UK Labour Party Promises To Cap Resale Price With Election Win

Keir Starmer Delivers Speech At The Labour Creatives Conference
Labour Leader Keir Starmer delivers a speech at the Labour Creatives Conference at Guildhall School of Music and Drama on March 13, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The leader of the UK Labour Party, Keir Starmer, said his party would cap the price charged for tickets on the secondary market, and hold ticketing platforms accountable – if Labour wins the next UK general election. “We can’t let access to culture be at the mercy of ticket touts who drive up the prices. So a Labour government will cap resale prices so fans can see the acts that they love at a fair price,” he said during his speech at a March 13 Labour conference dedicated to the creative industries. A general election must be held by January 2025; Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, a Conservative, has so far dodged calls for an early election.

The UK biz responded favourably to the speech. Ed Sheeran manager Stuart Camp, director of Grumpy Old Management, called Starmer’s announcement “fantastic news. We have spent years fighting the scourge of online ticket touting and keeping prices fair for fans. The impact of these policies should be monumentally positive, and help to reset the UK’s live music market for the benefit of artists and their audiences.” Ian McAndrew, CEO of Wildlife Entertainment, whose clients include Arctic Monkeys, Fontaines D.C., and Royal Blood, commented, “I fully welcome and applaud the commitment from Labour to introduce legislation to reform the broken resale marketplace which has blighted our industry for years. As a founder member of the FanFair Alliance, we have campaigned for over a decade to encourage change while introducing measures to try and protect fans. The introduction of new legislation will better protect fans from the unscrupulous practices of online touts.”

Stuart Galbraith, CEO of KMJ Entertainment and co-founder of LIVE, commented, “Alongside other FanFair supporters, Kilimanjaro has called for these kinds of consumer-friendly policies for years. As a company, we work incredibly hard to stop our events being hijacked by online ticket touts, but the enforcement of new legislation is the only way to fully clamp down on these rogue traders and the platforms they sell across.”

FanFair Alliance has worked closely with UK parliament member Sharon Hodgson and other politicians since its 2016 founding to help end industrial-scale online ticket touting. Labour’s new commitments on ticketing would effectively introduce proposals first made by Hodgson via a Private Member’s Bill in 2011.

Hodgson said, “My office is regularly contacted by victims of the parasitic secondary ticketing market, while artists and venues are so regularly denied fair compensation and the opportunity to flourish. With Labour’s recognition that only new legislation will properly fix a broken and discredited market, this feels like a real breakthrough moment.”

The world’s biggest secondary platform, viagogo, has long emphasized that it thinks of itself as a regulated marketplace already. 

“We see this as an opportunity to underscore the effectiveness of the regulatory framework of the resale marketplace, which has been shaped by years of government review and oversight. A safe, secure, and transparent environment for UK consumers has been established. We protect consumer’s rights to buy and sell tickets in a secure, regulated marketplace,” a company spokesperson said. “On viagogo, payment is contingent on the buyer successfully entering the event, and every transaction is guaranteed, ensuring buyers either gain entry or receive a refund. Significant evidence demonstrates that imposing resale restrictions and removing safeguards forces fans to unverified sites and social media, exposing them to a high risk of fraud without any protection. We believe that a comprehensive conversation, focused on practical and effective regulation across the entire ticketing industry, is in the best interest of consumers.”