Sunday, November 01, 2015

Touting is okay if you're a business, right?

The business of "secondary ticketing" - which might look like touting to you or I, except it's done by men in suits sitting in offices rather than shady looking blokes outside stations bellowing "One Direction BIIIIII OR SELLLL" - is being investigated by the government right now.

The Line of Best Fit has everything you need to know, including the depressing likely outcome:

Unfortunately, it looks like a lot of major businesses and MPs are already attempting to sweep the consulation under the carpet, thus removing the public's right to share their opinion. Sajid Javid - the UK's Business Secretary, no less - even describes touts as "classic entrepreneurs".
Philip Davies is also expressing his opinions:
He says of secondary ticketing regulations: "Needless intervention is not the answer and will only serve to drive many consumers away from safe online platforms and into the arms of street touts."
Davies, you might remember, is the hooting arse-arrangement who most recently filibustered to stop carers being able to park free at hospitals, so it's perhaps unsurprising that someone incapable of compassion is going to bring much to the table in the way of common sense.

TLOBF also report on another shady bit of activity:
StubHub is also resorting to unscrupulous practices. They've created Fan Freedom UK to lobby for further reforms - and, apparently, "analysis of their Twitter shows that over 90% of their followers are fake".
Now, Fan Freedom started out as US thing - hilariously, they've allowed their domain name to lapse in the last couple of days, but has a grab, and they're still active on Facebook. They have a discussion policy which includes a ban of spam, which is ironic for an organisation which is basically one huge advert. They have a petition, which - while acknowledging their origins as floating on a sea of StubHub cash, starts by enthusing over their supporters:
Fan Freedom is supported by more than 150,000 live event fans, and is backed by leading consumer and business organizations such as the American Conservative Union, National Consumers League, Consumer Action, the Institute for Liberty, and the League of Fans.
Yes, that's right. Almost as if they forgot the whole "we're the voice of the fans" schtick, they start their list of supporters with a right-wing lobbying organisation.

What of the British cousin? They actually have managed to keep control of their own website, so that's a plus.
Fan Freedom UK is an organisation dedicated to fighting for the consumer rights of fans, specifically around ticketing issues. As part of this, we represent all kinds of people who enjoy live entertainment – from fans who sit in the rain week in and week out to watch their team, to music fans who stay out until the early hours to enjoy the bands they love.
From the fans who get up in the middle of the night to check their money is still there, to the fans who spend a lot of time talking to accountants and lobbyists to protect the money they love.

Like their American model, though, they don't do very much to hide the fact that they're actually a bunch of lobbyists - there's a proud "supported by Parliament Street" banner on their site, and Parliament Street are a swivel-eyed right-wing thinky tank:
We are a think tank rooted in the values of freedom. We think beyond the current policy agenda and look towards the debates that are likely to be formed by the next generation in government. We don’t have a corporate view beyond our values.
They're chaired by Craig Rimmer, who, his bio proudly proclaims:
He was Head of Information at Conservative Central Office during William Hague’s leadership.
You'll remember amongst the "information" that came out of the Tory party during what I suppose we could loosely describe as Hague's leadership was the claim that voting for Tony Blair would result in the abandonment of the pound. This was only a marginally less credible claim about losing pounds than those of Marjorie Dawes.

So, somehow, on both sides of the Atlantic, the authentic voice of people who go to gigs seems to be being filtered through extremely well-paid lobbyists, all of whom are hell-bent on right-wing, state-shrinking policies.

If these "voices" get their way, it's not going to make secondary ticketing any better. We're more likely to end up with only secondary agencies being allowed to buy tickets directly. To save us from the touts, of course.

Stop this bollocks from happening by adding your actual voice to the consultation. Don't let right wing thinky tanks steal your front row slot.


Robin Carmody said...

I know that everyone expects me to say things like this, but I'm not sure "the authentic voice of people who go to gigs" can be separated from the Libertarian Right as easily as all that.

But then we shouldn't really expect acknowledgement of the intersection between rock music and the Libertarian Right, as both are today, from someone who thinks jokes which were probably already old when the Goodies made them about the 13-year-old Prince Andrew are relevant to the Cameron government's cultural strategy.

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