Harvey Talks Viagogo

While viagogo chief Eric Baker may not have gained points with Harvey Goldsmith when announcing a deal as Madonna’s secondary ticketing seller, the famed U.K. promoter took the news with composure.

"In today’s marketplace nothing surprises me anymore," Goldsmith told Pollstar after the announcement that StubHub and U.K.-based viagogo would be the official ticket resellers for Madonna’s upcoming "Sticky And Sweet" dates.

"I am fundamentally against this practice; however, I cannot stop other promoters or artists dealing in this way," Goldsmith explained. Meanwhile, Baker was claiming that one of the world’s best-known superstars "embraces what we do" and says "this is the future."

"I think that speaks volumes that we’re no longer talking about the future; we’re talking about the present. These other people are talking about the past," Baker told Pollstar, pointing out that "the British Parliament and government approves of what we do."

Whether he intended it, it was the sort of comment that would rub more salt in the wounds of such anti-secondary marketers as Goldsmith, Rob Ballantine from Manchester’s SJM Concerts and Geoff Ellis from Scotland’s DF Concerts.

"Welcome to the Wild West," Ballantine said in January, when the Select Committee on Ticketing recommended that the government take no legal measures against touts.

He conceded that the CPA doesn’t have "the time or resources (or willpower) to continue working with politicians," and therefore "we need to be realists."

"To some extent, it is Madonna’s fans that will pay more for those tickets put into the secondary ticket sellers’ hands. They are the losers," Goldsmith said. "It’s simple. The artists and their managers can stop this in a heartbeat because – when they speak out against it – we can act. But they’re too greedy."

Goldsmith, along with the National Arenas’ Association, still harbours the belief that the government’s chosen course of action may mean the ticket price could soon be controlled entirely by the ticket-seller.

They feel this could lead to a huge increase in the number of bent platforms, more people getting ripped off and – even when it comes to one of the "crown jewel" events – shed-loads of tickets for resale on various rogue Internet sites.