Summit Report 2014
Ticket abuse, X Factor, Ed Sheeran and a human skull– all at the LIVE UK Summit
THE FALL-OUT from the All Party Parliamentary Group’s (APPG) investigation into ticket abuse, threats facing small venues, The X Factor and unusual rider requests were in the mix at the eighth edition of the LIVE UK Summit.
The annual conference was held at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel in London on 16 October and attracted more than 300 delegates.
The Music Chamber: Politics and Live Events session brought together politicians Sharon Hodgson, Mike Weatherley and Lord Tim Clement-Jones, founder of the Music Venue Trust Mark Davyd and Primary Talent International (PTI) MD Peter Elliott.
Top of the agenda was the APPG’s report on ticket abuse, which followed a series of evidence-gathering sessions at Westminster Hall and resulted in a raft of recommendations to protect fans and increase transparency in the resale sector.
But Labour MP Hodgson said none of the Big 4 – Viagogo, Seatwave, Ticketmaster-owned Get Me In! and eBay-owned StubHub, appeared to have complied so far.
“It’s been four months since that regulation came in and … as far as we can see, none of them are abiding by this,” she said. “There are no extra details being given on any of the sites for any of the tickets. Perhaps they need a little bit longer to make the change, but we’re definitely going to be making the minister aware.
“We need the industry to be far more truthful and honest about what’s happening with tickets. We really need the artistes to come forward as well and demand greater transparency and honesty in all of this.”
Rock the House founder Weatherley, who will step down as an MP at the next general election, said, “In my view buying a ticket isn’t a commodity to be resold, it’s a licence to view and it’s sold to you individually.
“When I was speaking to the secretary of state, he agreed that if the conditions on the ticket say it cannot be resold, then it’s up to the owner of that ticket or the person selling it to enforce those restrictions,” said the Conservative MP. “The trouble is, the enforcement of those restrictions is a civil thing rather than a criminal thing.”
Davyd, founder of The Forum (cap. 250) in Tunbridge Wells, launched the Music Venue Trust earlier this year in response to threats to the future of small venues nationwide. He is calling for the Agent of Change Principle to be adopted in the UK, as it has been in Australia.
“Agent of Change basically says if a music venue wants to move into a neighbourhood, it needs to manage the change of what happens when you open a music venue in the middle of a neighbourhood,” he explained. “Similarly, if you want to build flats in the middle of an area where there are music venues, you need to build those flats to a standard that means the music venue can continue to trade.
“I was quite surprised to discover that you can move right next door to a music venue and immediately object to the noise. It sounds mad but that’s exactly what’s happening all over the country. We currently have 12 music venues that are experiencing problems exactly like that.”
Davyd added, “We’ve just managed to get some money out of the Arts Council, which is quite a breakthrough, to bring together all these small venues for a big event in London at the Southbank on 9 December, where we’re going to really try and unify that voice.”
PTI MD Peter Elliott, whose company’s roster includes Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Libertines and Lana Del Rey, said “We have a vested interest in all these topics and we try and support where we can. Without the grassroots venues as a breeding ground for new talent we don’t get the new talent coming through.
He added, “Scalping [touting] is destroying our business. Ticket pricing is absolutely key to the development of a new act, as important as the room you put them in.
“The fact there are parasites feeding off the bands and taking the money away is a disgrace.
“We’re being treated as a sub-class industry – the legislation is there to support sporting events, but not music events. That makes it almost inevitable that the industry will start eating itself and some of the legitimate ticket companies move into secondary ticketing.”
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