Music lovers are now calling for increased oversight of the industry after a series of high-profile gigs were mired by scams and glitches impacting the ticket-buying process.
Roughly six in 10 Londoners (59 per cent) have either fallen prey to ticketing fraud or know someone who has, according to a new survey by “ethical resale” platform TicketSwap. Beyond the UK capital, scams have also impacted 47.7 percent of people from the home counties, many of whom likely journey into London to attend the biggest gigs.
Londoners also admitted to being conned out of more money than respondents from other UK regions, with 21.4 per cent losing between £100 to £149 on a fraudulent ticket. As a result, more than three-quarters of respondents in the capital believe that ticket-resale prices should be capped, and two-thirds of them say that scammers have put them off buying second-hand tickets for good.
The findings follow a major live event ticketing fiasco that could prompt a major shakeup of the industry. In January, Ticketmaster apologised to Taylor Swift fans after its system crashed in the face of overwhelming demand for the singer’s 2023 Eras Tour. The company blamed the glitch on software bots that were used to illegally obtain tickets.
After Ticketmaster merged with Live Nation in 2010 to form Live Nation Entertainment, the company has been considered by many to have a monopoly over the ticketing of live music events. US democrats, including senator Amy Klobuchar and representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have both criticised the power Ticketmaster wields over the market.
Still, touts continue to squeeze fans out of tickets to major gigs by bulk-buying them using bots and selling them for an eye-watering premium on resale sites. Tickets for Madonna’s latest Celebration tour were exceeding £2,000 on some platforms, while a ticket for Beyoncé’s Renaissance World tour was on sale for more than £4,000. To be clear, using bots to purchase scores of tickets is illegal in the UK.
The new survey was undertaken by TicketSwap, the Amsterdam-based firm which recently launched in the UK. The company caps its ticket-resale prices at 20 per cent over their retail value in line with Dutch law, while other countries, including Ireland and France, have also flat-out banned the practice of selling tickets above their face value. TicketSwap surveyed 2,000 respondents, of which 260 were based in London and 259 were from the South East.
Experts have warned desperate fans to be wary of buying tickets from second-party sites.
Karen Worstell, senior cyber-security strategist at VMware, said: “Be especially vigilant about clicking on ticket sites and links to services you don’t normally use. Ensure that both company and personal computer firewall settings and advanced threat protection are in place and up-to-date.”