Ticketmaster Australia To Launch “Anti-Scalper” Ticket Resales Early 2014

Music Feeds reported back in May and August, on the news of Splendour In The Grass and Melbourne’s Palais Theatre‘s respective new measures to crackdown on scalpers. Both organisations employed resale systems in order to curb the flux of scalped tickets and now Ticketmaster Australia have joined them.

In a statement released by the company, Ticketmaster stated that they support “any measure that gives fans the opportunity to purchase tickets with confidence,” and welcome “any commitment to tackle fraudulent conduct in resale ticketing markets.” They asserted that the ticketing industry should itself take action against scalpers and “the growth of unscrupulous resale sites,” with “industry wide self-regulation measures.”

Their ticket resale market is set to launch early 2014 and will feature “an industry-leading money back guarantee and anti-scalper/anti-fraud measures allowing fans to transact with confidence.” The Ticketing giant affirmed their commitment to punters, saying “fans deserve access to the full choice of available tickets at any point in time, and a safe and reliable marketplace in which to sell tickets…it is the obligation of the ticketing industry to create such a marketplace.”

News of the initiative comes after months of reports detailing the company’s battle with NSW legislators over proposed laws that would give individual promoters more power to regulate the handling of tickets. As The Daily Telegraph reported in July, the new legislation would grant promoters legal power to refuse entry to punters holding tickets in breach of their terms and conditions. The laws would also give promoters the option of allowing fans to resell tickets at a “capped mark-up price” or banning the practice altogether.

Ticketmaster contends that these new laws are an insufficient solution to a market problem and that industry self-regulation would be more effective, saying “Ticketmaster believes a ‘pan Australian’ approach with the support of other primary ticketing companies would be best suited to assisting the NSW Government’s goal to ensure a safe and secure resale marketplace for fans.”

Ticketmaster has warned of “unintended consequences” if amendments are not made to the Government’s proposal. They say the NSW legislation would prompt consumers to use unregulated foreign companies to resell their tickets and that the creation of a secondary market, fully unrestrained by government regulations and reforms, would only cause the scalping problem to metastasise further.

In July, Music Week reported on promoter Live Nation’s $100 million investment in updating Ticketmaster’s purchasing platform to combat high-tech scalpers, who employ purchasing syndicates and automated software “bots” to purchase tickets in bulk. Earlier this month, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on fans who missed out on tickets to Pink and Bruce Springsteen — two of the world’s foremost touring acts — as a result of the bot problem.

Ticketmaster Australia are hoping that the 2014 launch of their resale system will mirror the success of their TM+ initiative, currently in place in the US. With TM+, fans hunting for tickets on the Ticketmaster website automatically see tickets “straight from artists, teams, and venues” as well as “100% verified resale tickets from fans and other sellers.” The system assures that all purchases “happen safely and securely on Ticketmaster and show up in your Ticketmaster account.”

Using the TM+ system, a resale service fee is charged for every resale ticket purchased for a TM+ event. According to the Ticketmaster website, the fee is based on the price of the ticket, with Ticketmaster and their clients sharing the fee. Resale prices meanwhile, “are set by fans and other sellers, but occasionally artists, teams, venues, and promoters establish a price minimum and maximum.”

The Palais Theatre, which instituted its “Fan-to-Fan” resale system back in August, has seen some success in combatting the scalpers. The iconic venue had an ongoing problem with scalpers, with Palais Theatre Management CEO, Neil Croker explaining “At a recent Palais Theatre event one pair of tickets was sold on Gumtree 17 times, resulting in 32-34 people arriving at the theatre only to discover that they didn’t have tickets to this sold out show.”

Using the Palais’ system, fans with tickets to sold out shows they can no longer use are able to employ the Palais website to find a willing buyer. The seller is thus guaranteed a legitimate return and the buyer guaranteed a place in the theatre on gig night. Soon after the launch of their system, the theatre received an influx of requests for places on their waiting list for a performance by singer-songwriter Passenger.

The Palais management stated at the time that the positive response from punters was an indicator of people’s trust in the Palais brand, their trust in the new service and their willingness to use it. Ticketmaster Australia are hoping to see a similar response from consumers when they launch their new service in 2014.

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