Music Industry

Got a Bitch About the Way Concert Tickets are Sold? The Ontario Attorney General Wants to Hear from You

Just before Christmas, a couple of nice people from the Ontario Attorney General’s Office came to see me about the issue of concert tickets. “We know the system is broken. Bots are buggering everything up and elbowing humans out of the way. They buy hundreds of tickets per second, causing shows to be sold out within minutes. And then people get pissed off because tickets immediately show up on the secondary ticket market with huge markups. Something needs to be done.”

When I mentioned this on my radio show, I got dozens and dozens of suggestions on how to fix the concert ticket-buying experience and how to make it fair and equitable. I’ve forwarded those emails to the AG’s office.

Now the AG wants even more input. Yasir Naqvi would like to hear from you directly. If you have something to say about the way tickets are sold in Ontario, go to where you’ll find this. Do it. Now.

Via the CBC.



The Globe and Mail has coverage on the story, too.

As audiences for live music, sports, theatre and other events grasp with resellers taking advantage of ticket-buying’s digital transition, Ontario has opened consultations to refresh legislation to address the problem.

Ticketing is now a digital-first industry, but websites such as Ticketmaster have increasingly become the target of “bot” technology that rapidly buys up huge quantities of tickets and resellers that put them back on the market at enormous markups. Attorney-General Yasir Naqvi announced Tuesday that the province would seek guidance from the public and ticketing industry to make ticket-buying more accessible, affordable and transparent, with better legal enforcement.

The growing practice became a major public pain point this past summer during a blockbuster Tragically Hip tour in the wake of frontman Gord Downie’s cancer announcement, prompting fan outcry over the ethics of allowing resale markets to gouge fans. But a review of ticket laws and subsequent legal changes would not likely be a cure-all for event-goers, who would continue to battle what has become a murky, globalized market.

 As good as it looks for fans, “legislation can’t keep up with technology, and the resellers are highly motivated because they can make a very large amount of money,” says Catherine Moore, an adjunct professor of music technology at the University of Toronto. “It’s classic supply and demand driving prices to unlimited heights.”

The global secondary ticket industry has been reported as worth more than $8-billion (U.S.).

Keep reading.

Finally, maybe we should do something like what’s happening in the UK. From the Telegraph:

Ticket touts that use computer programs to buy concert tickets to sell on at vastly inflated prices face jail or heavy fines.

Ministers are planning to change the law to stop companies using “ticket scalping” software to scoop up hundreds of tickets for concerts and sell them to fans for a large profit.

The law change will be based on a crackdown in New York late last year which has allowed prosecutors to put firms who use the software to be jailed for a year or face a fine of £5,000.

More here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38410 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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