FanFair Alliance UK Reignites Secondary Ticketing Campaign

Tim Clayton/Fairfax Media via Getty Images
Ticket touts have been around for as long as tickets have existed. It became a real issue, since technology allowed some of them to sell at a huge mark-up and scale. (Picture by Tim Clayton/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

The UK’s FanFair Alliance has relaunched its campaign agains ticket touting, following the UK government’s rejection of recommendations made by the Competition & Markets Authority to tighten the laws around secondary ticketing.

FanFair will now refocus on three specific goals: (1) New legislation to outlaw ticket resale for profit, following the lead of countries like Ireland, France, Australia, and others; (2) Urging Google/YouTube and other online platforms to stop promoting resale websites, and rather help fans find official ticket sources; (3) for the live music business to boost their support of consumer-friendly resale services.

See: French Court Holds Google Liable For Advertising Tickets Without Permission

At a Sept. 11 meeting of the UK’s parliamentary group on ticket abuse, FanFair called for a “reset in how politicians, regulators and the music business look to tackle ongoing problems in this market,” according to a press release from the organization.

The alliance stated: “Despite a series of long-running investigations and actions by bodies including the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that have forced so-called secondary ticketing websites to improve their business practices, it is widely recognized that these platforms continue to benefit from large-scale ticket touts – many of whom acquire tickets through unlawful means.”

The evidence gathered by FanFair exposed over the years includes speculative ticket listings, fraudulent advertizing, software-led mass sales, and many more practices that cause issues for fans – from being ripped of at the point of purchase to being denied entry into events.

A series of recommendations by the Competition & Markets Authority in August 2021 included a ban on spec sales, and making platforms accountable for incorrect information about tickets listed for sale.

The Department of Business & Trade, however, rejected these recommendations earlier this year, opting to prioritize what it described as competition in the market to give consumers choice and flexibility.

See: Viagogo Addresses Concerns Of UK Competition And Markets Authority

This continues to expose ticket buyers to “unlawful activities,” according to the FanFair Alliance, which added, that “it remains a source of immense frustration that Google and YouTube continue to permit ticket touting websites to buy themselves to the top of search results – signposting fans away from official sources of tickets.”

Outlawing the for-profit resale of tickets, while allowing the face-value resale for anyone not able to attend a show, was one way to go forward, according to FanFair, which noted, that, in Ireland, where legislation to ban ticket touting was introduced in 2021, “Dublin shows for artists including Taylor Swift, Coldplay and Arctic Monkeys appear to be ‘delisted’ by US-owned websites such as viagogo and StubHub.”

The Alliance’s three-point plan, laid out above, has received wide industry support from the likes of

13 Artists
John Rostron, Association of Independent Festivals
Alex Bruford, ATC Live
Brian Message, ATC Management
CAA Music
Paul Crockford, Crockford Management
Stephen Taverner, East City Management
Adam Tudhope, Everybody’s Management
David Martin, CEO, Featured Artists Coalition
Daniel Ealam, FKP Scorpio
Stuart Camp, Grumpy Old Management
Harvey Goldsmith
Alec Mckinlay & Marcus Russell, Ignition Management
Sybil Bell, Independent Venue Week
Richard Jones, Key Music Management
Stuart Galbraith, Kilimanjaro Live
Harry Magee, Modest! Management
Mark Bent & Natasha Gregory, Mother Artists
Annabella Coldrick, Chief Executive, Music Managers Forum
Music Venues Trust
Paul Craig, Nostromo Management
Jon Ollier, One Fiinix
Phantom Music Management
Angus Baskerville & Hayley Morrison, Pure Represents
Tom Kiehl, Interim CEO, UK Music
Gareth Griffiths, Director Partnerships and Sponsorship at Virgin Media O2
Ian McAndrew, Wildlife Entertainment

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