Exclusive: A Labor Government would target ticket scalpers, banning bots and capping resale prices nationally under their Soundtrack Australia contemporary music policy.
The measures would aim to reduce the scalping activities of offshore sites such as Viagogo that offer overpriced and fake tickets within minutes of concerts and sporting events going on sale on official ticketing platforms.
Artists and managers who have campaigned for stronger government action to protect ticket buyers from scalping will join Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister for the Arts Tony Burke for the policy launch at the Oxford Arts Factory in Sydney tomorrow.
Gang of Youths frontman Dave Le’aupepe presented the politicians with a raft of evidence from managers and bands about how their fans have been gouged by the online ticket touts.
Dozens of fans are believed to have fronted at concerts during the Gang of Youths’ completely sold-out national tour this month bearing fake tickets they unwittingly bought online.
Missy Higgins said many music fans had been cheated by the online scalpers often because they were not aware sites such as Viagogo were not legitimate ticket sellers.
“If someone googles my name and the word ‘tickets’ is the first thing that comes up there is a link to Viagogo,” Higgins said.
“They’re actually a ticket reseller but they usually charge a lot more than the genuine ticket agencies. Plus sometimes Viagogo and companies like them sell fakes so one way or another people get tricked into buying from them and can end up getting ripped off.
“Something has to change. Search engines shouldn’t be allowed to let ticket resellers like Viagogo deceive and exploit music fans like this so I’m very pleased to hear that Labor is committed to putting an end to this ridiculous situation.
“In the meantime fans who want to buy tickets should only do so by following the official links from the artist website.”
Based in Switzerland, the website had tickets for the Red Hot Chili Peppers concerts in February – which went on sale on Monday – within minutes of disappointed fans trying to purchase them on Ticketek and Ticketmaster being informed the shows had sold out.
The American funk rockers offered their tickets officially for $101.75 – plus that ridiculous fee to print it out yourself at home – but even nosebleed seats now cost upwards of $254 on Viagogo.
Other fans waiting in queues on Ticketmaster to buy Chili Peppers tickets before they were sold out were constantly subject to pop-ups trying to link them to their Ticketmaster Resale site which offered the cheap tickets for more than $356.60, far above the 10 per cent cap proposed by the ALP in their arts policy.
The ACCC is currently taking action against Viagogo alleging misleading or deceptive conduct, including through the use of the word “official” in search engine advertisements such as Google.
Viagogo is the first result of any ticket search on Google because the company outbids official sellers via Adwords.
The Soundtrack Australia music policy will also increase funding for music education in schools, boost opportunities for young musicians seeking to launch their careers overseas and offer assistance to set up music hubs where aspiring artists can rehearse.
They will invest $30 million over three years to support the policy initiatives.