STUB OUT THE TOUTS

PER­SONAL VIEW

Daily Record - - NEWS - Our re­porter on mis­son to ex­pose the prof­i­teers

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

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