In a move designed to help artists and venues “participate in the true value of the tickets they sell,” Ticketmaster is planning to launch a new option for its clients to allow them to sell tickets through both Ticketmaster.com and the company’s resale marketplace TicketsNow.com.
Details of the new initiative have not yet been disclosed, but Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard gave some insight about the plan in a recent blog post on parent-company Live Nation’s Web site. The date of the launch also was not announced.
“As a leader in the live event space, we believe we have a responsibility to move the industry forward,” Hubbard wrote. “For us, this means making everything in the resale process better for the fan. That means that while we want to help fans find the best, legitimate and authentic options for them to go to their favorite events, both for primary and resold tickets, we also have an obligation to make sure unscrupulous scalpers don’t cheat the system and take away your choices unfairly (for example, we continue to work to stop bots from taking away huge amounts of tickets and we create ways that make it harder for those types of schemes to cheat fans). And we also want to help our clients participate in the true value of the tickets they sell if they so desire. So in the next few days we will be announcing an option – a choice, not a requirement – for our clients to connect the primary and secondary ticket markets. Stay tuned.”
When it comes to integrating TicketsNow with Ticketmaster, the company has largely failed, culminating in lawsuits, a settlement of a complaint with the former attorney general of New Jersey, and a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over unfair business practices.
Before Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation, Ticketmaster paid $265 million for TicketsNow, but at various times the resale marketplace is believed to have been on the block for sale.
Hubbard admits that mistakes were made in the integration’s sloppy past.
“In 2008, Ticketmaster bought a ticket resale company called TicketsNow, recognizing that an increasing number of fans wanted to expand their live entertainment ticket choices through resale ticketing,” Hubbard wrote. “Initially the companies proceeded to integrate primary and secondary in a way that, while well intentioned, was not up to the standards to which we hold ourselves today. We have learned from those mistakes. We stopped that integration until we felt we could re-invent it in a safe and fan-friendly way. Since then, we have spent two years working and thinking through the way to do resale the right way for our stakeholders; our clients and fans alike.”
In the blog post, Hubbard acknowledges some of the value the secondary ticket market offers fans, but also appears to take a swipe at the Fan Freedom Project, an advocacy group with backing from StubHub and more than 30,000 fans that opposes Ticketmaster’s restrictive paperless tickets.
“Unfortunately, in too many instances, the way ticket resale works today isn’t great for the fan,” Hubbard wrote. “Fans are often misled or duped by resellers who don’t operate with the fans’ best interests at heart. In fact, we’ve recently seen legislation introduced by the so-called fan freedom group that would actually make it easier for the unscrupulous scalpers to snatch up huge quantities of tickets.”
Fan Freedom Project president Jon Potter was traveling today, August 16, and could not be reached for comment, but a spokesperson for the group told TicketNews that it prepared a response.
Gary Adler, general counsel for the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB), told TicketNews that while the NATB is pleased to see Ticketmaster acknowledge the value of the secondary ticket market, the group remains skeptical about the company’s new initiative with TicketsNow.
“We are skeptical that they may try to funnel consumers toward a specific sales channel that they control,” Adler said. “They’ve tried to embrace and control the secondary market before, so we’ll see what this means. We want the secondary market to remain free and open to everyone, so we hope that this new Ticketmaster initiative will not be about thwarting competition.”