Crackdown on ticket reselling corruption before it ruins the industry: Australian music giants

Violent Soho tickets selling for AUD$300, up from an original AUD$50 — Elton John tickets going for a minimum of AUD$450, from an original minimum of AUD$99 — the culture of ticket resales is frustrating artists, conning fans and screwing the industry.

Consumer advocacy group CHOICE has filed complaints with the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) to investigate Ticketmaster Resale and Viagogo — platforms in which scalping kings exploit to sell in-demand tickets at inflated prices.

While these sites were originally introduced as safer alternatives to those like Gumtree, eBay or the suspiciously smartly-dressed guy on a street corner, sellers can set any price they want, meaning profiteering scalpers have now moved their businesses to these new ‘middlemen’ mediums.

While seeming safer and somewhat official, consumers should beware.

Scalping caused ticket prices to Violent Soho’s 2016 national tour to inflate drastically | Image: Sonia Lastrega

Viagogo, for example, is accused of duping ticket buyers through sneaky measures like duplicating their pre-sale page and exploiting artist popularity online.

Often these sites force their way to the top of Google and irregular ticket buyers (those most vulnerable) get sucked in.

In some cases the ticketing companies that are selling the initial tickets are the same people that re-promote and sell to take a further cut on the inflated prices.

Oh the corruption…

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 5.04.11 pm
Ticketmaster Resale’s cheapest tickets to Elton John’s upcoming show are over $400; most expensive are $750

Australian industry veteran and head of Chugg Entertainment, Michael Chugg, told Triple J Hack, the ticket reselling practice is ‘disgusting’ and ‘out of control’.

“They’re ripping off the punters… because somebody’s buying the tickets at the legitimate places then selling them on,” Chugg told Triple J.

Chugg demands the establishment of firm laws to protect both artists and punters from the resale culture.

Splendour in the Grass | Image: Bradii

To the industry’s frustration, shows are becoming sold out when really, they’re not.

It makes marketing, organising, attending and enjoying music and the arts, a very inconvenient task for all: promoters, artists and the Australian public.

Consumers are being warned to research where they’re buying tickets and to double-check exorbitant prices before being conned.

US touring giant, Live Nation recently bought Splendour and Falls | Image: Christopher Dombres

Law enforcement is happening in countries like Italy and the UK.

Now individuals and groups in the Australian music industry are demanding state governments to crackdown and revise anti-scalping laws.

To rub salt in the wound, an Australian festival ticket monopoly is eminent.

It was announced late last year that the world’s largest event promoter, Live Nation (who owns Ticketmaster), bought controlling stakes in both the previously independent Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival.

Read CHOICE’s full report and investigation on ticket reselling and scalping here


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