Tuesday, 4 November 2014

No More Touts Part 3 - The Musicians

I decided to write a follow on from the No More Touts post I wrote a few days ago. Thanks to everyone who's read and shared it! I never realised it would ever go that far!

In the last post, we were talking about ticket touts and the fan-funded show from the perspective of the fans. We also talked about those who'd been the victims of ticket scalpers. I come from a musical family. It's not unusual to find jam sessions happening in our house. We have a small home studio. Our garage is holds the legacy that my parents started so many years ago. Cases packed with coiled cables stand beside tool boxes. Beneath a desk is a crate filled drum stands. A book case has become a leaning post for a guitar. Packets of strings and drumsticks are piled in a corner. The studio is so small that we've recorded drummers in bathrooms, singers in wardrobes, and guitarists out in the garden. 

We call it "organised chaos".

I rounded up a few of the passing musicians for beer and a chat about the secondary ticket market.

As musicians who are often paid to play shows, what are your views on ticket touts?

Ticket touts are pushing out the fans that have less money, turning concerts into exclusive events that only those with a higher percentage of disposable income can afford. Besides, why should fans pay over the odds for tickets that were cheap enough in the first place? Cheaper tickets mean that there are more people at a show. This is good for smaller and newer bands, especially if they’re the opener for a larger band.

Bands are being locked out of the industry because of the secondary market. Some of us also believe that touts are killing the music industry in some areas. The touts tend to target popular bands (supply and demand). Some bands may only visit a few cities and part of their reasoning for that may be because of the secondary market. They know that the more shows they play equals more tickets going to the secondary market. And bands have costs too. We have travel, food, accommodation, crew that we have to pay. Our costs aren’t anywhere near that of some of the larger bands but, as you know, the bigger the band the more overheads they’ve got to cover. Yes, if a show sells out, the band will get paid. But what happens if a venue is only filled to a fraction of its capacity? A lot of a band’s wages comes from merchandise. And even if the venue is full what happens if the majority of those people have bought their tickets through secondary sellers at an inflated cost? They now have less money to spend on the artist they’ve come to support.

This may sound greedy on the part of musicians, but we think that many people would prefer to be supporting the artists rather than the ticket touts making hundreds of pounds more for a ticket that may have originally only cost £40. We also want to see as many of you as possible at the shows, something that won’t happen if you’re being held to ransom by ticket touts. As musicians and concert goers ourselves, we're just as angry as you are. At the end of the day, we’re here for you. Our job is to make you happy and give you a good night out. And if you’re happy, then we’re happy!


Ticketmaster has admitted that between a fifth and ninety percent of daily ticket sales come from botnets. While the use of botnets is banned in the UK under section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990, there's nothing to stop the secondary ticket sellers from using human power to grab hundreds of tickets using multiple credit cards and addresses. This was highlighted in Channel 4's Dispatches from 2012 (The Great Ticket Scandal). Also highlighted in the documentary were a number of other ways that the secondary ticket sellers are able to get hold of tickets. This includes the promoters, venues, and others within the industry.

Secondary ticketing regulations by country can be found on Wikipedia (not the best source, I know!):

There's also a petition to get the UK government to readdress the regulations for the secondary ticket market. If you're a fan of live events, you might be interested signing:

Details on the campaign can be found by following the hashtag #nomoretouts or visiting www.foofightersuk.com

Twitter: @foofamilyuk


With thanks to Marcella from Nashville Blues, and the guys from OpenView.

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