Sir Elton John has criticised secondary ticketing sites, such as StubHub and GetMeIn, that sell gig tickets on at hugely increased prices.
For anyone who is a long time gig attendee, ticket touts are a huge problem. When you have a hugely popular musician or band, tickets are obviously going to sell out very fast.
The problem begins when a rather large chunk of tickets go to sites like StubHub and ticket touts, who then sell them on at hugely inflated prices.
When speaking to the BBC, Sir Elton urged his fans not to pay these increased prices: “I’d rather have empty seats.”
Just as an example, tickets for Sir Elton’s 2016 tour were selling for five times their face value, even though tickets were still available through more official means.
Elton said, regarding the resale: “I think it’s extortionate and I think it’s disgraceful. The fact they’re willing to pay that [amount] is fantastic. But I’d rather they’d save their money and not come.”
Other musicians have also spoken out against such practices, with Coldplay recently signed an open letter to the government calling for action. They said that fans were being “ripped off by touts” and warned of “industrial-scale abuse and insider exploitation” in the ticket sale market.
Mumfod and Sons also weighed in, saying: “It’s our hope that secondary ticketing companies root this out to stop it happening on their sites, and that they shut it down. We want every seat in a sold out show to be filled with a fan.”
StubHub, which is owned by eBay, have responded to the comments: “We understand the concerns of some artists but the reality is that for many events on our site, the bulk of sellers are fans themselves.”
“The dangers of putting restrictions on music fans and how they buy tickets is that it poses huge risks in pushing them into the back alleys where there are no consumer protections at all.”
Yeah, like you couldn’t just add a price cap of say… twice times the face value and still keep those protections in place. Even that would be too expensive for most, but it would still be better than five times the face value.
Viagogo also commented, saying: “Sellers set the prices on Viagogo and for popular events such as Elton John’s 2016 tour, prices can be higher because there is huge demand and limited supply. However, while a seller can list a ticket at any price he likes, it doesn’t mean the ticket will actually sell at that price. Tickets for Elton John’s UK dates actually start from under face value at £71 on our site.”
While that is probably true, that is most likely ignoring a couple of factors; those cheaper tickets are probably for terrible seats, and the majority of the tickets are going to be way over face value. As someone who has missed out on shows because I refuse to pay ridiculous prices of two or three times face value, I can say this with confidence.