TicketWeb MD says ticketing furore is "damaging" for the industry

TicketWeb MD says ticketing furore is

TicketWeb MD Sam Isles has said the effect of the recent spate of news stories surrounding the ticketing market is “damaging” for the industry.

Last Tuesday (November 15), the Culture, Media And Sport Select Committee held a special meeting to discuss issues in the market, with secondary ticketing given particular focus.

Later in the week, it revealed plans for a proposed amendment to the Digital Economy Bill that would outlaw the use of bots, as well as to engage Secretary Of State Karen Bradley and potentially HMRC over the issue.

Speaking exclusively to Music Week about last week’s events, Isles – who also serves as Ticketmaster UK’s VP, artist services – said: “It’s damaging in general for the industry. None of us are in a great place at the moment, it’s not a great place to be when everybody’s upset about something. But I don’t think Ticketmaster created the problem, we’re just in it, with everybody else.”

Asked about the proposal of making bots illegal, Isles commented: “It is good. It’s a big challenge for us having to deal with that. There’s been massive investment in having to protect our sites [from bots]. The expectation is that of course we should handle them, but it is very difficult. And, sometimes, when it doesn’t work, fans get very angry because they want to get their tickets.”

As to whether she thought the latest proposals from Westminster would actually lead to new legislation, Isles responded: “It’s very complicated. We hear certain perspectives at certain times but there’s never a truly holistic view of the issues and potential solutions. I think something will happen.”

Isles said she believes the solution “sits with technology and focusing on the primary market and finding ways to ensure tickets go to real fans”. She also highlighted pricing as an issue, adding that Ticketmaster will “focus on solving the problems through technology. It’s not as simple as it sometimes sounds. 

The full interview with Isles, who reflected on her career, highs and lows of this year and TicketWeb’s plans for 2017, can be accessed by subscribers here.

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