Music community calls on EU law-makers to increase ticket touting regulation via Digital Services Act

Complete Music Update write

Over 130 artists, agents, promoters festivals, managers and music industry trade organisations have signed a letter organised by pan-European anti-ticket touting campaign FEAT calling on European Union law-makers to use the in development Digital Services Act to ramp up the regulation of the platforms used to by touts to resell tickets.

With the live sector slowly getting back to normal after the COVID-caused shutdown, the issue of ticket touting is rising up the agenda again. Many in the music industry have long called for more regulation of the platforms used by ticket touts – or ‘scalpers’ if you prefer – to resell tickets at a marked up price.

Regulations in the UK have increased and/or been better enforced in recent years, in no small part thanks to the music community led FanFair campaign. FEAT is lobbying for similar regulations across Europe, including at an EU level.

The Digital Services Act is reviewing the responsibilities of digital platforms across Europe, and is now in the final trilogue phase where the European Commission, European Parliament and EU Council all try to agree a final draft.

In the open letter, FEAT writes: “Ticket resale marketplaces are a hotbed for illegal activity. They enable professional ticket scalpers to resell tickets for a significant profit – often fraudulently – contrary to consumer protection and competition laws in many member states”.

“They use manipulative sales tactics and supply ticket resellers with tools that make it easier for them to commit fraud. Not only that, by concealing the identities of sellers, the ticket market supports widespread tax evasion, and tax authorities in member states miss out on considerable tax revenues as a result”.

“These practices exploit fans and seriously undermine cultural businesses by leaching away hundreds of millions of euros each year”, it goes on.

“This threatens the post-pandemic recovery of Europe’s live events sector and has a knock-on effect on artists and business owners. The Digital Services Act offers an opportunity to compel online marketplaces to act responsibly, and the next phase of negotiations is crucial in setting a high standard for consumer and business protection online”.

“With this aim in mind, we request that the new rules outline clear and robust responsibilities for marketplaces to ensure sellers are identifiable (‘Know Your Business Customer’). This means obtaining and making best efforts to ensure the name, address and bank details of the seller, and the products offered, are legitimate”.

“The identity of the seller must also be clearly visible alongside the products offered, as fans need to know who they are buying from. As well as checks on sellers, marketplaces should also carry out periodic spot-checks on listed products to ensure that they comply with the law”.

“Importantly”, it adds, “these basic obligations within the act must apply to all businesses. We particularly reject the idea of a waiver for medium-sized businesses, which would leave the rules vulnerable to exploitation and encourage bad actors to move to smaller platforms. Should a marketplace fail to comply, we ask that they be held accountable for any resulting illegal activity and harm done to fans”.

Music industry people and companies working with artists like Ed Sheeran, Rammstein, Christine And The Queens, Jean-Michel Jarre, Alejandro Sanz, Hélène Grimaud, Parov Stelar, Måneskin, Die Ärzte, Yann Tiersen and Sigur Rós are among those to have signed the letter, alongside festivals including AiaSound Festival, HOME Festival, Rock En Seine and We Love Green.


Music community calls on EU law-makers to increase ticket touting regulation via Digital Services Act