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UK Investigative Report Alleges Widespread Primary Ticket Allocations Going To Secondary Market Sites

LONDON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — An investigative program by UK broadcaster Channel 4 alleged that thousands of tickets being sold of secondary ticketing websites such as Viagogo and Seatwave, which claim to be fan-to-fan are instead being sold by insiders such as event promoters and artist reps.

According to Channel 4's Dispatch, more than 29,000 tickets for the 2011 Take That Tour were provided to Viagogo by promoters SJM Concerts before being sold on the primary market at face value. Live Nation, Phil Macintyre Entertainment and Metropolois music were also allegedly implicated in similar ticket allocations.

The report also alleged that Viagogo itself was purchasing tickets for resale on its own, despite explicitly claiming not to do so in its marketing material. Undercover reporters employed by Channel 4 obtained jobs at Viagogo and took videos of Viagogo employees allegedly selling ticket allocations directly for Viagogo.

Viagogo subsequently dropped the term ‘fan-to-fan’ from its logo following the Dispatch investigation.

A spokesman for The Concert Promoter’s Association, which counts SJM, Live Nation and Metropolis as members, told Dispatch that promoters selling tickets on the secondary market have helped to reduce ticket prices in those markets.

"In this respect the secondary market is effectively being used as a premium price primary market for those fans who wish to use it for convenience," Concert Promoter’s Association's spokesman told Dispatch. "[Fans would] be happier that the premium went to the artist via the promoter rather than went to a tout."

Seperately, Live Nation's COO for International, Paul Latham told Music Week that while Live Nation has provided allocations of tickets to Viagogo, it only does so with the "participation" of artists and their representation.

"Live Nation has never listed tickets in the secondary market without the participation of the artists or management," Latham told Music Week. "Indeed, when we have, the allocation is not more than 3% of the total available tickets for sale."

Christiaan Munro, co-founder of secondary ticket platform The Ticket Trust had a different take, telling Channel 4, "The wholesale use of the secondary market is not necessarily illegal but is morally abhorrent. We take great pride in having established The Ticket Trust secondary platform with the Association of Independent Festivals and hope that many more other real music fans can get to sell or buy unwanted tickets at face value in a fair and transparent manner. I guess it is now time for those involved to ask themselves if they are still comfortable biting the hand that feeds."

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– CelebrityAccess Staff Writers