Woodward Attacks Ticket Resale

British politician Shaun Woodward has offered the live music industry a little more encouragement that the British government is coming around on its stance on touts by telling eBay to stop selling tickets for Radio 1’s Big Weekend.

The minister for creative industries and tourism – who many in the concert business see as being more sympathetic to their cause than department of media, culture and sport boss Tessa Jowell – said eBay should stop selling the tickets because the artists aren’t making any money from the free event.

The BBC distributed 35,000 tickets by ballot for the free Big Weekend festival in Preston May 19-20 featuring Razorlight, Scissor Sisters, and Kaiser Chiefs. But some were soon being traded on eBay for as much as £510 a pair.

At press time, the auction site still had four pages of tickets averaging about £300 a pair.

Leading promoters and venue operators are cautiously encouraged that the government has set up a parliamentary inquiry into the secondary market.

The 11-strong group will be chaired by John Whittingdale, Conservative MP for Maldon & East Chelmsford. He’s also made some effort to understand the music industry’s problems.

During his time as shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Whittingdale joined a few British Phonographic Industry raids on pirate CD and DVD factories.

The MPs will look at whether the resale of tickets is acceptable in principle and whether the ban on touting at football matches (and the 2012 Olympics) should be extended to other events.

The committee is seeking the views of promoters, ticket agencies and other interested parties and has asked for written submissions by June 6th.