There should be an investigation into companies such as Live Nation Entertainment (LNE), which own primary and secondary ticketing sites, because of the conflicts of interest this represents, according to a Member of Parliament (MP).
Speaking during a House of Commons debate on secondary ticketing, Richard Bacon MP said he was concerned by the power such companies have to influence the ticketing market.
“A prime area for attention are the massive conflicts of interest that exist within the events industry,” he said. “One company, Live Nation, is a venue owner, a promoter of events, an artiste management company, and an operator in the primary ticketing business through its ownership of Ticketmaster.
“It also owns two of the leading secondary websites, Get Me In! and Seatwave, which have attracted so much controversy. That is a very obvious source of conflicts of interest.”
Bacon continued, “If the secondary trading website is owned by the primary providers of the tickets – the concert promoters – they may make more money from the resale of the ticket than by having originally issued it.
“There is a massive incentive for any primary provider that owns a secondary platform to ensure that it has enough tickets.”
He pointed out that secondary websites earn commission ranging between 20 to 40 per cent for facilitating the resale of tickets, often by people who have bought them solely to resell at inflated prices.
“There should be an investigation into firms such as Live Nation and whether their vertically integrated ownership structure is harming consumers and leading directly to abuse,” he said. “My personal opinion is that it is.”
In response, the Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, Margot James, said, “I am concerned that these genuine fans are being crowded out on these platforms by professional resellers, who harvest hundreds of tickets on the primary market with no intention of using them themselves … we are determined to crack down on unacceptable behaviour”.
In the US the 2010 merger of LNE and Ticketmaster is currently being investigated by the Department of Justice (see Audience issue 219) after allegations from rival AEG that some of its venues has been told to use Ticketmaster or risk losing LNE-promoted shows.
LNE declined to comment when contacted by Audience.