back to article Rock managers propose tout tax

The businessmen behind some of the rock world's biggest names have called for a levy on the concert ticket aftermarket, where people sell on tickets they have bought for profit or because they cannot go to a concert. The live music industry in Britain is booming and several businesses have been set up specifically to serve the …

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Theives

"...It is unacceptable that not a penny of the estimated £200m in transactions generated by the resale of concert tickets in the UK is returned to the investors in the live music industry," said Marc Marot...."

What on earth is he talking about? If these fools spent more time and effort making sure that big-business touts didn't get their hands on the tickets first then consumers would be in a much better position.

These days the news is full of stories about how tickets for concerts sold out in record time - sometimes minutes, almost always within a few hours. It would appear that the majority of this is actually touts buying up ready to sell at a markup to people who can't get a ticket through normal channels.

Mind you, perhaps the Manager of Radiohead needs to start earning some more coin now that the band give away their album for free...

All they are doing is validating touts as an avenue for ticket sales, and the only people who are out of pocket are the fans.

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Anonymous Coward

oh look...

Music execs being greedy! That's a new one...

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Coat

oh yeah?

"It is unacceptable that not a penny of the estimated £200m in transactions generated by the resale of concert tickets in the UK is returned to the investors in the live music industry,"

What they really mean is "It's unacceptable that not a penny of the estimated £200m in transactions [...] is returned to our pockets"

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This will hurt the fans most

As someone who like both music and football I dread them bringing more regulation to music tickets.

Currently if I want to go to a gig, which is sold out, I can often find a ticket a slightly over the face value (apart from massive bands) online. Try searching online for football tickets and you have a choice of either being a registered fan of a club and ordering through them, or paying for a full package including hotel, ground tours as well as the ticket. This can bring a ticket with a face value of £35 up to the £300 mark.

I'm currently trying to find tickets for Euro2008 and the cheapest for ANY game I can find is £305 pound which I can't afford. I went through the original application procedure and of all the games I applied for I only got 1 pair of tickets for a single game, so my only other option will be touts outside the grounds.

Whatever they decide to do about concert tickets, please don't follow the football role, as that will just force the prices up and line the pockets of the "official" touts and won't help the fans at all.

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Anonymous Coward

huh?

I've never understood why capitalists complain about the free market - if they want to stop this all they need to do is charge the market rate, which looks as though it's something like double current prices.

If they aren't willing to take the risk of increasing their prices, whilst other people are willing to buy loads of tickets in the hope they can sell them on at a profit, well...

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Eminem @ slaine castle?

This might make sense in a boardroom of music executives.

Tickets are private property, and they COULD already be subject to this kind of tax.

(Capital gains? -currently @ 18percent-ish? -after taper relief abolition?)

What I want to see is a levy on performers that pull out of gigs at the last minute for spurious reasons.. If people go to a gig, they may already have shelled out hard earned on fuel transport acommodation etc..

Maybe there should be a three strikes and theyre barred from public performances?

or is this too harsh

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Why should people be paid twice for performing only once?

"Artists are now claiming they should share in revenue from those sales as well as the original sale."

Absolutely no justification in that. They were already paid when the FIRST person bought the ticket. They should not be paid a second time for no further work. That would be semi-legalised THEFT and an unlawful restraint of trade.

These people already have it far to good -- they should be paid for PERFORMING and that should be the END of it.

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Pirate

Outdated old frockers...

Like they need a change in the whole system just to meet their needs. These music idiots just need to get with the technology instead of coming at everything with a ramrod. Just pimp them straight on eBay, or since they hate Ebay so much set up their own sites to auction tickets - simple.

Obviously not what they want to do tho, because of all the cr@p bands they only sell out because they are currently LOVIN' the fact that everyone flogs tickets online.

For really cr@p overhyped artists a load of poor-quality touts (stay-at-home mums and teenage wannabe entrepeneurs) jump on the bandwagon and buy tickets in an attempt to make a bit of cash. Hype turns to mush and the touts lose out. In the old world these gigs would never be sell-out but they are now. Even Keith Harris and Orville can sell out Brixton Academy.

As usual the music frumps want it both ways. They don't want to be selling tickets for peanuts but do want to cash in when they sell for a grand. They're all on the gravy train and need to learn some real-world business skills. Technology isn't a threat and the sooner they realise that the less chance they've got of letting rome burn whilst they strum their 60's guitars.

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Paris Hilton

I agree!

Its outrageous that the organisation which pays me uses my work to make billions of pounds and doesn't return more than a fixed amount to me.

I demand the government tax all that profit and gives me the dosh!

Yeah, reality bites!

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Stop

Eh?

So, what they're saying is, if I buy a ticket to see one of my favourite bands (who then recieve a percentage of the ticket price - PRS etc..), then for whatever reason I cannot make it to the gig, and I sell the ticket at face value to someone else, the artist want a percentage of the resale price? Again?

Did I get that right, or am I missing something here?

Paris Hilton angle?

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Stop

Supply/Demand

Very simple - if demand exceeds supply at a certain price, there will be a secondary market.

Rather than have crazed sales of tickets for Kylie/Robbie/the Spice Girls etc where they sell out in 30 minutes, why not a simple auction over a period of time, top 30,000 bidders (or whatever) get the tickets.

Yes it's a cruel world and it means only rich gits will get to see their manufactured pop idols, but that's what happens anyway with the secondary market, and at the moment the money all goes to middlemen, rather than mostly to the record company a$$holes with a bit to the artist.

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Stop

Money grabbing gits!

""It is unacceptable that not a penny of the estimated £200m in transactions generated by the resale of concert tickets in the UK is returned to the investors"

What!?!?

You mean apart from the original ticket price? This is just pure greed now. If one person who legally bought a ticket wants to sell that to another person, and the other person is happy to pay an inflated price what the heck is wrong with that? Surely it would be better that that ticket is used and the gig is well attended than tickets going to waste?

Also: Have El Reg changed their default font? The writing on all the articles looks a bit odd to me today, sort of as if it's been squashed...

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Ian
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Value added...

I often buy tickets last minute of ebay. There are loads of people who sell last minute as they cannot go - often for lower than the original face value. Even some of the touts risk a lower value - better something than nothing at all.

If we assume that the music industry works on a percentage of the price of the tickets, does that mean if I buy for less, they owe me some money (or the seller some money) based on the difference?

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Dan
Pirate

Logic?

Surely all this will do is encourage cash-only tout sales and forgeries? They can regulate the legit outfits selling legit tickets, but they cant tax the scallies stood outside the Apollo Threatre in Manchester selling on a mixture of forgeries/fakes/overpriced genuine tickets!

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Pay to play

I'm a bit annoyed at the current face value cost of a ticket and the extra "you used your card", "we bought a stamp", "somebody had to put your ticket and our mailing bundle in your envelope" admin costs every time I buy tickets. If they do scalp back some of that 200 million quid and / or kill the resale market then I want to see the face value prices come down.

Also @ the eminem post.. damn straight there should be a penalty imposed on the artist that goes straight back to the customer. You pay face value plus booking fee plus card transaction fee plus postal costs and what do you get back? Face value.

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comparison with cars

Since a ticket is not used until the event, the comparison with cars in irrelevant. The ticket sellers should give full refunds if the person cannot attend the concert. Why should I be forced to sell back the tickets at a loss.

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Flame

People pay money for this?

Shouldn't we be paid for having to listen this.

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touts are parasites who add no value

Touts will just increase prices more to cover the event organisers cut. Only loser = us, the consumer.

IMHO, the best situation for consumers would be:

You must name the person that the ticket is for at the time of purchase. Only that person can use the ticket.

But: You are entitled to return your ticket for a full refund at anytime up to 24 hours before the event.

free market = good

completely unregulated wild west market full of parasitic scam artists = bad

event organisers getting into bed with the parasitic scam artists in order to shaft the consumer even more = really bad

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Whose ticket is it?

What is this all about? If you buy something whether it is a ticket or a tin of baked beans, surely it is now your property and it is open to you to use it, eat it (tickets are delicious), give it to someone else or sell it. I cannot see that the original seller has any further control or legal or financial interest in it.

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Anonymous Coward

Why not a simple auction?

One reason is that some people need to get a ticket well in advance, so that they can book holiday, arrange transport, etc, while other people only hear about the concert a few days before it happens.

So here's my d(r)aft proposal:

Up until a particular closing date people submit bids on a web site. On the closing date the organisers pick a sale price that maximises their takings; everyone who offered at least that price gets a ticket *for that price*. The organisers will usually set the sale price so that all tickets are sold, but in some cases they might get more money by picking a higher sale price. That's the "simple auction" component. Note: if people paid what they offered, rather than everyone paying the same price, the system would not be analogous to a traditional auction in which bidders do not reveal how much they would be willing to pay.

In addition:

There should be a "buy one now" price for people who need to get a ticket before the closing date of the auction.

After the closing date, and before the tickets have actually been sent out in hard copy, the web site should offer a stock-exchange-like system to allow people to buy and sell tickets: individual users would be able to set and cancel limit prices, etc.

Would a system like that keep everyone happy?

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Paris Hilton

The perpetual ownership of a one-time service?

"...It is unacceptable that not a penny of the estimated £200m in transactions generated by the resale of concert tickets in the UK is returned to the investors in the live music industry," said Marc Marot."

Imagine if you will a spokesman for an automobile manufacturer pulling this line.

"...It is unacceptable that not a penny of the estimated [insert big number] in transactions generated by the resale of motor vehicles in the UK is returned to the investors in the auto industry," said some industry pundit."

You sell it, you lose the rights to sell it again. If a ticket is sold 10 times do they get 10 cuts of the pie? That sounds a lot like VAT if you ask me.

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Rights what???

Another cosy cartel in the forming...

There already is tax on this - it's called income tax (personal or corporate).

The original owner never gets a piece of the secondary market, that's why it's called secondary. Does the company doing an IPO get more cash if the shares go up?

Jealous greedy mediocrities lacking imagination - that's who these "managers" are. Think they can stop working and everyone should just pay for their nice lifestyle.

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Happy

Promoters: Do like the low-cost airlines do

.. and implement variable pricing. That way, the seller gets to choose the balance of revenue and full-ness as sales progress. The price might drop for thinly-attended events, and rise as the event fills. Or even the price depends on the rate-of-sale. I'm sure RyanAir will sell you the algorithm.

No law needed, just a rather spiffier e-commerce solution at the promoter's web site.

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Touts are scumbags

Says it all. Industry chiefs, take steps to prevent touts buying up armfulls of tickets, and we'll say no more about it

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Bah

Why don't artists just sell the tickets on eBay themselves? Let everybody pay stupid prices.

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Unhappy

What to do...

In the states they used to have a this thing called "right of first sale" which allowed a buyer to re-sell almost anything he bought without having to re-license or reimburse the original seller. It is under heavy attack by the global trusts that run the country but still stands. In the case of events you can re-sell your ticket but this has led to a second market trust that makes event tickets scarce to drive up pricing.

It's a problem endemic in all entertainment and sports in the US. Corporations buy whole sections or seats at an event and use them to entertain potential clients, mistresses, shills, political cronies, etc. They do not care whether the seats are used or not as they can take the cost off of their taxes as a write-off. This has the effect of profiteering on the part of the artist, sports team, promoter, event hosts etc. as they know a corporation will soak up the seats no matter what the cost.

As an example a very popular 60's British invasion band that played in the US last year was getting 9000.00 USD per seat in the first three rows and a popular boxing match that just recently aired cost 4000.00 USD for seats in the first two rows.

Perhaps what Parliament should consider is to allow sales of tickets but no corporate loophole.

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Anonymous Coward

What a mess..

Ultimately, I think everyone, rich or poor, should have a shot at buying tickets at a fair price. So I don't think an auction is the best idea. However, what's happening with these ticket brokers is that they are recruiting people to buy up tickets which are then resold on their site for ridiculous amounts. So yeah, I can see why artists and agents have a problem with this. If they charge £500 for a ticket they'll get blasted for overcharging but it's fine for someone else to buy the ticket for £100 and then sell it on for £500. If some kind of restriction is not imposed here, ticket prices (which I believe are already too high), are just going to go up and up.

Not everyone wants to sit by the phone and try to buy tickets when they go on sale. So those people who want to wait a week before the show to decide whether they want to go should be able to pay a premium and buy a ticket on the secondary market. People who do buy tickets on initial sale and then can't go should also be able to sell them on so they don't lose their money. I think the only fair solution here is to set a percentage ceiling at which tickets on the secondary market can legally be sold. Say 25%. And then enforce those laws among the secondary ticket companies such as Seatwave, Viagogo, etc.

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Unhappy

Put the touts out of business

Instead of authorizing them to rip people off. It wouldn't be difficult to implement. All the tickets I have bought in the past couple of years have been printed once I have paid for them, not before. You can tell because the date and time of purchase is printed on them. All they have to do is make the tickets non-transferable, add a little extra information like your name and address and make it mandatory to show ID that matches the ticket before you are allowed in. I would not mind one bit if it took an extra minute to get through while they check my ID if it meant I had a good chance of getting a ticket instead of having to hit the website the minute they are released in order to beat the touts to them.

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The problem with that Danny is what do you do if you are

unable to attend the show for whatever reason. Tickets are expensive and you should be able to at least get a refund if you can't go. Also, a lot of tickets go on sale months before a show these days and it's sometimes difficult to know that far in advance if you're going to be able to attend. People should be able to pay a premium for the convenience of purchasing a ticket at the last minute.

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RE Gert

I agree you should be able to get a refund if you cannot go, but that should mean that it goes back on sale at the box office. You can always find touts outside any event selling last minute tickets at inflated prices, what's wrong with being able to go to the box office instead and ask if there are any cancelled tickets available. Even if the box office charge a bit more for that, it won't be anywhere near the prices the touts want.

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Pirate

art is dead

This is amazing. the next thing they'll want is revenue from drinks sold, etc. These are the same morons who put standards on reselling old CDs so high that reasonable prices can't be levied in response to minor scratches that don't affect performance.

That aside, free market is free market. If you want to turn "art" into an industry, music into a "service" and performance into a for-profit seminar, then "what's good for goose..." people are just taking after the same business model: making money off of something they only have secondhand contact with. No business criminal at the RIAA or the british equivalent has any right to get all high and mighty regarding the "ethics" of regulating "art for profit."

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Stop

An alternative...

...would seem to be to sack off going to the kind of gigs that attract this kind of BS price war.

There are a hell of a lot of good acts who could do with the support and whose shows you can get into with change left over from a tenner.

Those too dumb and sheeplike to develop their own tastes in music are unlikely to find me sympathetic to their plight - it is precisely because people tend to flock towards whatever is currently popular (good or more often, not) that the secondary market exists.

Sorry if I sound like a pissed of teenage NME reader there but if you can't be bothered to explore the wider market you deserve to get scalped.

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