Ticketmaster set to shut down resale sites

Posted: August 14, 2018

Following a series of developments in the secondary ticketing industry earlier this year, ticket giant Ticketmaster has announced plans to shut down GETMEIN! and Seatwave, the two resale sites it operates.[1]  The two sites will be replaced by a Ticketmaster fan‑to‑fan exchange service, which ticket-holders can use to resell tickets at face value or less (plus a 15% booking charge).

From 13 August, neither GETMEIN! nor Seatwave will list any new events, and both will permanently shut down in October in the UK and Ireland, and later this year in the rest of Europe. Ticketmaster’s UK Managing Director, Andrew Parsons, stated that “closing down our secondary ticketing sites and creating a ticket exchange on Ticketmaster has always been our long‑term plan”.

In future, fans who buy tickets through Ticketmaster will be clearly shown whether their tickets are new or are being resold by another fan, with new tickets appearing in blue, and second-hand tickets in pink. The aim is that the redesigned Ticketmaster website “will make buying and selling tickets fast and simple, with all tickets in the same place”.[2]

There has been long-standing criticism of exploitative activities in the secondary ticketing market, such as the practice by professional touts of buying‑up swathes of tickets immediately on first release, before reselling them at a significant mark‑up on secondary ticketing sites. By shifting to a fan-to-fan exchange system, Ticketmaster should be better equipped to control resales and to ensure that those conducted through its website are done legitimately between fans.

Commenting on the decision, Ticketmaster said: “That’s right, we’ve listened and we hear you: secondary sites just don’t cut it anymore and you’re tired of seeing others snap up tickets just to resell for a profit. All we want is you, the fan, to be able to safely buy tickets to the events you love.”

Ticketmaster’s move has been welcomed by the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, campaigning group The FanFair Alliance, and digital and creative industries minister Margot James, among others.

The action increases pressure on Ticketmaster’s main rival in the secondary market, Viagogo, which had its offices raided by the Competitions and Markets Authority (the CMA) last year over alleged violations of consumer law.  Despite concerns raised by the CMA with Viagogo about the information it provides to consumers, the CMA reported that: “this platform has not, currently, agreed to make the changes the CMA considers necessary. The CMA has notified them it will take action through the courts, unless they promptly commit to satisfactorily addressing its concerns.”[3]

For further information on other developments in the secondary ticketing industry this year, please see Jessie Merwood’s article for Entertainment Law Review, which is available here.

Jessie Merwood, Associate Solicitor, and Thomas Moore, Trainee Solicitor, Simkins LLP

 

[1] Ticketmaster statement at: https://blog.ticketmaster.co.uk/hq/resale-39720?int_cmp_name=Ticketmaster-Marketing&int_cmp_id=UK-Home-601&int_cmp_creative=Home-main-2&tm_link=tm_ccp_Home_main_Ticketmaster-Marketing.

[2] The Guardian, Ticketmaster to shut Seatwave and GetMeIn resale sites at: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/aug/13/ticketmaster-shut-seatwave-getmein-resale-secondary-ticketing.

[3] See https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/secondary-ticketing-websites.