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Ticketmaster defends the Adele tickets on its secondary sites

By | Published on Wednesday 13 January 2016


Live music giant Live Nation is in an interesting position when it comes to the long-running debate over secondary ticketing – ie the resale of tickets for profit online – which has become a loud debate in the UK once again.

Some promoters in the firm’s concerts division, and managers in its management agencies, do seem to be down on the touts. While its ticketing firm Ticketmaster has innovated in the paperless tickets domain, which some artists and promoters have used in a bid to combat reselling on the secondary market.

At the same time, Ticketmaster is also an active player in the secondary ticketing domain, owning both Get Me In! and Seatwave in the UK. It’s that latter part of the business that tends to be most vocal when secondary ticketing is being discussed in political circles.

Last weekend, the Sunday Times noted that Ticketmaster had been a primary seller of tickets for upcoming Adele shows. Adele and her team, of course, have been going the extra mile to try to stop people touting tickets to her highly in-demand concerts. In addition to Songkick’s efforts to stop pre-sale tickets going to the touts, the Times says that buyer names will be printed on tickets and fans have been told ID will be required at the venue.

Basically, the aim is seemingly to stop anyone with a touted ticket gaining access, in a bid to stop people buying tickets from online touts in the first place. But then over on Ticketmaster’s Get Me In! site tickets for Adele shows are on sale at over ten times face value. Even though, in its guise as a primary seller of Adele tickets, Ticketmaster knows the lengths the singer is going to in a bid to stop those with touted tickets from getting in.

Asked about this, Ticketmaster conceded to the Times that there was a “small risk” that customers buying Adele tickets via Get Me In! might not gain entry on the night. But it said that fact was stated on its resale site, and those with touted tickets would get a refund if entry was refused. The newspaper added that Ticketmaster said it thought the terms and conditions on Adele’s tickets were “unfair and unenforceable”. Which is potentially a contentious viewpoint.

Approached by Pollstar for further comment, another Ticketmaster spokesperson defended secondary ticketing, arguing that tickets reselling at ten times face value was just down to the free market. “The word marketplace is very important here”, they said. “As our resale sites act as a platform for individuals to list their unwanted tickets at a price that they choose, these tickets can then be purchased by someone who is happy with that price”.

Acknowledging that Adele had teamed up with Twickets so that fans can resell unwanted tickets at face value, the Ticketmaster rep added: “Putting a cap on resale mark-up on the face value of a ticket is unworkable; the internet has no borders, and if you cap resale, the most sought-after tickets will be made available ‘underground’ or offshore. Consumers want the right to be able to sell tickets at a market price and the right to pay over the face value of a ticket if they really want to attend a sold out events”.

Ticketmaster’s statements are pretty much in line with the arguments it and other secondary ticketing site operators put forward whenever there is a call for tighter regulation of the online resale market. Those calls are definitely going to continue in the UK this year, and it remains to be seen if those arguments stand.

Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how strictly Team Adele force the anti-tout rules once her tour gets underway, and whether there really will be disappointed fans at the door who, while possibly able to get their £1000 back, will still miss out on the show.

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