In a move that has taken many in the industry by surprise, Ticketmaster (TM) UK has announcement it is closing its Seatwave and GetMeIn (GMI) resale sites.
The news comes within weeks of parent company Live Nation Entertainment reporting a 29 per cent leap in revenue from worldwide secondary ticketing activities.
It appears the company has bowed to a sustained campaign from atistes, music fans, industry figures, the government and watchdogs such as the Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA), against the Big Four resale sites – eBay-owned StubHub, Viagogo, Seatwave and GMI.
“This is something I’ve been campaigning on for almost a decade, so I’m pleased to see movement at long last,” says Sharon Hodgson MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse.
“The announcement sends a message to ticket touts that they’re now losing this long, drawn-out battle.
TM says in a blog, “we’ve listened and we hear you: secondary sites just don’t cut it anymore anymore and you’re tired of seeing others snap up tickets just to resell for a profit.”
However, while the last filed accounts show that GMI made a profit after tax of £1,417,623 on turnover of £14.135m in the year to 31 December 2016, Seatwave made a loss in the same period after tax of £3,085,372 on on turnover of just £4.979m.
At 31 December 2016, Seatwave’s accumulated loss stood at £6.012m.
TM says neither site will take new listings as of 13 August and will be closed down in October. Its equivalent European websites will be closed in early 2019.
TM’s blog continues, “We’re launching a fan-to-fan ticket exchange on Ticketmaster, where you can easily buy tickets or sell tickets you can’t use through our website or app, at the price originally paid or less.
“All we want is you, the fan, to be able to safely buy tickets to the events you love. The new facility will be rolled out in October in the UK and Ireland, and across Europe early next year.
Ticket touts who have worked with TM’s resale team for many years will be forced to go elsewhere, with eBay-owned StubHub and the controversial Viagogo as their most likely high profile destionations.
It is not known whether the Competition and Markets Authority will continue to include Seatwave and GetMeIn in its latest investigation into the Big Four resale sites, now that those two are set to close.
Adam Webb, head of artiste manager-backed campaign group FanFair Alliance, says, “While enforcement action is still urgently required to clamp down on rogue operators such as Viagogo, we are now much closer to a genuine transformation of the secondary market – where large-scale online touts are locked out, where innovation can flourish, and the resale of tickets is made straightforward, transparent and consumer-friendly.”
Hodgson adds, “It’s now time for Viaggo and Stubhub to also clean-up their act so that fans can at long last be put first.”