Taylor Swift recently caused the fury of her fans by encouraging them to spend extra money on all kinds of things to get concert tickets. Fans of the Foo Fighters, in turn, forgot to bring their passports to a concert, preventing them from entering. Concert ticket controversies are increasingly hitting the media, and often the trouble begins with performers trying to prevent their tickets from being bought up en masse and resold at extortionate prices.
The market for resale of concert tickets, secondary ticketing, has led to a large number of companies and sites that cleverly respond to supply and demand and thus earn big money off the backs of concertgoers, artists and songwriters. These are considerable amounts: according to figures from Live Nation, Ticketmaster – the largest ticket sales site – raised more than 1 billion dollars worldwide in 2016 with secondary ticketing. The exorbitant resale prices are no fun for anyone except the traders. Music lovers are the victims because they pay way too much, artists and songwriters want fans to come to their concerts and want to be able to decide for themselves what they ask for their tickets. For example, the price may have been deliberately kept low by the artist so that people with less money can also visit the concert.
In 2010, a bill was passed in the House of Representatives that regulates that tickets may not be resold at more than 110 percent of the original price. On 10 October this year, seven years after the first proposal, the proposal will be discussed in the Senate. Please note: the resale of tickets is not prohibited, only the resale at exorbitant prices. So if you get sick on the day you were going to go to a concert, you can still sell your ticket to someone else.
This bill does ensure that it is no longer lucrative for brokers to buy and resell tickets. That would be beneficial for artists and songwriters (not always one and the same person). The bill actually benefits everyone except those who profit from the trade. Recent research (‘Pop, what’s in it?’) shows that the income position of musicians and artists in the Netherlands is fragile. If a ticket is resold at an extortionate price, not a cent extra goes to the artist and songwriter.
Ask for a refund
A frequently heard objection to the bill is that enforcement would be complicated: the consumer must request a refund of the excess paid. That is why concert organizer Mojo argues that it is better to let the market do its job and to accept resale. Reclaiming that money is not that complicated, however: as a consumer you can go to a disputes committee, which is much more accessible than going to court.