Madonna Sparks Another Ticket Row

Viagogo’s exclusive deal as the official premium and secondary ticketing partner for Madonna’s Sticky And Sweet Tour has sparked another row in the U.K., with Resale Rights Society chairman-designate Marc Marot describing it as a "sorry mess."

"Even an artist as powerful as Madonna is not able to control the chaos in the ticketing market," he said in a June 3 statement that detailed why the RRS feels the deal is causing confusion in the marketplace.

"The nature of these exclusives is meaningless because they could not prevent tickets being resold on hundreds of other sites where Madonna would not get a share of revenues," he said.

The statement calls Viagogo’s "official" status in the secondary market effectively meaningless because ticketing consultant Tixdaq is listing 3,361 tickets for her Wembley show on rival sites including Seatwave, eBay and GetMeIn.

The statement from the RSS, which represents 400 musicians and their managers, also says the Madonna deal is confusing for consumers because in some cases viagogo isn’t offering the best deal.

General admission standing tickets were still available from the official primary ticket agency Ticketmaster for £75, but viagogo had them for as much as £196.

Although viagogo is the official seller of the "Candy Shop" hospitality tickets – featuring a champagne reception, three-course meal with wine and coffee, open bar during the pre-show hospitality and one-hour post-show party in a private suite at the concert venue – some of the £550 packages the company has sold are now turning up on Seatwave for £999 each.

Viagogo chief Eric Baker appears reluctant to comment, although he was hard to reach apparently because he is on his honeymoon. But earlier in the week he responded to Marot’s call for a "blanket right," where artists get a little piece of every ticket transaction right across the board, by telling Financial Times that it’s "just as ludicrous" as authors or car manufacturers wanting a share of second-hand sales.

He told the paper that Madonna and Live Nation, which is her management company and concert promoter, partnered with viagogo because it guaranteed security and ticket delivery for fans.

"[The RRS] are just upset because they’re not getting paid," he told FT.

"Obviously Madonna, Live Nation and viagogo believe that [ours] is a much better solution for everyone involved."