Who we are
The FanFair Alliance was established to unite members of music and creative community who wish to take a stand against industrial-scale online ticket touting.
FanFair has been funded initially by the music managers and businesses:
Adam Tudhope, Everybody’s (Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, Keane)
Alex Bruford, ATC Live (The Lumineers, Half Moon Run, Lucy Rose)
Brian Message, ATC Management (PJ Harvey, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds)
Ian McAndrew, Wildlife Entertainment (Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood, Travis)
Harry Magee, Modest Management (One Direction, Little Mix, Cheryl, Alison Moyet)
We believe a coordinated and pragmatic approach between Government, creative businesses, entrepreneurs and consumers can make major inroads to curbing industrial-scale touting in the secondary ticketing market.
Having signed the FanFair Alliance Declaration against online ticket touts, our supporters are committed to supporting fair and ethical ticketing practices as well as pro-consumer legislation and technologies.
FanFair aims to develop a number of pan-industry initiatives over the coming year, including an educational guide for music businesses, and also to inform and involve fans on how they can tackle ticket touting online.
Music businesses need to show leadership, so more fans can buy or exchange tickets at face value.
Following Professor Michael Waterson’s Independent Review of Consumer Protection Measures in the Secondary Ticketing Market (May 2016), FanFair is launching with four practical policy recommendations to Government.
We believe these measures, if implemented, could significantly curtail the activities of professional online touts, and help bring much-needed transparency to an under-regulated secondary ticketing market.
i. ENFORCEMENT: THE CONSUMER RIGHTS ACT 2015 NEEDS TEETH
The ‘light touch’ provisions aimed at secondary ticketing websites in 2015’s Consumer Rights Act (CRA) are clearly in need of enforcement.
As revealed conclusively by research from Which?, and by FanFair’s own research, the CRA’s measures are routinely bypassed by all of the major secondary ticketing platforms – with ticket listings frequently breaking the terms and conditions of the initial sale, or with missing detail relating to the original face value or seat location.
For music events, there is also a strong argument that the CRA’s provisions should be expanded to cover standing tickets – which are typically the most sought-after and therefore mostly highly prized amongst touts.
We therefore strongly urge Government to act on the first two recommendations made by Professor Waterson in his Independent Review:
i. That National Trading Standards (NTS) carries out a concerted and properly-funded investigation of resale websites and their compliance with the CRA and other consumer laws, coupled with action coordinated with the police.
ii. Breaches of the CRA should face enforcement action – with penalties up to £5,000 for each single ticket listing. The CRA should apply equally to websites based abroad if they allow sales to UK buyers of UK-based events.
ii. TRANSPARENCY: BUYERS NEED DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT SELLERS
Fans need to know who they are buying tickets from – and particularly if that seller is a commercial business or professional trader. Such reputational systems are vital to the operation of true online marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay.
As detailed by both the Waterson Review and the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) there is a raft of existing consumer legislation – including the Consumer Contracts Regulations (2013), the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (2008) and the Fraud Act 2006 – that should ensure “traders” are similarly identified on secondary ticketing websites.
However, in practice this does not happen – and sellers remain completely anonymised.
If eBay can provide information about its sellers, then why not StubHub? The cloak of online anonymity benefits touts, not fans.
Providing this information would provide much-needed transparency and help fans make more educated choices. Government and agencies (such as the CMA and NTS) should ensure resale sites are adhering to these laws and that details about sellers are provided as standard. Breaches of the law should result in the enforcement of penalties.
iii. RESPONSIBILITY: CORPORATIONS, NOT USERS, SHOULD COMPLY WITH CONSUMER LAW
The parent companies of StubHub, GetMeIn and Seatwave have multi-billion pound valuations. Viagogo has $65m in VC funding and sustains a network of over 60 global websites.
All are active participants in the ticketing market – reportedly cultivating their own networks of sellers, spending considerable sums on marketing and advertising, and influencing the price at which tickets are listed. They are not “inert” platforms.
As such, and as demanded by Which?, we believe it is ticket resale sites and not their users that should bear responsibility for ensuring that listings comply with the Consumer Rights Act. Equally, the onus should be on resale sites to report criminal or fraudulent behaviour to Trading Standards and police.
To minimise the speculative harvesting of tickets, resale sites should also be held to account to ensure any payments made to sellers only happen after an event has taken place.
iv. SUPPLY: CRIMINALISE THE MISUSE OF TECHNOLOGY
As detailed by both Professor Waterson’s Review and a January 2016 investigation by New York’s Attorney General, the use of specialised software to hack into primary ticketing systems is a key factor in the proliferation of online ticket touting.
However, as Professor Waterson highlights, while technology itself is not illegal, the unauthorised access to another’s computer or computer systems in order to purchase tickets is a probable (although untested) breach of the Computer Misuse Act 1990.
As well as greater due diligence from primary ticket sellers to block or mitigate such technologies, we urge Government to clarify the existing law (especially the CMA 90) and to make such actions a criminal offence.
Get the Facts
Find out more about ticket touting and how it effects musicians, fans and the music industry.