Artists including Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons, Radiohead, Royal Blood, Mark Knopfler, Wolf Alice and You Me At Six have endorsed a new online guide to help music fans beat ticket touts.
The move comes just over a week after the government accepted the recommendations of Professor Michael Waterson's review into secondary ticketing and announced an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill banning ticket touts from using “bots” to harvest large amounts of tickets for resale.
Published by FanFair Alliance, the campaign group against industrial-scale online ticket touting, the online guide aims to help fans "avoid ticket touts and profiteering secondary ticketing sites".
“It's important to get educated about ticket touts," said Sheeran. "Read the advice in the FanFair Alliance guide - find out who the authorised ticket sellers are, avoid the secondary sites and, if you've got to sell a ticket, sell if for face value.”
Also backed by MPs Nigel Adams and Sharon Hodgson along with various ticketing companies, the guide offers 10 Tips for beating the touts when buying tickets online. It can be downloaded for free here.
“FanFair has consulted widely to come up with 10 simple tips that aim to empower audiences and help them better navigate the ticket buying process," said Adam Webb of FanFair Alliance. "We want to help fans identify legitimate and authorised ticket agents, and to promote the concept of ethical resale - where ticket purchasers who can genuinely no longer attend a show have a safe and secure mechanism to sell their ticket on at face value. The vast majority of artists and music businesses are with us on this issue.”
A number of acts have spoken out in support of the intitiative. Royal Blood said: “We want our fans to have a fair opportunity to buy tickets at face value. We applaud the work of The Fan Fair Alliance in their efforts to bring greater transparency to the murky world of ticket touting,” while Mumford & Sons said: “Read these 10 simple tips and always go to the artist's website if you want to know the best place to buy your tickets in the future.”
Prominent anti-touting campaigner Josh Franceschi, frontman of You Me At Six, said: “For us it's about transparency and respect between the artist and their fans. With the secondary market in place, there becomes an element of distortion and mistrust which doesn't sit well with us. I was determined to be part of positive change and to be look out for the fans of live music who have given us everything we have today.”
Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien said: “The sheer scale of online ticket touting is a major problem for the live music business: artists know it and audiences at the sharp end certainly do. I fully support the FanFair Alliance campaign to raise awareness around so-called secondary ticketing and to help stop people getting ripped off.”
Amy Macdonald said: "Ticket touting is something I feel very strongly about, and I think it's really important that people are made aware that some ticket resale services that seem legitimate are actually taking advantage of fans."
Mark Knopfler said: “The FanFair Alliance Guide offers common sense advice to ticket buyers and the more widely it is adopted, the better it will be for fans and performers. Nobody wants the front ten rows of their event to be full of super rich consumers who may or may not actually be into the music as opposed to just attending the event.”
MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick added: "The Music Managers Forum has been instrumental in supporting the creation of FanFair and previously published a "managers guide" to help artists and managers deploy strategies to beat the touts. We welcome the creation of this fans guide to ensure that fans know how they can get tickets for the artists they love, and avoid being ripped off by the secondary sites."
The Culture Media And Sport Select Committee is hosting an evidence-gathering session on ticket abuse tomorrow (March 21). Ed Sheeran's manager Stuart Camp of Rocket Music, and promoter Stuart Galbraith of Kilimanjaro Live, are set to give evidence at the hearing, along with representatives from secondary ticketing site Viagogo.