Forget legislation, the free market can clean up the mess created by ticket scalpers.
That’s the opinion of the live industry’s top exec, Live Nation president/CEO Michael Rapino.
“As long as the market’s gigantic, you’ll have sophisticated players trying to figure out how to monetise it”, Rapino told The Globe and Mail after his keynote interview at the Canadian Music Week conference last week. “My instincts are always on the free market”.
LN is a juggernaut of the global concerts and live entertainment business, reporting a 15% rise in revenue to $US8.4 billion in 2016, its sixth straight year of record results.
The U.S.-based group is also a force in the secondary ticketing space through its Ticketmaster business, which owns such platforms as Seatwave and GetMeIn.
During the CMW session in Toronto, Rapino reportedly addressed the war against so-called “bots,” those reviled digital creatures which rapidly purchase as many entertainment and concert tickets as possible for resale, often at startling markups.
“Looking ahead, the focus should be on hitting the sweet point on pricing and getting the tech right,” Rapino claimed.
“I just think [efforts to legislate against touting are] so unrealistic,” the LN chief was quoted as saying. “I think some of these [efforts] are decent attempts, but I don’t think overall, until you start pricing the product better, and/or have better technology to deliver the fan their ticket, that you’ll start to make a difference. We’re the only industry in the world that has a higher retail value the second it’s sold”.
Scalping and the secondary ticketing market are searing-hot topics right now. U.S. Senators last year passed legislation that would make using bots an “unfair and deceptive practice” under the Federal Trade Commission Act, while in the U.K., the country’s government announced a crackdown in March under which touts who used bots to sweep up tickets would face unlimited fines.
Closer to home, Choice has launched an international survey of the resale market, where the activity of Viagogo, Stubhub, Ticketmaster Resale and others will come under the microscope. The consumer rights watchdog recently referred Viagogo and Ticketmaster Resale to the ACCC for potential breaches of Australian Consumer Law.