Music Industry

Published on December 6th, 2017 | by Alan Cross


Another Proposal for Protecting Consumers When It Comes to Concert Tickets

I’ve had some conversations with Alan Geland, the founder of Fair Ticket Solutions, a company based out of Vancouver that’s looking to bring the sale of concert tickets (and tickets for theatre productions and sporting events) into the 21st century by proposing ideas that protect consumers. He sent me this:

Can you think of any other industry where you pay a premium for a new product (or service), and when you go to use it, it might not work and you can’t get another? It doesn’t exist in any other industry, so why in live events?
Of course, there are no comparable’s if you ignore another global industry also selling tickets for seats; the airlines.  So why is it the airline industry doesn’t have similar problems despite welcoming their customers to print paper tickets at home?  Because the airlines manage to retain control over their tickets until their passengers enter the plane.    
Are you aware there are no laws that prohibit a consumer from transferring or selling an airline ticket in North America?None!  And it’s not because of security, which is run separately by both the TSA and CATSA.
There is only one rule that requires anyone entering or leaving the US to have their name on the TSA manifests 1 hour prior to scheduled departure.  That’s it.   Tickets for use internally in the US and Canada aren’t subject to that requirement, nor is leaving or entering Canada.  
The airlines simply set the ground rules, and no one says, “It is my ticket, and I should be able to do what I want with it”.  Why can’t the live event industry?  The easy answer is because the public’s perception is that the live events industry should not be allowed to, and governments believe same.  Which is ludicrous when you consider that there is far more at stake in the airline industry when a seat is sold.  
What every consumer, industry stakeholder, and government wants for their constituents is to be well-served.   But in live events, it doesn’t exist.
Although “bots” are currently making headlines worldwide, they are not the problem in live events.  They are just one of the symptoms.  
Its time media became better educated, and share their powerful voice with both consumers and legislatures to much better protect all.
What follows are a set of questions and suggestions to make those things a reality.
Alan is speaking of his recent piece in The Globe and Mail:

In 2015, when the government passed an amendment to the Ticket Speculation Act, they got it half right. Enacting policies around authentication was the right solution. It would have eliminated fraud, and allowed industry to use technology to protect consumers in many ways, such as the detection and elimination of bots, and the implementation of price caps at an artist’s request.

 But the government caved to resellers and added in a money-back guarantee, creating an illusion of consumer protection. In so doing, it allowed any non-authorized reseller to sell a fake ticket to a live event, giving the consumer a false confidence that a money-back guarantee was satisfactory. It’s not.

It doesn’t account for the lost experience or expense to see the event. It also doesn’t account for the fear that many people have, when purchasing tickets from secondary-market resellers, that they might be turned away at the gate with a fake ticket. It’s unconscionable! Can you think of any other industry where you pay a premium for a new product or service, and when you go to use it, it might not work and you can’t get another? It doesn’t exist in any other industry, so why here?

Read the whole story here.

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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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One Response to Another Proposal for Protecting Consumers When It Comes to Concert Tickets

  1. fred says:

    The problem with any solution is enforcement. Artist X says you can’t sell your ticket for more than 150%. Can’t prove I bought my ticket for more than that or that I sold mine for more than that. Make bots illegal? Sure. But if Ticketmaster could tell the difference they would not be a problem now. Make tix non-transferable? Put someones name on every ticket and check on the way through the door that the holder matches the person? What if Johnny can’t go and I bring Steve instead? Will be like the airlines…please show up 1 hour before the show for the ampitheatre, 2 hours before for the ACC and 3 hours before for Rogers Centre so we can check your credentials.

    Its a tough fix. The answer is not easy. Maybe that dutch auction idea is not a bad one

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