Following a growing trend of tickets for high-demand events being sold for “rip-off prices” on secondary websites, ticket touts will now find it harder to turn a profit.
Consumer minister Andrew Griffiths said the government was already taking steps to “crack down” on ticket touts using bots to bulk buy tickets for resale. Now, from April onwards, ticket resellers will be required to provide purchasers with additional detailed information about tickets – including the location of seats, disclosure of any restrictions and the original price of the ticket.
Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries, commented: “We want real fans to get the chance to see their favourite stars at a fair price. That is why we are clamping down on ticket touts using bots to buy huge numbers of tickets, only to sell them on at rip-off prices.”
Research conducted by AudienceNet/Music Ally in October 2017 revealed the depth of public concern with mass-scale ticket touting on secondary websites such as Viagogo and StubHub. Some 80 per cent believed secondary ticketing to be a “rip off”.
Furthermore, 52 per cent said it was hard to distinguish between authorised ticket sellers and unauthorised ones, while 43 per cent said Google was the first port of call in the search for tickets.
Shortly before the new government legislation was announced, Google announced it was changing its approach by requiring secondary ticketing platforms meet a range of criteria before being able to access the search engine’s advertising platforms.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme, Google spokesperson Jennifer Kaiser said: “We felt like we needed to do more to make sure the advertising of secondary ticketing is clear on our platform.
“To carry on advertising on Google, secondary sites can’t use words like ‘official’, they can’t use the artist or venue name in the website URL, and they’ll need to clearly say they are a reseller at the top of their page.”
Google’s announcement followed a request from British artist Ed Sheeran for the search engine to do more to stop secondary ticket sales for the singer’s gigs. Re-sale tickets for sold-out Sheeran shows have been selling at almost ten times face value on these kind of sites.
Griffiths also revealed the government will be publishing a consumer green paper later in 2018 – examining how it can help people to engage with markets to find the best deals.
FanFair Alliance, which was set up to “unite” members of music and creative communities who wish to take a stand against “industrial-scale” online ticket touting, welcomed the news and said: “If properly enforced, we believe these clarifications and updates will better protect UK audiences, artists and event organisers.
“They should also provide greater clarity to secondary ticketing platforms of their legal responsibilities, and increase overall transparency in what is still a murky and under-regulated sector.”