Entertainment & Arts

Italy moves to curb secondary ticketing

Image caption Hundreds of tickets for a Coldplay show in Milan ended up on secondary sites, prompting an undercover investigation

Calls have been made for the secondary ticketing market to be curtailed in Italy, after concert promoters Live Nation admitted giving tickets directly to the resale website Viagogo.

The allegations stem from an undercover report on the TV show Le Iene, in which an anonymous employee explained how tickets made their way onto such sites.

The MD of Live Nation Italy, Roberto De Luca, then admitted to the practice.

He said "a very limited number" of tickets were sold in this manner.

De Luca initially denied the reports but, when interviewed by journalist Matteo Viviani, retracted that statement.

"I want to be clear that, to your question if Live Nation issued tickets on secondary sites and I answered no… In fact we issue some tickets, a very limited number of tickets on other sites, in this case Viagogo.

"But I must make clear that Live Nation sells around two million tickets every year and the tickets that we issue on the secondary sites are equal to 0.20% of our tickets sales. We are not talking about tens of thousands of tickets, but hundreds of tickets for a concert."


The investigation was prompted by a Coldplay concert in Milan, where hundreds of tickets appeared on secondary sites within minutes of going on sale, often at inflated prices. The band were not implicated in the report, however.

Viviani stated that the show had tracked the journey of a ticket for a separate gig as its price increased from 50 euro (£43) to 1,050 euro (£911), using testimony from an employee of one of the companies and various documents, invoices and contracts obtained via an anonymous source.

Since the programme was broadcast last week, several Italian artists have cut ties with Live Nation.

Management firm Giamaica, which looks after one of Italy's most famous artists, Vasco Rossi, said it had "suspended all trading relations with Live Nation" and may consider legal action against the company.

Italian consumer organisation Codacons has also submitted a complaint to the public prosecutor of Milan against Live Nation Italy.

Politicians have also tabled an amendment to Italy's budget law, which would curb the activities of secondary ticketing websites.

Culture minister Dario Franceschini said in a statement that the practice is "an intolerable phenomenon and recent events show that self-regulation is not enough".

In a statement to trade publication Music Week, Live Nation sought to clarify the reports emerging from Italy.

"Live Nation Italy would like to make it clear that the allegations in Le lene relate to a small number of tickets for a handful of international artists," the company said. "Live Nation Italy has never been asked to list any tickets on secondary markets by Italian artists."

In the UK, a special meeting of the House of Commons Select Committee will discuss the secondary ticketing market on Tuesday morning.

The FanFair Alliance, which lobbies on behalf of artists for stronger regulation of the market, urged politicians in the UK to take note of Italy's stance.

"The situation in Italy has become a national scandal, and it appears the Italian government is now prepared to take action to protect fans and recalibrate the market," they said in a statement to the BBC. "That's to be applauded and... you can only hope that UK politicians are taking note.

"We feel the UK's ticket resale market is similarly out of control and will be repeating our call for the urgent enforcement of existing consumer law to flush out such bad practice and make ticket resale far more transparent, as well as measures to disarm and disrupt the online touts."

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