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Adele tickets go on sale, battle against touts begins

By | Published on Wednesday 2 December 2015


The first wave of pre-sale tickets for Adele’s UK and Ireland tour dates went on sale yesterday. Attempts to stop tickets from appearing on secondary sites were largely successful, though the sale did not pass without issue.

Fans looking for early access to tickets were asked to register with Adele’s website, in part giving the singer’s team the ability to weed out suspected touts from gaining access. Those entering their details were also warned that “the resale of tickets will not be tolerated”. And this seems to have been somewhat successful – while tickets have emerged at inflated prices on resale sites, the proportion is lower than that one might usually expect to see.

“We were carefully monitoring all of the registrations to try and spot anything suspicious”, Adele’s manager Jonathan Dickins told Music Business Worldwide. “This is a show for fans who’ve waited years for Adele to perform. Everyone working on it just wants the best outcome for those fans”.

Presumably the ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards touting instigated by Adele’s management also applies to all the people within the supply chain for this tour, which may also explain the low number of touted tickets. Artists themselves, their management, agents, promoters, primary ticket sellers and other business partners are known to sometimes tout their own tickets on the resale sites.

But the real test for keeping tickets off secondary sites will come when they go on general sale this Friday. The pre-sale batch was only offered to registered purchasers through Songkick. The remaining tickets will not be offered in such a controlled manner.

It will lighten the load on Songkick’s servers though, with the “extreme load” as fans rushed to buy tickets yesterday causing issues, the company admitted. Some Adele fans reported having been offered tickets different from those they selected when they reached the purchase screen, while others said they were shown the personal details of other customers.

“Songkick was responsible for selling 40% of tickets directly to fans, a portion of whom were unfortunately able to preview other users’ shopping carts for brief periods due to extreme load”, said the company in a statement. “At no time was anyone able to access another person’s password, nor their payment or credit card details (which are not retained by Songkick). We take the security of our users and Adele’s fans very seriously, and we apologise for the alarm we have caused to those purchasers who experienced issues”.

However, some of those affected told BBC News that they had been shown other people’s full addresses and credit card numbers.

Still, the company said that of the 57,000 tickets it sold yesterday, less than 2% made it to resale sites. It added that ticket numbers that could be identified on those sites would also be cancelled. Though this, of course, is often easier said than done. It is now law that some key information about a ticket being resold must be declared, though touts can usually avoid revealing actual seat or ticket numbers, often only stating seating block.

New regulations for secondary ticketing were added to the Consumer Rights Acts before it was passed earlier this year, though many argue that those rules do not go far enough. The government is now conducting a new review of the secondary ticketing market, and the issues that surround it.

For a full discussion of those issues, listen to this recent edition of the CMU Podcast.