Marot Gets Promoters On Board

Anyone at the ILMC’s ticketing panel would struggle to believe that any two factions could agree on any aspect of the issue for very long, but the U.K.’s Concert Promoter’s Association is reportedly throwing in its lot with the Resale Rights Society.

Former Island Records chief Marc Marot formed the RRS in December and says his organisation believes the secondary ticketing market offers benefits to music fans and the live music industry alike. However, he says it’s unacceptable that none of the £200 million the secondary market generates per year finds it way back to the industry.

Marot’s organisation has already drawn flak from viagogo and Seatwave bigwigs. Seatwave chief exec Joe Cohen called it "a direct attempt by a few music managers to line their pockets at the expense of consumers" and viagogo chief Eric Baker has cited the often-used tout mantra that a fan owns his or her ticket and can choose how it is used.

The strategy is a change for the CPA. Having spent three years lobbying the government to outlaw touts, it seems to have accepted defeat following consistent reluctance from the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee to back legislation regulating the market.

"The CPA’s decision is fantastic news for the Resale Rights Society, the fans and the industry. It means we can begin to implement our strategy to protect fans and return some of the profit generated by ticket resellers to the event owners who enable their very existence," Marot commented.

At ILMC he told Pollstar he believes those skeptical about the RRS’ ability to extract money from the secondary market will eventually be won over.

"It’s better to be doing this than doing nothing at all," he explained, acknowledging that his strategy still needs some fine-tuning and his organisation needs to attract wider support. The CPA’s backing could be a major step forward.

The two main RRS objectives are to introduce uniformity in the secondary market through a kite-mark system for ticketing Web sites and to fight on behalf of artists and the live sector by negotiating a share in the proceeds of resold tickets.

One supporter is John Whittingdale MP, chairman of the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee, who said he’s pleased to learn that the CPA has agreed to support the scheme. He said he hopes the secondary ticket platforms will now also come on board.

"The Select Committee carried out an extensive inquiry into the secondary ticket market and identified real grounds for concern, both in terms of the need for increased consumer protection as well as to obtain some benefit for artists and rights holders," he said.

"We recognise that the secondary ticket market offers a valuable service to music and sports fans but there is also a need for the industry to regulate itself if it is to avoid government intervention," he said, which might raise the eyebrows of various promoters, venues and sports organisations that have pleaded for government intervention to no avail.

Marot sees some encouragement that eBay, which has continually refused to cooperate with the concert industry, has now softened its view and decided to enforce a 20 percent charity levy on resales of charity concert tickets.

"It shows they realise they are on very thin ice. But it is clearly not logical to put a levy on charity events but to refuse to put a levy on touts who are profiteering on the back of the live music industry," Marot said.

"Nevertheless we welcome eBay’s declaration that 20 percent is a fair rate. If that were extended across the whole £200m secondary ticketing market in music, we could be looking at an extra £40m a year coming back into the live music industry, supporting the infrastructure and supporting British music."