FanFair Alliance joins Stuart Camp, Ian McAndrew and Brian Message in welcoming Labour plan on touts

FanFair Alliance joins Stuart Camp, Ian McAndrew and Brian Message in welcoming Labour plan on touts

Music campaign group FanFair Alliance has welcomed today’s announcement by Keir Starmer on ticket touts.

A future Labour government would introduce new legislation to end the rip-off practices of controversial ticket touting websites.

This would include measures to: 

• Strengthen consumer rights legislation to restrict the resale of tickets at more than a small, set percentage over the price the original purchaser paid for it (including fees).

• Limit the number of tickets individual resellers can list to the number of tickets that individuals can legitimately buy via the original platform.

• Make platforms accountable for the accuracy of information about tickets they list for sale and ensure that the Competition & Markets Authority has the powers that it needs to take swift, decisive action against platforms and touts, to protect consumers.

There is evidence that the UK's dominant secondary ticketing websites remain dependent on high-volume touts. 

A joint 2022 investigation between the FanFair Alliance and ITV News found that just three speculative traders were responsible for more than two-thirds of the UK festival tickets listed on Viagogo. 

The announcement follows a court verdict yesterday (March 13) where a group of suppliers to secondary ticketing websites were found guilty of fraudulent trading after unlawfully reselling tickets worth more than £6.5m.  

In 2021, the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), recommended that stronger laws should be introduced to protect consumers from such rogue traders. The UK government rejected the CMA’s proposals in May 2023. Ministers have responded to the latest Labour announcement by saying there is no need for further legislation to protect consumers.

FanFair Alliance relaunched its campaigning in September last year, advocating for a total ban on ticket resale for profit, while ensuring genuine fans are provided with viable services to resell a ticket for the price they paid or less. 

Legislation to outlaw ticket touting has been adopted in a number of other countries, most notably in Ireland. 

FanFair Alliance aims are now shared across the wider music industry, including UK Music and LIVE, who both recommended action against online ticket touts in their 2023 manifestos. FanFair has also worked with O2 since 2017.  

Stuart Camp, Grumpy Old Management (Ed Sheeran), said: “This is fantastic news. We have spent years fighting the scourge of online ticket touting and keeping prices fair for fans. The impact of these policies should be monumentally positive, and help to reset the UK’s live music market for the benefit of artists and their audiences.” 

The impact of these policies should be monumentally positive, and help to reset the UK’s live music market for the benefit of artists and their audiences

Stuart Camp

Ian McAndrew, CEO Wildlife Entertainment (Arctic Monkeys, Fontaines DC, Royal Blood), said: “I fully welcome and applaud the commitment from Labour to introduce legislation to reform the broken resale marketplace which has blighted our industry for years. As a founder member of the FanFair Alliance, we have campaigned for over a decade to encourage change while introducing measures to try and protect fans. The introduction of new legislation will better protect fans from the unscrupulous practices of online touts.”

Brian Message, ATC Management (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey, The Smile, Johnny Marr), said: “ATC has always strived to prevent our artists’ audiences from being exploited by online ticket touts. This is often a challenging, time-consuming and difficult process, which is why we helped set up FanFair Alliance and why fresh legislation in this area is now so important. I’m hopeful today marks a real turning point."

Adam Tudhope, Everybody’s Management (Keane, Baby Queen), said: “The ticket market hasn’t been fair and free, it has been rigged to the detriment of the fan and in favour of touts. A group of us in the music business, and increasingly other businesses like sport, have been highlighting this issue for a number of years now, and I’m delighted that someone is finally listening.  There are times when governments need to intervene with legislation and this is one of them.  So I welcome today’s announcement from Labour and I hope they follow through with this pledge if they get elected.”  

Paul Craig, Nostromo Management (Biffy Clyro), said: "As a music manager, I am delighted with Labour's initiative to dismantle the secondary ticket market's grip on live events. This decisive action against online ticket touting should herald a new era where fans can access tickets fairly, and the essence of live music will thrive without the shadow of exploitation."

Stuart Galbraith, CEO, Kilimanjaro Live and co-founder of LIVE, said: “Alongside other FanFair supporters, Kilimanjaro has called for these kinds of consumer-friendly policies for years. As a company, we work incredibly hard to stop our events being hijacked by online ticket touts, but the enforcement of new legislation is the only way to fully clamp down on these rogue traders and the platforms they sell across.”

Gareth Griffiths, director of partnerships and Sponsorship, Virgin Media O2, said: “O2 has been part of the FanFair Alliance since 2017 with the aim of protecting our customers from online touts during our exclusive Priority Tickets presales. We’ve seen the secondary market swamped with over-inflated, sky-high ticket resale prices for years, with no benefit for artists or their fans. Legislation would be a crucial step forward and through our continued work with FanFair Alliance we’re pleased to see this issue getting the attention and action it deserves.”

With Labour's recognition that only new legislation will properly fix a broken and discredited market, this feels like a real breakthrough moment

Sharon Hodgson

Since FanFair Alliance was established, the campaign has worked closely with Sharon Hodgson MP, chair of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, and other politicians to help end industrial-scale online ticket touting. 

Labour’s new commitments on ticketing would effectively introduce proposals first made by Hodgson via a Private Member’s Bill in 2011. 

Sharon Hodgson MP said: “Alongside other members of the APPG on Ticket Abuse, I've been fighting for consumer rights and to end these exploitative practices for nearly 15 years. With the incredible support of Adam Webb from FanFair Alliance, Reg Walker at Iridium Consulting and others, I am delighted to see that the Labour Party has recognised the need for urgent action.

“My office is regularly contacted by victims of the parasitic secondary ticketing market, while artists and venues are so regularly denied fair compensation and the opportunity to flourish. With Labour's recognition that only new legislation will properly fix a broken and discredited market, this feels like a real breakthrough moment.”

Adam Webb, campaign manager, FanFair Alliance said: “Today’s announcement is positive news for music fans. The so-called secondary ticketing market is a completely artificial construct and reliant upon a relatively small number of touts, many of whom are based outside the UK, who hoover up tickets before reselling them at profit on websites such as viagogo, StubHub and Gigsberg. New legislation has the potential to break that cycle, to put fans first, and to make the UK’s live events sector the envy of the world.”

Annabella Coldrick, chief executive, Music Managers Forum, said: “Back in 2016 the MMF was a key part of the creation of the FanFair Alliance to tackle the scourge of ticket touting. In the intervening years, and after providing stacks of evidence on the damage done to artists and fans, the whole music industry has come behind the campaign including UK Music and LIVE. We welcome greatly that the Labour Party has announced this policy and look forward to seeing it come into legislation.”

A Viagogo spokesperson said: "We see this as an opportunity to underscore the effectiveness of today’s regulatory framework of the resale marketplace, which has been shaped by years of government review and oversight. A safe, secure and transparent environment for UK consumers has been established.

"We protect consumers' rights to buy and sell tickets in a secure, regulated marketplace. On Viagogo, payment is contingent on the buyer successfully entering the event, and every transaction is guaranteed, ensuring buyers either gain entry or receive a refund.

"Significant evidence demonstrates that imposing resale restrictions and removing safeguards forces fans to unverified sites and social media, exposing them to a high risk of fraud without any protection.

"We believe that a comprehensive conversation, focused on practical and effective regulation across the entire ticketing industry, is in the best interest of consumers."

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