This is a familiar scenario for anyone who has ever tried to buy tickets for a highly sought-after concert or sporting event. You wake up early and sit dutifully before your computer. At 8AM, tickets go on sale. By 8:05, they’re completely sold out.
But wait! You can still find some on Ticketmaster’s partner websites. Except they’re arse-clenchingly expensive. What would have sold for £40 during its initial release is now £200 — or more.
I mentioned Ticketmaster because they’re the biggest culprits here, and own two huge resale sites — Seatwave and Get Me In. These secondary resale sites have earned the US-based ticket company a fair bit of criticism from fans and artists alike.
So, here’s the good news. Ticketmaster is shutting them down. By October, Seatwave and Get Me In will no longer exist.
In their replacement is a new resale service that aims to cut out the professional touts, while allowing fans to offload tickets they are unable to use.
The upcoming service is baked into Ticketmaster, and sellers can only charge the original price or less, plus a 15 percent surcharge to cover booking fees paid by the seller. When booking tickets, resold ones are highlighted in the seat map as pink.
Ticketmaster’s move isn’t necessarily responding to consumer sentiment. Fans hated the likes of Seatwave and Get Me In, but there’s more at play here.
For starters, across Europe, a legal backlash is emerging against the secondary resale market. The Irish government is trying to pass a bill that would ban individuals from selling tickets for more than their face value.
Furthermore, as pointed out by Mark Savage at the BBC, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is taking a close look at the resale market, and is contemplating legal action against the Swiss-based giant Viagogo.
And then there’s the fact that artists like Ed Sheeran and Adele have backed services like Twickets — which allow fans to sell unused tickets to other fans, while capping resale prices at 10 percent above face value.
By killing its resale sites, Ticketmaster potentially avoids a legal world of hurt. It also gives it an opportunity to regain ground captured by fairer resale sites, like Twickets.