Entertainment & Arts

Noel Gallagher: 'I back Elton on ticket prices'

Noel Gallagher Image copyright Press Association
Image caption Noel Gallagher's High Flying birds are touring next year

Rock star Noel Gallagher has called on the government to "sort out" the secondary ticketing market.

He was speaking after Sir Elton John said he would "rather have empty seats" at a venue then see fans pay "extortionate" prices on sites that promise access to sold out shows.

"I'm with Elton," Gallagher told BBC Radio 5 live. "People shouldn't really pay over the odds, but they do."

"You get forged tickets on those things as well. It's a terrible thing"

The former Oasis star said that, as long as the re-sale of concert tickets was legal, "it's going to carry on".

"You need the government to sort it out," he added.

Last month, the government welcomed comments on secondary ticketing as part of a review of the market.

Among the artists to get involved were Coldplay, Radiohead and Blur, as well as the managers of One Direction and Ed Sheeran, who signed a joint letter campaigning against "the increasing industrial-scale abuse and insider exploitation of tickets for music, arts and sports events by ticket touts, and their online associates and facilitators."

"Tens of thousands of fans have been ripped off by people who exploit fair ticket prices via so-called ticket marketplaces," the letter added.

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Media captionElton John slams secondary ticket sites

Rock group Mumford and Sons met with the chair of the review, Professor Michael Waterson, last week and persuaded him to re-open the consultation so fans could share their experiences and concerns about secondary ticketing sites.

They have until Friday to make a submission.

The big players in the UK's secondary ticketing market are Seatwave, GetMeIn, Viagogo and Stubhub. They act as a storefront for private sellers - ranging from fans who can no longer attend a show to professional touts.

But the tickets are often sold with a significant mark-up. If you buy tickets to Sir Elton John's 2016 tour direct from the venue or a primary ticketing site, such as Ticketmaster, the prices range between £45 and £89. Those tickets are being re-sold on the secondary market for up to £500.

However, the sites themselves say those top-price tickets rarely sell. Stubhub recently released figures showing says that 10 per cent of their stock goes for less than face value.

And ticket fraud is rare on the main sites - all of which offer a buyer's guarantee.

Responding to Elton John's comments on Wednesday, Viagogo said: "Sellers set the prices on Viagogo and for popular events such as Elton John's 2016 tour, prices can be higher because there is huge demand and limited supply.

"However, while a seller can list a ticket at any price he likes, it doesn't mean the ticket will actually sell at that price. Tickets for Elton John's UK dates actually start from under face value at £71 on our site."

Stubhub, which is owned by eBay, added: "The dangers of putting restrictions on music fans and how they buy tickets is that it poses huge risks in pushing them into the back alleys where there are no consumer protections at all," said the company's international manager Estanis Martin de Nicolas.

Mumford and Sons recommended that fans look to smaller sites such as Twickets, Scarlet Mist and Vibe Tickets - which sell unwanted tickets at face value.

"We want fans of the band to be able to get into our shows for the right price, to feel that they've got value for money.

"We want every seat in a sold out show to be filled with a fan. Why do we care so much? Because it's not right, it hurts our fans and it's a problem for all artists."

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