More cynical voices than mine in the Music Week office – and, yes, apparently such voices do exist – suggested that Professor Waterson’s review into secondary ticketing tickets would have two possible outcomes.
One, it would do nothing. Or two, it would do next-to nothing.
But then it’s easy to be cynical about secondary ticketing, because it’s a cynical old business. Its success is essentially based on the assumption that greed is humanity’s default setting, and anyone who chooses not to participate – artists who sell their tickets for less than they could, promoters who decline to cash in on lucrative resale potential – is standing in the way of good, old-fashioned entrepreneurship.
As it turned out, Professor Waterson took the next-to-nothing option, which makes his report the only one of the umpteen reviews into the sector to have made any progress at all. It certainly did enough to have been cautiously welcomed by the anti-secondary ticketing lobby, while his suggestion that the primary sector also needs to put its house in order at least positioned a cat somewhere in the vicinity of the pigeons.
It’s important to remember that ticket touting – whether done by men in suspiciously large coats outside venues or anonymous sellers online – is not a crime. Now, it seems inevitable that it never will be – but, if his recommendations are heeded, Waterson’s review gives everyone in both primary and secondary sectors a chance to sort the whole sorry business out, once and for all.
And if they don’t? Well, beware. Because there’s no more cynical voice than that of the general public once they’ve decided they’re being ripped off…
Mark Sutherland, Editor