AS REPORTED in sister publication Audience last month, and in a move that has taken many by surprise, Ticketmaster (TM) has announced it is closing its Seatwave and GetMeIn 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 sustained pressure from artistes, music fans, industry figures, the government, watchdogs such as the Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) and media, 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 and you’re tired of seeing others snap up tickets just to resell for a profit.”
However, while the last filed accounts show that GetMeIn made a profit after tax of £1,417,623 in the year to 31 December 2016, Seatwave made a loss of £3,085,372 in the same period, with accumulated loss stood at over £6m.
Confirming both sites will be closed in October, 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.”
Ticket touts who have worked with TM’s resale team for many years will most likely concentrate their activity on StubHub and the controversial Viagogo.
“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,” says Adam Webb of campaign group FanFair Alliance,
Speaking at a 5 September Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing into live event ticketing, chairman Damian Collins MP questioned TM’s motive for the closures.
TM UK MD Andrew Parsons acknowledged the platforms had been loss-making overall, but said their closure was part of TM UK’s strategy to work more closely with artistes to limit the resale of tickets.
“It seems to me that closing down GetMeIn and Seatwave was less about being a statement of principle, and more a business transaction to close down two business that were losing money,” said Collins.
Noting that TM would remain involved in secondary ticketing in other territories after the closures in Europe, he continued, “You are saying, ‘we believe this in Europe, where we have loss-making businesses we are going to close, but in America we have highly lucrative businesses that do the same thing, so we are going to keep them open’.”
In response, Parsons said, “They are very different markets and I am very proud of the fact that we have been able to make a decision that was right for the UK market. The move has been driven by fans and our clients.”