FanFair Alliance, the music industry campaign established in July 2016 to tackle “industrial-scale online ticket touting”, has today published new guidance to help artists and managers tackle exploitative secondary ticketing.
Backed by the Music Managers Forum (MMF), the guidance can be downloaded here, and advocates that artists, event organisers and venues make two clear and upfront statements in their Terms & Conditions of sale:
i. That tickets are for consumers only to purchase.
ii. That audiences are permitted to resell tickets for their price they paid or less, and that a consumer-friendly resale or reallocation mechanism is provided.
While some artists will continue to employ more comprehensive anti-touting strategies, these cost-free measures aim to empower a wider range of acts to prevent exploitation of their audiences while promoting fairer ticket resale practices.
The publication follows major developments, led by FanFair Alliance and its supporters and backed by a range of political and regulatory actions, to end dysfunctions in the UK’s secondary ticketing market.
1. Greater enforcement of consumer protection law:
Following a long-running CMA investigation, sites like Viagogo and StubHub are being forced to provide customers with detailed information about the tickets they list. Despite the CMA suspending contempt proceedings against Viagogo on September 5th, FanFair still retains serious concerns about Viagogo’s compliancy with a court order served in November 2018 and we continue to urge audiences to avoid this site.
2. End to misleading marketing practices:
After FanFair Alliance complaints were upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority, Viagogo and other secondary platforms have been stopped misleading customers through the practice of “drip pricing”.
3. Reform of search advertising:
Following extensive FanFair Alliance research indicating that ticket buyers risked being misled by search advertising, Google launched a global certification programme for ticket resale sites in February 2018. In July 2019, Google announced Viagogo’s search advertising was being suspended.
4. A new wave of “consumer friendly” resale services:
Significantly, the UK now leads the way in providing services that enable audiences to resell or reallocate a ticket for the price they paid or less. These include offerings from AXS, Dice, Eventim, Resident Advisor, See Tickets, Skiddle, Ticketline, Ticketmaster and Twickets.
Despite these encouraging market developments, recent YouGov research suggests online ticket touting remains a concern for live music attendees, and they expect artists and venues to help prevent it.
In an April 2019 survey of more than 4,000 UK adults, 45% said they had attended a gig or festival in the past 5 years.
Of these live music attendees, 79% agreed with a statement that “too many tickets end up on reselling sites for inflated prices” while 67% agreed that “artists should do more to prevent tickets for their gigs being sold at an inflated price by ticket resellers”.
These YouGov findings remain consistent with the AudienceNet / Music Ally “Ticked Off” report, commissioned by FanFair Alliance and published in October 2017.
Adam Webb, Campaign Manager, FanFair Alliance, said:
“The message from audiences remains pretty clear and consistent. They’re still sick of exploitative online ticket touts, and they expect artists, event organisers and venues to do something about it.
“And here’s the good news: they can. The UK is now leading the way in the fightback against unscrupulous secondary ticketing practices. Artists have been empowered to take action.
“There’s a number of strategies they can pursue, but the no-cost recommendations in this guidance are open to all. As well as disrupting the practices of dedicated touts, our aim is they will help promote a fairer and more transparent ticketing market.”
Annabella Coldrick, CEO, MMF, said:
“Artists and their teams now have real power to take back control of their ticket prices by using simple T&Cs and offering consumer-friendly resale to fans. MMF urges all managers to read this guide and use it.”
Alongside the FanFair Alliance guidance, the Society of Ticket Agents & Retailers (STAR) has recently published its own detailed model terms and conditions to help those that wish to restrict the resale or transfer of tickets.
FanFair Alliance have worked closely with STAR during this process and fully support the contents of this document.
Jonathan Brown, CEO, STAR, said:
“Restrictions on unauthorised ticket resale need to be balanced with an opportunity for consumers to dispose of tickets they are unable to use. Utilising good, authorised resale systems and implementing fair terms and conditions helps to combat unwanted excesses in the secondary ticket market. STAR members are committed to helping promoters and managers ensure that consumers are protected and treated fairly.”