Scalpers vex U.K. politicians

Music body urges tough action

LONDON — A music biz org in Blighty has received the support of top politicians in its campaign to clean up the secondary ticketing market and ensure artists are properly rewarded.

The Resale Rights Society, which is backed by the managers of more than 400 performing artists, as well as 50,000 songwriters and music publishers, was founded to clamp down on unscrupulous scalpers, known locally as “touts.”

The industry is concerned at the vast sums of money being made by the unregulated secondary ticketing sector and the fact that none of that money comes back to the artists or people who invest in the live music business.

In a report published today, the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee said: “Secondary ticket sellers need to clean up their act and support the industries they profit from.”

The committee’s report into scalping welcomed the RRS proposal for a kitemark scheme for secondary ticketing sites to protect consumers and a levy to return some of the proceeds of the booming secondary ticketing market back to artists.

The report added, “We believe that a scheme of this kind offers the best chance of meeting the concerns of event organizers while still allowing the secondary market to operate unfettered and we strongly encourage all those involved to consider it seriously.”

Now with the backing of the parliamentary select committee, the RRS aims to license the secondary ticketing market on Internet sites such as eBay, Viagogo, Seat Exchange, Seatwave and GetMeIn.

“We welcome the committee’s backing for our campaign to clean up the secondary ticketing market and ensure that music fans and musicians get a fair deal,” said RRS chairman-elect Marc Marot, who is manager of Yusuf Islam and Paul Oakenfold and a former chief executive of Island Records.

Marot said the RRS will now move quickly to put its proposals into action. “We are already in negotiations with some significant players in the secondary ticketing market,” he said. “We expect that the select committee’s powerful support for RRS will hasten these discussions. Some of the less reputable sites will no doubt resist the kind of regulation suggested by the committee, but they should recognize that the game is up and the louder they resist, the more we will question what they have to hide.”

As part of its strategy, RRS is working with its member artists on a revision of the terms and conditions under which tickets are sold so that they may only be resold on RRS-registered sites. Rogue traders will face legal action, according to Marot.