Combatting the Touters, One Country at a Time

The ongoing fight against ticket scalping

By Raquel Puerto Social Media Manager

All music fans know the struggle of buying tickets to see their favorite band.

You have your laptop open and credit card ready and then five minutes after tickets go on sale,  the whole event is sold out. Then another couple minutes after, you see tickets to the same show on StubHub going for hundreds of dollars over the initial value. There’s a good chance you have become another victim of ticket bots.

Ticket bots were created to purchase thousands of tickets at a time before the general public. Tickets are bought through an automated software and then re-sold on third-party ticket sites like StubHub and Viagogo at inflated prices. This digital software has frustrated real buyers who claim that fans don’t have a chance to buy tickets through reasonable means.

Musicians have started to help with the crackdown against bots, offering fan presale codes, non-transferrable tickets and even a ticket buying limit. The U.K. band Arctic Monkeys established an anti-touting system on their 2018 tour that would “prevent tickets being resold on secondary ticket sites.” One of the measures included requiring the initial purchaser to bring an ID to the concert to verify the name printed on the ticket. The band did allow tickets to be transferred but only through Twickets.com, which only allows tickets to be sold at face value.

Ticketmaster has also established their own model, which requires buyers to sign up to be a Ticketmaster Verified Fan to “separate actual, human fans from bots and scalpers.” Many artists including the 1975, Harry Styles and even Taylor Swift have joined the program to help fans have a chance at getting fairly priced tickets.

Unfortunately, there is no federal legislation in the United States that criminalizes ticket scalping or the use of bots, but laws have been in the works internationally. Across the pond, the U.K. made a push in 2015 with the Consumer Rights Act, which protects consumers from the unethical practices of secondary ticketing. Earlier this year, the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority ruled that secondary ticket sites need to be more transparent with their pricing. In Hong Kong, leaders have also urged to expand their Places of Public Entertainment ordinance to criminalize ticket touting in the country.

While this is a start, other countries should take these countries’ examples to establish some type of federal legislation and work with musicians to combat this issue. But until then, we’ll have to continue to deal with the ongoing frustration.