STUB OUT THE TOUTS
SO SUPERTOUT Julien Lavallee is also a prime tax dodger – who’d have imagined it?
A morally upstanding fellow no doubt, much like other touts, whose day-to-day job involves ripping off genuine music lovers worldwide.
As the UK toils over the best way to regulate the worst excesses of these parasites, the big question that remains is this: What is the point in even having a secondary market?
Bonkers as it sounds, the resale sites were brought in amid claims they would combat the traditional touts; the seedy guys hanging out around venues, who were the pariahs of the day. Strange that nobody is talking about those guys any more. That stuff was chickenfeed. The age of the supertout is upon us, with some massive tours thought to be losing 50 per cent of tickets to the scalpers as they sell out in minutes.
Secondary sites are often bursting with stock before the primary sale even takes place.
The latest revelations on Canadian tout Lavallee show that he uses precisely the same methods as Scotland’s biggest tout Andrew Newman, who was drawn to the dark side after buying tickets for WWF Wrestling and Barry Manilow gigs.
Both harvest tickets by the hundred with masses of credit cards in the names of friends and family linked to turbo-charged computer software to jump ahead of real fans in the queue.
Despite Ticketmaster knowing exactly what they’ve done – the Record has repeatedly told them – nobody’s doing a damn thing to stop them.
Laws that could put them out of business are not used. And it’s not just the scalpers who are milking the fans.
The utter lack of transparency in the market means we never know how many tickets ever get to the primary sales in the first place.
Rogue artists, promoters and venues – a minority I hope – allow tickets to go straight to the secondary market in total secrecy.
Banning bots won’t stop the enemy within. Forcing ticket sellers to state the seat numbers and any restrictions on the use of the ticket, as per the Consumer Rights Act, won’t strike much of a blow for fans either.
These were the main weapons put forward by the long-awaited Waterson Report into the secondary ticketing market – but that’s looking more and more like a red herring that might set the battle against touts back.
Promoters won’t be lining up to cancel super-priced tickets placed on tout sites if it was them who put them there in the first place.
A vicious circle is also emerging, where promoters who make a killing from the secondary market can bid more to get contracts for the big tours, tightening their control.
The cancer at the heart of the ticketing industry in the UK can be seen with the jaw-dropping conflicts of interest that continually erupt.
When a global company such as Live Nation can promote tour after tour, thereby controlling the ticket
MARK McGIVERN Priority shouldn’t be