Wednesday, June 15, 2005


So, Ebay bent over backwards to remove Live 8 tickets from its site last night - but that hasn't stopped the moaning. On 6 Music news Harvey Goldsmith has taken the opportunity of the Live 8 row to clamber onto a platform and call for the end of this sort of thing, forever. Goldsmith claims that "every commercial concert that takes place" has its tickets sold by Ebay, a company he describes as the "biggest black marketeers" in the world. (Apparently he doesn't realise that Ebay doesn't actually sell anything and to describe it as a black marketeer is like calling Microsoft Word a profanity generator because you can use it to type the word 'poopypants'.)

Now, we can understand that Goldsmith is upset by the concept of electronic ticket toutery... actually, we can't - how does he lose out? He sells the same number of tickets at the price he's deemed to be right regardless of if they get sold or not; indeed, with some gigs the tout is actually taking some of the risk from the shoulders of the official promoter - we've all seen guys in bad coats desperatelty trying to make something back on unwanted tickets outside venues; those tickets would otherwise have remained unsold in the box office, eating into the promoter's profits.

But even if we could understand Goldsmith's bluster, considering the central message (whatever it was originally) about Live 8 has already been pretty much obscured, how is it helpful to seize the agenda and turn it into a story about ticket toutery? Isn't what Goldsmith has done is take the publicity generated by the concert and started to use it to defend his own industry and its special interests? Isn't that akin to pocketing "filthy money made on the back of the poorest people on the planet?"