In a recent post here at RMW, we told you about big-name artists speaking out against the link between ticket reselling sites and touts. It was a month ago when Prince cancelled dates in Europe. The singer loaded his Twitter feed with references to secondary ticketing sites.
For the upcoming Adele tour, her management only allowed tickets to go on sale once known ticket touts were weeded out from those who had registered to buy.
Even Elton John has waded in, calling secondary ticket buyers “disgraceful.” He said, “I’d rather have empty seats” than have fans pay over the odds through resale sites.
Now, with a real statement of intent, Mumford & Sons has entered the fray, issuing an open letter detailing the band’s efforts to keep tickets away from touts.
Here is the letter reprinted in full below.
We’ve worked so hard over the years to keep our ticket prices reasonable – we want all of our fans to be able to come to our shows. We’ve also done everything we can to keep our tickets from finding their way on to reselling sites. Many tickets on secondary sites are being sold by touts who are simply in the business of ripping off the fan by charging an extortionate amount for sold out shows. The activities of these touts are very sophisticated: they hire coders to try to break the software of the ticket companies that we hand-pick to sell our tickets in the first place (primary ticket sellers); they use multiple identities to buy several batches of tickets from the same ticket seller; and (contravening UK law) they pose as individual consumers when they list tickets on these services with no mention of seat number or row, when actually they’re businesses with no intention of going to the shows buying tickets in bulk to sell on. It’s our hope that secondary ticketing companies root this out to stop it happening on their sites, and that they shut it down.
By our estimation when this tour went on general sale there were roughly 6,000 tickets out there on secondary ticket platforms across the UK tour, including 1,500 for each night at the O2 in London. People may argue that those tickets have already been sold and we’re getting the money anyway. But that’s not how we see it. We want fans of the band to be able to get into our shows for the right price, to feel that they’ve got value for money. We want every seat in a sold out show to be filled with a fan. Why do we care so much? Because it’s not right, it hurts our fans and it’s a problem for all artists.
Yes, there are some fans legitimately trying to sell on tickets to other fans because they can’t make a show for whatever reason – but we believe this is a tiny percentage of the business being conducted on secondary tickets sites. We strongly urge you to use a platform like Twickets, ScarletMist and other face-value-only sites if you can’t make a show and need to sell on your tickets. Sites like these won’t allow you to resell the ticket for a profit. This makes them unusable to touts.
Behind the scenes over the years, we have tried a lot of different ways to beat the touts including trying to get as many of the tickets as possible for a show to sell ourselves through ticket companies that we choose; we hold back tickets to put back on sale at face value nearer to the show so that fans have a second bite of the cherry at buying tickets at the right price; we’ve cancelled thousands of orders by arduously going through ticket purchases order-by-order to weed out known touts and dodgy credit cards; we’ve even gone as far as to put all of the tickets in one US tour we did into a lottery system so that we were able to remove all of the touts before only inviting legitimate fans to buy the tickets. We need your help to win this battle. We urge you again to use face-value only secondary ticketing sites either to sell or buy tickets.
We personally went in to the UK’s Department of Culture, Music and Sport last Thursday morning and met with Professor Michael Waterson who’s conducting an independent parliamentary review into this issue of secondary ticketing. We voiced our concerns, and we’ve been welcomed to give them more evidence of these bad practices, which we will do. In the meantime if any of you has a bad story to tell about buying tickets via secondary ticketing sites, the review would welcome your feedback. Tell your friends, maybe they’ve had a bad experience at another artist’s show. The address is: email@example.com. (You will get a message back saying that the deadline for submitting evidence has passed, but we’ve managed to get an extension until 18 December). For more information, see here.
Winston Marshall, Marcus Mumford, Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett and Adam Tudhope (Manager)
We’re glad to see the fight getting bigger.