Last week, Ed Sheeran fans were irate after his promotion company, Kilimanjaro, attempted to stamp out ticket touts on his ‘Divide’ tour. Although we support cheaper tickets, Kilimanjaro’s tactic turns out to have been more self-motivated than people originally thought.
Fans were left hundreds of pounds out of pocket after Kilimanjaro put rules in place to prevent resale of tickets on anywhere but their designated fan-to-fan resale sites. After having bought tickets, if fans could not then attend, their only option was to resell through one of these sites, where ticket prices were firmly fixed at face value and a 10% resale fee on top.
The problem with this was that seats for each show were often still available to buy at face value up until the day of the gig. Why would anyone buy a ticket for face value plus a 10% fee when a face value ticket exists? Of course, fans who needed to sell tickets were unable to shift their spare tickets on these websites. Last-minute buyers had no reason to use the fan-to-fan websites and spend more. As a result, a lot of people who needed to sell on their Ed Sheeran tickets were left out of pocket.
The fact is, although Ed and his team at Kilimanjaro claimed to be protecting their fans from being ripped off by touts, they were doing exactly opposite. They were ripping them off themselves. Fans had little chance to be reimbursed for the hard-earned money they had originally spent on a concert they now could not attend by denying them the right to sell on of their own accord even when at a discount.
Not surprisingly, Kilimanjaro responded to complaints claiming they were simply “trying to find a way to be fair” to fans by implementing the scheme. Yet the promotion company could not explain why sellers were not permitted to sell tickets at exactly face value or sell them back to the box office.
The reality is, no promoter is going to admit this argument is about profits, plain and simple - instead they hide behind the disguise of fan’s rights.
This is just another example of the shocking double standards that exist and are tolerated in the music industry. Yes, some people take advantage of opportunities to capitalise on ticket demand, just like there are people who capitalise on the resale of a house, a car or a piece of art. However, do we ever hear the same level of public disdain directed to Auto Trader? You certainly wouldn’t find Audi stopping consumers from selling on their car for a reduced price, because once you have paid for a product it is yours to keep, sell or gift as you wish.
If someone wants to sell a ticket for ten times the original price or at half price, that’s their decision, however disagreeable. It should not be the decision of Ed Sheeran and his promoters once a sale has been made. What’s more, it is even more unacceptable and hypocritical that Sheeran and Kilimanjaro have vocally used this new ticketing strategy as part of a campaign to “fight” ticket touts, protect the rights and pockets of his fans, when really, they are just protecting themselves plus 10% a pop!