Viagogo accused of ‘fraudulent trading’
EXECUTIVES AT resale site Viagogo must have calculated what would be worse, facing uncomfortable questions from MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee (CMSC) or weathering the backlash from not attending. They chose the latter.
It was the second CMSC hearing into ticket abuse and with MPs fueled by revelations from the first hearing in November (see LIVE UK issue 203) and a fan-led Facebook group fighting Viagogo for the refund of tens of thousands of pounds of overcharges, they were in no mood to be ignored.
Nigel Huddleston MP said Viagogo had shown, “if not contempt of Parliament, they have clearly shown lack of respect to Parliamentarians, and by extension the British public.”
Live Nation takes majority stake in Isle of Wight festival
ISLE OF Wight Festival founder John Giddings has sold a majority stake in the 42,000-capacity event – one of the last major independent festivals in the country – to Live Nation Entertainment (LNE).
The shareholding has been acquired by LN-Gaiety – the division LNE operates with Irish live music entrepreneur Denis Desmond and his Gaiety investments business. Desmond became LNE UK’s non-executive chairman in 2015.
Maiden’s anti-touting triumph
THE NUMBER of Iron Maiden tickets ending up on resale sites for its forthcoming UK tour has fallen by 95 per cent compared to the band’s last arena tour in 2011, after it worked with Ticketmaster to employ a series of anti-touting measures.
Among devices used were paperless ticketing and requiring the original cardholder to present their debit/credit card and photo ID on entry.
Long-term lease for Village Underground
THE FUTURE of London’s 400-capacity Village Underground in Shoreditch has been secured for the next 15 years, after a new lease was agreed with the council.
Landlord Hackney Council rejected proposals from another company to redevelop the site, which has been home to the venue since 2006, which puts on live music, club nights, exhibitions and theatre. The lease now runs until 2027.
Funding for new Sunderland venue
THE NORTH-East could soon have a new venue after the Sunderland Music, Arts and Culture Trust was awarded £6 million to develop a 750-capacity space in the city.
With the working title The Auditorium, the venue is due to open in 2019 and will be the centre of a new cultural quarter in Sunderland, which is bidding to be UK City of Culture 2021.
Multiple Dreamlands return to live music
A MULTI-MILLION-pound makeover at one of the country’s oldest amusement parks has created a new 15,000-capacity open-air live music venue.
The space has been created as part of a £15 million overhaul at Kent’s Dreamland Margate, operated by Sands Heritage, which took over the park from Thanet District Council in 2015.
BRITS reaches biggest audience
THE MASTERCARD-sponsored BRIT Awards reached its biggest audience ever across all platforms thanks to its expanding digital partnerships.
The event achieved 445 million post-show views including on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
ILMC talks ticketing and Brexit
HIGHLIGHTS OF the 29th International Live Music Conference, held in London from 8-10 March, included discussions on secondary ticketing and Brexit.
During the Ticketing: The Survival Plan session, Ticketmaster UK MD Andrew Parsons extolled the virtues of dynamic pricing to avoid over-pricing the back row and under-pricing the front.
Bots ban shows ‘tide is turning’
TOUTS USING robotic computer software, commonly known as bots, to harvest tickets to resell at inflated prices on secondary sites will face unlimited fines, in a Government bid to prevent genuine fans being ripped-off.
As part of an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill, the use of bots by ticket touts is being banned.
Music Box set to open
EMERGING ACTS will soon have access to a new 200-capacity London venue, with the opening of The Music Box in London later this year.
The venue is being built as part of a development in Southwark, which forms the new home for London College of Creative Media (LCCM).
Party time as The O2 turns 10
LONDON’S THE O2 (cap. 20,000) has announced a week-long series of shows featuring artistes such as Ed Sheeran and Celine Dion to mark its 10th anniversary.
Artistes so far announced for the 16-24 June dates include Alt-J (on 16), Celine Dion (20-21), Ed Sheeran (22) and Jamiroquai (23-24).
FanFair guide to counter touts
A GUIDE from anti-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance (FFA) aims to arm music fans with tips on avoiding being ripped-off by touts when buying tickets online.
The free booklet includes 10 key tips and a list of reliable ticket outlets to help educate buyers. It is backed by artistes including Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons, Amy Macdonald, Ed O’Brien, Imogen Heap, Royal Blood, Mark Knopfler, Wolf Alice and You Me At Six.
See Tickets launches ethical resale platform
SEE TICKETS has become the first primary ticketing company to develop its own ticket resale platform.
The new Fan2Fan service allows See customers to resell tickets purchased from the company, at no more than five per cent above face-value, to allow for earlier booking fees.
Leeds arena stays in direct contact
THE 13,000-capacity First Direct Arena in Leeds has renewed its naming rights deal with the bank First Direct.
The sponsorship agreement has been in place since the venue opened in July 2013 and will now run until 2023, with the new deal kicking in next year.
Focus on Wales
MORE THAN 200 acts will be performing across multiple venues during the seventh edition of showcase festival Focus Wales, held in Wrexham.
A conference will run alongside each day of the 11-13 May event, with speakers including booking agent Sarah Casey from The Leighton-Pope Organisation, The Great Escape’s Adam Taylor and John Hywel Morris from PRS For Music. The keynote will be DJ and filmmaker Don Letts.