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The end of the ticket tout?

Any regular gig-goer knows the feeling; perched over the PC, logged into the Great Satan that is Ticketmaster’s website, waiting on the clock ticking round to 9am so you can attempt to buy tickets for a gig which you know is going to be sold out within seconds. It’s a sort of concert Russian Roulette, your brow getting progressively more lined as each click passes unsuccessfully. Within half an hour, you know; either success or failure.

And then, in this most modern of routines, you go to a number of other sites (depending on how desperate you are to get a ticket.) And you resign yourself to paying three or four times the face value. It’s the free market.

In the old days, touts were suspicious looking Scouse types outside venues buying spares for a certain amount and selling them for considerably more. They were leeches, pure and simple. they knew how desperate fans were – if you’ve travelled miles to stand outside a venue in the mostly-forlorn hope of getting a ticket, you truly are – and they took advantage. In the modern age, though, it’s anyone who has access to a PC or anyone who wants to pick up a spare ticket if they are lucky enough to get through. And they would swear blind they are simply doing a service.

I’ve used these sites when I’ve had tickets for a gig I genuinely couldn’t go to (though i’ve only ever charged face value) – but does using the system that others abuse simply help perpetuate it? Similarly, I’ve bought tickets for gigs I have been desperate to and paid far too much – surely I’m simply proving it is the law of supply and demand, nothing more?

Which is why the Governement’s confused plan to issue a ‘Crown Jewel’ style list of events in which ticket re-sales will be banned is doomed to failure. the people doing this don’t see themselves as dodgy – and anyway, who decides what counts as a premier event? Add to that they want to ensure that ‘channels are still available for people who genuinely need to re-sell’ are available, but won’t say what they will be, then you know it is likely to be a non-starter.

Humans want to make money. this is a simple and easy way to do it. people want to attend gigs, and sadly, sometimes this is the only way to do it. It’s a complete pain, it’s unfair and the people who do it need to take a look at themselves in the mirror, but I just don’t see a way past it.

But I’m all ears if you do….!

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6 Responses

  1. I remember a fiend of mine trying to buy a ticket for a very sold out strokes gig, the first time they played Glasgow. A big scouse tout tried to flog him one for £80 (the face value was £15) and when challenged (i.e. told to fuck off) he said “me grannie’s not well”.

    My mate ended up buying one of a wee pissed guy outside who accidentally tried to barter him down instead of up.

    Scouse guys, websites or pissed idiots? I know who I would try to buy a ticket off every time!

  2. The Scouse stereotype is far from exaggerated. When U2 tickets went on sale here a few years ago, there were loads of complaints about a Fagan-type who had come off the boat from Liverpool with an army of kids, all holding enough euros each to purchase the maximum allocation.

  3. Sadly I rarely attend gigs where this is a problem!! If something is sold out I usually just don’t go to be honest.

    But maybe the Rolling Stones showed what the future hold with their ebay auction style method. “How much is it worth to you?” was their attitude,

    REM said it well in ’89 when I saw them at Wembley Arena and it was (for that venue) very cheap: “It costs us x to put the gig on, we make y on top of that to ensure tour is not a loss maker and anything above that is simply fleecing the audience.”

  4. What needs to happen, is that the venues need to accept returns of tickets up to the second of the gig, including a full refund. If this was the case, then people looking for tickets on the day can turn up and have a chance of getting in at face value, and people who suddenly can’t go, can return their ticket and get their money back. This would bypass touts to an extent and I think should be the first step to eradicating the foul vermin that are touts.

  5. great fucking idea. Apparently the government are actually thinking about passing some law regarding this.

  6. Totally agree. People could also put their names down for returns and be contacted. Plain and simple and fair.

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