How do you feel about people who scoop up tickets for top name artists, not because they’re passionate about the music, but simply to make a buck? It’s not good. Scalpers have long been the scourge of the ticketed entertainment sector, but the scale has now reached epic proportions, fuelled by digital technologies.
The way it now works is that when tickets for a top named artist go on sale, computerised robots or ‘ticket bots’ snap up massive chunks of inventory to sell later at inflated prices. This has been a massive issue in the northern hemisphere. Legitimate fans are denied the fair chance to buy tickets for their favourite artists at the published price, and millions are made by profiteers who don’t invest in the music industry.
The extent of the problem is hard to precisely quantify but The Independent recently stated “the secondary ticketing market is widely estimated to be worth $8bn a year world-wide (around £1bn in the UK)“.
Here in Australia peak body Live Performance Australia has called for the practice to be stamped out and is urging government intervention. LPA Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson said ‘Ticket bots are a growing problem around the world. They are being used to scoop up large numbers of tickets to popular shows which make it harder for genuine fans to get tickets to see their favourite artists.’
The US government passed laws outlawing this practice in December last year, and the UK Government has also recently acted.
The LPA now wants the Australian Government to do the same. Our Senate has acted at the initiative of Senator Nick Xenophon, but their successful motion is yet to be passed as legislation by the Government. ‘Bots are a global problem, and Australia should be part of the global response,’ Ms Richardson said.
The industry itself is taking inventive measures to deal with the issue; most recently Midnight Oil has taken a multipronged approach, including only issuing paper tickets as reported by musicfeeds.
The LPA have published a handy consumer guide with information on the primary and secondary ticketing market and useful tips for consumers.