LOS ANGELES — The battle of the band tickets is officially on.
Backed by Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster,
a group of concert promoters and artist managers on Monday declared war
on ticket resellers such as those on StubHub, Razorgator and others.
The newly formed group, dubbed Fans First Coalition, lashed out at
“scalpers” and others who buy tickets in bulk and then resell them.
“It erodes the heart of our business,” said Randy
Levy, an independent concert promoter and president of Rose Presents in
Minneapolis. Levy said if fans have to pay markedly above a ticket’s
face value to attend a concert, they will have less money to spend on
other live shows.
The solution: “paperless tickets” that are largely
non-transferable. That means only the original buyer can claim the
ticket on the day of the event, cutting out scalpers. Sounds reasonable,
Wrong, says another group, called the Fan Freedom
Project, backed by the National Consumers League and founded earlier
this year by Jon Potter, former director of the Digital Media Assn.
Potter argues that the real agenda for promoters who
back paperless tickets is to prevent consumers from selling or giving
away tickets they have purchased.
“I would say that what they’re doing is very
anti-fan,” Potter said. “Consumers should have the right to determine
what they can do with a ticket once they’ve purchased it. That means
being able to sell it at both higher or lower than face value.”
The controversy over paperless tickets is not new.
Miley Cyrus and Bruce Springsteen both experimented with paperless
ticketing back in 2009 for their concert tours.
But with powerful forces amassing on both sides, each
professing allegiance to the consumer, the issue is poised to get
hotter, particularly as states such as New York this year banned the
issuance of paperless tickets and Massachusetts lawmakers consider a
bill that would preserve a ticket resale market.
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