Ticketmaster is finding itself embroiled in controversy North of the Border.
The world’s dominant ticketing company is reportedly being criticized by some Canadian officials and concert fans as the country looks toward cracking down on ticket scalping. The critics are focusing primarily on upcoming Elton John shows in the country.
At issue are tickets that fans were allegedly finding on TicketsNow at a premium when they had initially gone to Ticketmaster looking for tickets. Ticketmaster was criticized earlier in the year for a similar situation with Radiohead tickets where fans were directed to the TicketsNow website from the Ticketmaster website when the show sold out.
“I find it troubling that Ticketmaster owns their own subsidiary that’s doing it,” Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan told the Regina Leader-Post newspaper. His office is beginning to look into altering ticket reselling legislation, which currently prohibits resale, to better protect fans. The legislation is rarely, if ever enforced. “You can’t help but wonder, did they get access to that, did they have a preferential way of acquiring those tickets?”
He added, “What we’re troubled by is what appears to be preferential treatment to bulk ticket resellers that appear to have some kind of access that the rest of the public doesn’t have.”
The criticism prompted Ticketmaster to respond by vowing to step up lobbying efforts to have ticket resale laws clarified in the country. “You can’t regulate away the laws of supply and demand and, unfortunately for a lot of shows, particularly now in the internet era, demand just far, far exceeds supply,” Ticketmaster Senor Vice President of Corporate Communications Joe Freeman told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
TicketNews’s attempts to reach Freeman and Ticketmaster spokesperson Albert Lopez were unsuccessful.
During a meeting with ticket brokers in Las Vegas in May, Ticketmaster and TicketsNow officials essentially said the practice would continue but they blamed representatives of the artists for placing tickets on TicketsNow that fans could not gain through Ticketmaster.
As a result, Ticketmaster has been asked to remove the TicketsNow links from some of its sites in Canada. Kevin Donnelly, manager of the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, reportedly made the request, but he could not be reached for comment.