod Smallwood, Phantom Music (Iron Maiden)
  • Tony Smith, TSPM (Nick Mason, Genesis, Phil Collins)
  • Niamh Byrne & Regine Moylett. Eleven Management (Blur, Gorillaz, The Clash, Kano, Jamie Hewlett, Spoek)
  • Stewart Young. Part Rock Management (Foreigner, Zucchero and Emerson, Lake and Palmer)
  • Mike Greek, Emma Banks, Creative Artists Agency
  • Geoff Meall, United Talent Agency
  • Jeff Craft, Ian Huffam, Xray Touring
  • Rob Challice, Coda Music Agency

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