Scalping news: Olympic measures to ban ticket touts to in the UK, Louis CK beats scalpers

Can the Olympics help to ban ticket touts in the UK?

Melvin Benn, the managing director of Festival Republic, which runs the Reading/Leeds, Electric Picnic and Big Chill festivals, has called on the English government to regulate the scalping industry using the same measure that have been imposed on secondary sales of Olympic tickets.

Benn, who is also the founder and creator of Latitude festival, has written an op-ed for The Independent that attacks the government for failing to regulate legalised scalping in the UK. Under the headline “Great rock’n’roll swindlers are still cashing in”, the festival boss notes that the British government has happily accepted the International Olympic Committee’s rule regulating the secondary sale of London 2012 Olympics tickets, but “not extend it to every sports, arts and cultural organisation in the country.”

Benn writes that Festival Republic provides “thousands of people with the opportunity to see their favourite artists and take in a selection of entertainment from across the arts, all for one ticket price that we believe is fair and affordable” and complains that “I don’t, unlike ticket touts, want to see ordinary people priced out of going to see concerts, plays or matches in a time of austerity.”

Of course, his argument isn’t purely altruistic as he also notes that “it’s very unfair that the profits made on secondary ticket sales go not to the organisations that take on the risk of mounting cultural events like Latitude, which brings together hundreds of bands, theatre companies, writers and artists, nor to the charities we work with. Instead, they go straight into the pockets of touts, who in turn then pay no tax on their profits.”

Benn rejects calls for the introduction of new security measures like photo ticketing claiming that “while these might work from a technical perspective, I can’t help but think that they risk taking away a great deal of the fun and spontaneity that’s an integral part of the experience of going to a gig or festival.”

Louis CK takes on the scalpers and ticketing agencies

In related scalping news, comedian Louis CK has taken on scalpers and ticketing agencies by selling tickets for his upcoming American tour directly to fans without involving any third-parties.

“I’m trying something new, building on the fun, success and fan-benefit of selling my content online,” CK announced on his website. “Making my shows affordable has always been my goal but two things have always worked against that. High ticket charges and ticket re-sellers marking up the prices. Some ticketing services charge more than 40% over the ticket price and, ironically, the lower I’ve made my ticket prices, the more scalpers have bought them up, so the more fans have paid for a lot of my tickets.”

CK has promised to deal harshly with any one trying to on-sell the tickets warning potential scalpers that “if you try to sell the ticket anywhere for anything above the original price, we have the right to cancel your ticket (and refund your money). this is something I intend to enforce. There are some other rules you may find annoying but they are meant to prevent someone who has no intention of seeing the show from buying the ticket and just flipping it for twice the price from a thousand miles away. Some of these rules may be a pain in your ass, but please be patient. My goal here is that people coming to see my shows are able to pay a fair price and that they be paying just for a ticket. Not also paying an exorbitant fee for the privilege of buying a ticket.”

According to CK, implementing this new ticketing system has been “fascinating and difficult” and he’s making “less than I would have made if I did a standard tour, using the usual very excellent but expensive ticketing service. In some cities I’ve had to play smaller venues and do more shows”. Despite the extra work CK says he’ll still be “mak[ing] a whole lot more than my grandfather who taught math and raised chickens in Michigan”.

Ticketmaster chief executive Nathan Hubbard has praised C.K.’s approach declaring, via Twitter, that “1) We love what Louis C.K. is doing and support it – wish more people had the stones to do all-in ticketing. 2) We have been a huge champion of protecting what he is trying to do – delivering a great seat at a fair price to an actual fan. 3) It sucks that StubHub is trying to pass laws making what @LouisCKis doing illegal. Hope fans support him. Go get ‘em, Louis. ”

Coldplay tells fans “don’t panic”

Tickets to Coldplay’s stadium tour across Australia and New Zealand were quickly snapped up when they went on sale last month.

With just a few tickets remaining on sale the promoters and the band’s international production manager have assessed the venues’ seating arrangements and committed to releasing more tickets to release for sale. The exact numbers will be determined once the staging specifications are finalised.

Chugg Entertainment has released a statement advising fans to ignore tickets offered by scalpers: “Be patient, as there will be a number of legitimate tickets released in the coming weeks.”

Check out FasterLouder’s report on scalping in Australia featuring interviews with Kimbra, Jimmy Barnes, Danny Rogers from St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Chugg Entertainment’s Managing Director Matthew Lazarus-Hall, and a scalper.

Ticket Scalping The State Of The Union