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Managers Angle For A Taste Of The Secondary Ticket Market

LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — A group of heavyweight artist management firms in the UK have banded together to form a coalition seeking a slice of the online ticket resale pie.

An initiative of the Music Managers Forum (MMF), the group aims to "unite the live music industry" in a new Resale Rights Society which will license the currently-unregulated secondary ticketing market on sites such as eBay, Viagogo, Seat Exchange, Seatwave and GetMeIn.

The society's chairman, former Island Rex exec and current manager of Yusef Islam and Paul Oakenfold, Marc Marot said "The secondary ticketing market offers benefits to music fans and the live music industry alike. It does not make sense to try and criminalise it.

"On the other hand there are not only real issues of consumer protection here, it is unacceptable that not a penny of the estimated £200m in transactions generated by the resale of concert tickets in the UK is returned to the investors in the live music industry. Where this trade is fair to consumers, we propose to authorise it by agreeing a levy on all transactions"

They also propose to establish a "kitemark" that would denote licensed ticket resale sites to prevent scams and bogus tickets and ensure refunds for tickets in the event of a concert cancellation.

This position isn't likely to be readily adopted by the secondary ticket market and some have pointed out that this scheme would be tantamount to charging twice for a ticket. A spokesman for online auction site eBay stated "We welcome the fact that parts of the industry are at least starting to realise that it is better to work with the secondary market than try to outlaw it.

"However, we would question why a consumer should need a licence to resell a ticket that they have already paid for, particularly when in the overwhelming majority of cases they are denied a full refund from the primary seller if they can't go.

"People are already concerned about the booking fees they pay in the primary market and it is not clear why they would be willing to pay even more to event promoters via a levy."

The RRS society is planning to hold their first meeting by the end of January 2008 and hopes to have brokered some sort of Faustian arrangement with ticket brokers by the end of March, Reuters reported.

The squabble is playing out against the backdrop of a long-anticipated report by the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, which has conducted a "thorough" investigation of the issue. Last week, John Whittingdale MP, the chairman of said committee was quoted as stating "all the players in the market in which they all recognise that the secondary ticket seller should make a contribution to the person whose intellectual property they're selling." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers