In a month that has seen yet further confusion in the secondary ticket market with fans being turned away from high profile concerts around the world, from Liam Gallagher in Manchester to the Black Keys in Los Angeles, the ongoing and inconsistent situation is only leaving one group worse off – the fans.
As was reported in the Manchester Evening News last week, a large number of fans tried to attend the Liam Gallagher concert in Manchester, only to have their tickets refused on entry for not having been purchased directly from Ticketmaster.
One fan explained how he had treated his wife to a birthday surprise, leaving their young children with a babysitter for the night and booking a hotel near the venue. He, like many others that night, were left outside the venue in the rain as they were refused entry, despite having bought tickets at £400 from Stub Hub.
This is just one story, but there are many other similar ones out there of fans having their evenings ruined around the world as promoters, event organisers and the musicians themselves attempt to control the market surrounding live music.
Often sites such as Stub-Hub, Viagogo and others are criticised for enabling tickets to be sold at inflated prices. However, as they have continuously reminded their critics, these sites are merely selling platforms, no different from Autotrader for cars, SkyScanner for flights or Amazon for everything else.
By banning individuals from buying and selling tickets as they please, the artists and their promoters are withdrawing individual ownership rights from their fans and are seeking to make even more money for themselves. Indeed, leaked emails earlier this year from leading event promoter, LiveNation, showed that they were restricting the sale of primary tickets in order to inflate prices themselves on their secondary markets.
In another recent example of double standards the Black Keys in Los Angeles publicly claimed they were capping tickets to only $25 each for the sake of the fans and put a strict ban on any secondary tickets. Yet a few days later when tickets had ‘sold out,’ the band were found to be selling to VIP packages at over $500 for tickets that were no different to the standard option. It is yet another example of one rule for some, and quite another for others.
Until this situation is resolved, the real fans, will continue to lose out. It won’t be long before fans turn their backs on mainstream artists entirely as they increasingly recognise the delicate balance in the relationship between artist and fan has been irrevocably damaged.