Published on May 11th, 2018 | by Alan Cross2
Ontario’s proposed concert ticket legislation is dumb and doomed to fail
After a couple of years of consultations, the Ontario Government’s legislation regarding tickets for concerts, sporting events, and theatre productions goes into effect July 1. And it’s all headed towards an epic fail.
Buying tickets is one of the most miserable consumer experiences invented by capitalism. Putting a cap on the price of a ticket on the secondary market will do nothing to help the situation.
Rather than repeat myself here, let’s go to this story at the CBC.
Ontario’s new law promising to cap prices on scalped sports and concert tickets — due to roll out July 1 — will fail, critics warn, in part because the province isn’t adding new staff to enforce it.
Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General told CBC News in a statement this week the government will “use its existing resources to enforce the new Ticket Sales Act.”
The new law dominated debate among music journalists and ticket companies attending Canadian Music Week in Toronto, with many of them questioning whether the new law will work.
“If they’re not adding new resources that would be a pretty toothless law if there’s no enforcement,” said veteran music journalist and radio personality Alan Cross. “Who’s going to abide by it?”
Cross hosted an on-stage interview with Jared Smith, president of Ticketmaster’s North American operations, during the conference for artists and industry professionals.
Smith defended the online ticket company’s expansion into the “resale market” frequented by scalpers and mass ticket brokers. He also criticized Ontario’s new law, saying an attempt to cap prices simply won’t work.
“A cap is going to be unenforceable … technologically and otherwise,” Smith said.
Then there’s this story in The Toronto Star.
With 50 days to go before Ontario’s landmark ticket scalping law comes into force, entertainment industry insiders worry it will be powerless to protect consumers.
The Ticket Sales Act, which passed last December and comes into force July 1, will ban computer “bots” used to automatically buy up sports and concert tickets and cap resale markups at 50 per cent above face value.
When the law was passed, the province promised “new enforcement measures.” The province told the Star and CBC this week that there would be no new funding or additional personnel, calling into question whether the sale of hundreds of thousands of tickets for events this summer will be effectively policed.
Veteran radio DJ Alan Cross has followed the rapid evolution of the ticket market as it moved online and believes Ontario’s new law will be unenforceable.
“This is a horrible, poorly thought-out piece of legislation,” Cross said at a Canadian Music Week event Thursday. “It’s a populist pander to fans … (But) it’s not going to make it easier for fans to get tickets.
If you want to take a really, deep dive into all the problems and complexities of selling, reselling, and buying tickets, check out my Ongoing History podcast on the subject here.