Image credit: Samuel Regan-Asante

Ticket resale is an industry killer that takes a potential $13 billion out of fans and artists’ pockets, but now they’re being punished.

Ticket resellers have long been a plague upon the live music industry. These parasites buy up the available tickets for events and then sell them at inflated prices for a profit, forcing fans to spend more for the privilege of attendance. This hurts fans, potentially preventing them from being able to afford tickets or putting them off, as well as artists who can end up with empty seats or unhappy fans.

At long last, the EU are taking some action to prevent and punish this practice which causes so much harm in the music industry. The European Union’s Digital Services Act came into place at the weekend. This act comes with regulation on all online intermediaries for live music operating in the EU.

The act makes it necessary for secondary ticketing marketplaces to identify and verify sellers. Platforms will be obligated to collect “essential information about third party professional sellers, such as name, contact details and ID, before traders can list tickets on the platform”.

Face Value for European Ticketing (FEAT), a campaign operating across Europe against for-profit ticket touting, celebrate the act. FEAT director Sam Shemtob wrote: “This is a landmark moment for Europe’s live events sector. Our priority now is to ensure that the new rules are enforced, with a clear process for removing illegal ticket listings as and when they appear.”

FEAT have found that ticket scalpers will resell tickets for as much as 16x the original price. They estimate that the global value of ticket resales is $13 billion. That is $13 billion extra that music fans are being forced to pay to attend live music and other events.

Shemtob continues: “FEAT is looking forward to working with Digital Services Coordinators across the member states to make this happen and lay the groundwork for a fairer, more transparent ticket-buying experience for consumers on the secondary market.”

Ticket selling companies will also be forced to report any listings that they had to take down each year and clearly state when tickets are being sold by third parties. The EU are also banning them from designing their websites in such a way that can “manipulate consumers into decisions”.

European Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton said: “We are fully mobilised to ensure full implementation of the DSA and we encourage all member states to make the most out of our new rulebook. Effective enforcement is key to protect our citizens from illegal content and to uphold their rights.”

Major ticketing companies like StubHub and Viagogo will be required to follow the new restrictions and obligations to continue operating ticket sales within EU member states. These companies have been home to scalpers for years, with Ticketmaster even facing accusations that they were allowing the sale and resale of tickets within their own platform – in a shady, profit loop.

This new act hopefully goes some way to helping fix the live industry, which faces enough of a struggle to continue as cost of living crises puts pressure on venues and audiences alike.