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Online petition calls for less secondary ticketing regulation

By | Published on Monday 8 February 2016

Ticket Tout

If, like me, you’re one of those people who loves the ticket touts and hates Mumford & Sons, well, get your petitioning fingers ready. Because there’s a campaign going on over there on the internet calling on the government to ensure those self-serving popstars and sinister concert promoters don’t get their way and bring to an end that long-held tradition that all music fans enjoy: ie being able to buy tickets to your favourite artists’ shows at a massive, wallet-eating mark-up.

As much previously reported, the government is currently reviewing the secondary ticketing market – ie the online marketplace for reselling tickets – as a result of commitments made in last year’s Consumer Rights Act. Professor Michael Waterson is leading the review, and various promoters and artists are calling for tighter regulation of the resale market, among them pesky Mumford and his sons.

But “as fans who regularly attend live events, we urge [Waterson] to support our right to resell tickets without restrictions being imposed by event organisers” says a petition posted to the website last week, so far signed by 1184 people. “Event organisers are lobbying hard to make it easier to cancel or void tickets that have been offered for resale without their permission” it goes on. “But we believe that fans should be free to resell tickets that they have purchased wherever they want”.

Continues the petition: “Further restrictions on resale will mean that many fans will be unable to sell tickets they bought for events that they can no longer attend. In many other cases, it will push people away from legitimate resellers and into the arms of street touts, where no protections apply”.

I’m not sure the former is true, given that many anti-tout promoters provide an endorsed resale platform where tickets can be resold at face value, and that practice could be extended across the live sector. Though that second point is possibly true. It’s certainly the standard argument put forward by secondary ticketing websites when trying to counter calls for more regulation of the online touts.

Which is something music fan and petition organiser Simon Gentry possibly picked up listening to the recent CMU Podcast conversation on the topic. Or maybe in his role as Director of Corporate And Public Affairs at MWW, the PR firm working on the Fan Freedom UK campaign, the pro-secondary ticketing initiative that spun off from its StubHub-backed US counterpart last year. One or the other. I bet it was the CMU Podcast.

Anyway, “please support the fans, please support the right to resale” concludes the petition. “This is a BS petition marketed by StubHub and other ticker resale websites – anyone who signs this is an idiot”, adds the first commentator.

Sign up, or not, here.