Ticketing Companies Under Scrutiny In Italy, Spain

Live Nation and Vivo have been accused of fraud in Italy, while Ticketmaster is facing similar charges in Spain.  

Matteo Viviani – Matteo Viviani
screen shot from the Italian journalist’s ticketing expose on TV program “Le Iene”

In Milan, Italy, the state prosecution has accused the country’s biggest ticketing operators, including Live Nation and Vivo Concerti (under the old management of Corrado Rizzotto), of two things: misleading customers about the actual sales figures of concert tickets, making them believe they were close to selling out, and directly passing on tickets to secondary sites, as uncovered by Italian TV program “Le Iene.”

The proceedings were reported on milano.repubblica.it, La Fatto Quotidiano and rockol.it, among others.

There’s a back story: at the beginning of 2016, after unauthorized Bruce Springsteen tickets ended up on secondary sites.

Claudio Trotta, owner of Italian promotion company Barley Arts, filed a criminal complaint with the Public Prosecutor in Milan against numerous secondary ticketing websites.

The complaint led to charges against unknown persons for computer fraud and impersonation crimes.

In October that year, after two Coldplay shows at Milan’s  sold out in no time, authorities and Italian authors’ rights society SIAE suspected Live Nation Italy and Eventim’s Ticketone, the only authorized ticket seller, of putting large amounts of tickets onto the secondary market.

Up until July 30, Eventim’s TicketOne was Italy’s designated online sales channel. Trotta told spettakolo.it that he did not renew the agreement – contrary to the other major concert agencies in Italy – to remain open for alternatives.

“What motivation, if not a financial one, requires exclusivity?” he asked in the interview. He also pointed out that the agreement to make TicketOne the country’s only online sales channel was made 15 years ago and a lot has changed since then, not least market consolidation, which brought companies into Italy that did not honor the agreement to sell exclusively though TicketOne.

In Madrid, Spain, city council has urged the region’s department of consumer affairs to take Ticketmaster to court over a complaint by the country’s consumer rights organization FACUA, which had launched an investigation after tickets for shows by Bruce Springsteen and , both promoted by Doctor Music, appeared on secondary sites right after the beginning of the official on-sale last year.

Similar to Italy, city council accuses the ticket agency of falsely leading customers to believe shows were close to selling out, and illicitly directing them to its own secondary ticketing site Seatwave, where primary tickets were placed at above face value prices.