Safeconcerts have been trying to combat ticket touting and ticket fraud for years, during that time there has been the odd exposure on the television or in the news but it always winds up as a one day wonder. This time we hope it will be different, this time Channel 4 have got right inside Viagogo and Seatwave, both major players in the secondary market, who have been selling themselves as legitimate "fan to fan" sites for years and in the process gaining themselves credibility from a number of sources.
Channel 4 have actually uncovered the shady dealings that are, at the very least, immoral if not illegal. The collusion between the sites and the promoters has been exposed banishing their claims to be "fan to fan" websites forever. The practice of withholding information from customers - exposed; buying large quantities of tickets with numerous credit cards and staff addresses - exposed. Shocking practices indeed - but will this be enough to shake the industry out of its complacency?
Viagogo and Seatwave have been hard to ignore over the past few years, they manage to get their banners everywhere, in fact so clever is their marketing strategy that they even had a banner on the Channel 4 Dispatches website. In addition both Seatwave and Viagogo have places on the Operation Podium Ticket Forum where they actually advise on ticket matters. They are widely considered to be legitimate and 100% above board.
If you watched the Dispatches programme tonight and have been following Safeconcerts: Be Ticket Safe you'll know that we have been warning about these so called "fan to fan" sites and urging people not to buy from them from the start. We have been largely ignored by those who could and should have done something about the issue. Despite the lack of support we have continued to work on the Ticket Safe issue and have consistently advised ticket buyers not to buy from the secondary market. We are the only music website who doesn't link to them or carry a banner and we are the only music website who have taken a consistent line in advising music fans to buy from legitimate primary ticket sites only. Safeconcerts were so concerned about the state of the ticket market and the number of music fans who are getting defrauded by ticket scams that we developed our own Be Ticket Safe directory which allows fans to type in the name of a ticket site and find out what sort of site they are buying from.
On top of all the things we have been warning about we now discover, as we suspected but did not want to believe, there has been significant collusion between promoters and secondary ticket sites. We have wondered for so long why the promoters have failed to get behind the ticket safe message and sadly it seems that we may now have the answer we didn't really want to hear. Big promoters are actually feeding Seatwave and Viagogo, giving them thousands of tickets and pocketing the mark ups for themselves. That cannot be right and it should not be allowed to continue.
The ticket market is in a mess, the Dispatches programme, though superb, didn't even touch on the significant area of ticket fraud which is the other aspect of the ticket scandal. Things do need to change and they need to change quickly, but in the meantime music fans really do need to let people know what they think about this issue - most importantly music fans need to stop buying from these touting ticket sites.
The ticketing issue will not go away, those in charge have a vested interest in keeping things as they are because they are pocketing millions. Their arrogance knows no bounds and they are sure that things are not set to change - we need to show them that this is not what we want, we want fair ticket prices and do not want to line the pockets of touts.
Join Safeconcerts Be Ticket Safe Today and help us let the industry know that the ticket scandal is no longer acceptable, add your voice to the campaign for fairness, openess and transparency.