Secondary ticketing site StubHub has questioned the motives behind Ticketmaster’s decision to close its resale sites in the UK and across Europe.
Ticketmaster sites Get Me In! and Seatwave will be replaced with a new fan-to-fan ticket exchange, set to kick-off this October in the UK and Ireland and early 2019 in Europe. This replacement means that StubHub and Viagogo will be the only remaining major secondary ticketing platforms.
“This move by Ticketmaster is secondary ticketing in all but name,” Regional Manager Northern EMEA at StubHub, Wayne Grierson, told Music Week. “It is simply a step to consolidate the ticketing market and will ultimately mean that consumers have less choice. We have seen the impact of similar approaches by Ticketmaster in the US, which makes the ticketing experience less transparent, since the total availability of tickets for an event are not disclosed.
“If the goal is providing fans with the best purchasing experience, it should be far easier to get tickets in the first place. Tens of thousands of tickets – as many as 54% on average in some markets – never even go on public sale.”
He explained that StubHub believes in an “open, competitive, transparent secondary ticketing market” in order to best serve customers.
On the other hand, Ticketmaster’s Managing Director Andrew Parsons believes they made the right decision, noting that they have taken action because “we know fans are tired of seeing tickets being snapped up just to find them being resold for a profit on secondary websites.” Parsons said that this new ticket exchange will allow fans to sell tickets they can’t use directly from their Ticketmaster account – either for their original price, or less.
“Closing down our secondary sites and creating a ticket exchange on Ticketmaster has always been our long-term plan,” Parsons said. “Selling tickets through Ticketmaster is really simple: We do all the hard work and outline the maximum that can be charged for the ticket – and it doesn’t cost fans a penny to sell them.”
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The campaigning group The FanFair Alliance welcomes the news, saying that Ticketmaster’s decision to shut down their resell platforms brings “a genuine transformation of the secondary market…much closer.”
While Ticketmaster notes that they are making this move with fans’ ideologies in mind, Engadget says that it’s more likely Ticketmaster closed the sites because of an ongoing government enforcement. According to Engadget, UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) forced Seatwave and Get Me In! to cut out hidden charges, which triggered an even bigger investigation.
Nonetheless, Ticketmaster is cracking down to fully combat the secondary market.
Following the announcement, Ticketmaster has partnered with the electronica artist Four Tet for the company’s first “100 percent digitally ticketed” show in London. The concert is set to take place at the 5,000-capacity O2 Academy Brixton from October 12 – 13. Tickets are just £5.00 ($6.50) each and will be distributed solely through the new Ticketmaster mobile platform.
Preceding the show, fans must pre-register with Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan platform before tickets go on sale on August 31. Then, these digital-only tickets will be tied with each fan’s account, allowing them to transfer to friends and make up to four purchases if they choose. Parsons said in a statement that this “fully digital future” is something that “we know artists are ready for.”
“These gigs present the perfect opportunity to use the tools we have to restrict resale from the get-go and give full control back to the artist over their own show,” he said.
Additionally, Four Tet promoter Tom Baker believes that this partnership will “ensure die-hard fans are the ones at the shows, and that these £5.00 tickets aren’t bought and resold for profit by touts.”