Hot on the heels of England’s Glastonbury Festival using a photo ticket to thwart scalpers, Live Nation U.K. and other music promoters are trying to persuade British officials to step up efforts crack down on ticket “touts.”
Ticket scalping, called “touting,” is legal in the U.K., except for resale of tickets to soccer matches, but Live Nation U.K. and the others believe that the practice unfairly drives up the prices of tickets beyond what most concertgoers can afford, according to published reports. At a recent meeting where promoters voiced their gripes to members of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, representatives attended from Clear Channel Entertainment, Mean Fiddler Music Group, SJM Concerts and Live Nation U.K.
Promoters have unsuccessfully lobbied the British government for more than two years to make touting illegal. Interestingly, some U.K. promoters are not shy about auctioning off tickets to some of their best seats, a trend that is increasing but that differs from Live Nation auctions in the U.S. Live Nation allows fans to bid on tickets that promoters, artists or venues sell. In this case, buyers are not bidding on specific seats or rows, but simply on the chance to purchase tickets to a show. Seating is determined after the bid is placed based on other bids for similar seats.
An attempt was unsuccessful at press time to reach Stuart Galbraith, managing director of Live Nation U.K.
For this year’s Glastonbury Festival, June 22, 23 and 24, ticket buyers had to register online in February and early March to qualify for the chance to purchase tickets, which go on sale April 1. Successful buyers will have a digital photo of themselves printed on their ticket, which organizers believe will stop the resale of tickets by scalpers and on websites such as eBay. The move has been criticized for completely shutting out potential ticket buyers who either missed the registration deadline, or are unlucky in nabbing tickets when they first go on sale and would gladly pay a broker for the chance to attend. Also out of luck were companies that in the past have bought blocks of tickets to give out to clients or employees.