Ticket touts have always been around, they’re a part of the atmosphere of going to any live event. Shouts of ‘anyone got a spare ticket?’ can be heard on the walk up to almost any music venue, where people will scour the crowds for unwanted tickets that they can resell there and then for a small profit. This still happens today and it is quite harmless, in fact it can be a life-saver for any fans who go to the venue without tickets hoping for a way in.

However, the internet has made it very easy for ticket touts to exploit music fans in a whole new way.

Any live-music fans will know the feeling of being on Ticketmaster on three different devices hoping to get tickets at face value for your favourite artists. You might also know the feeling of seeing the tickets sell-out almost immediately because third party companies and ticket touts game the system and buy them by the thousands. The only solution is to source tickets from another company, where people are reselling them at ridiculously inflated prices, or relying on the old-school ticket touts on the day of the gig!

When Ticketmaster sells out, it will point users to third party websites like GetMeIn

When Ticketmaster sells out, it will point users to third party websites like GetMeIn

Over the years, several artists have tried to combat this problem.  A recent example that comes to mind is Ed Sheeran.  He got so fed up with this level of sophistication of playing the system, that he cancelled 10,000 tickets which were being sold on third-party sites and put them back on sale to the fans at face value. His tickets are no longer available on sites like Viagogo and he has collaborated with a  website called Twickets, where fans can resell their unwanted tickets to each other at face value.

On the other side of the coin is Taylor Swift. Her ‘innovative’ solution to this problem has been met with some criticism. Swift is using the Ticketmaster Verified Fan programme, which involves giving fans an access code and placing them in a virtual ‘queue’ for tickets. They can move up by endorsing her music and merchandise. It all seems harmless, however some of the ways of moving up the queue involve fans purchasing Taylor’s albums, merchandise and viewing her new video on YouTube multiple times a day. Enter Shikari’s frontman Rou Reynolds accused Swift of “fleecing her own fans” and called the scheme exploitation.

5952797178_347ce736bc_b

Swift’s representatives, of course, have defended her actions by saying that she is rewarding fans for being fans. But surely it is unfair to make fans spend money in the hopes of being able to get tickets…for even more money. Swift’s team also pointed out that this is what the “fans are already doing,” but surely, if this is the case, there must be a way for these fans to access tickets without having to prove their devotion to Swift and emptying their wallets. It’s worth noting that there are a number of free activities fans can engage in to participate, but as the official web page for the service states ‘a purchase may improve your position in line to get tickets.’ It’s possible that Swift has tried to replace tickets touts by exploiting people in a different way.

Ticket touts play on the emotions that a person feels towards their favourite artist, knowing that they will spend almost any amount of money to see them in person. So, what is the answer to overcoming ticket touts? Something which was part of live-music culture has become an extreme annoyance and financial burden to people who are genuine music lovers.

– Elise Tsenti, soundlounge