Stop ticket resale sites ripping off fans, Coldplay tell UK government


Giants of the UK music business have told the government to prevent ticketing resale sites from ‘ripping off fans’ by strengthening what they see as lax secondary ticketing laws in the market.

Coldplay (pictured) have signed a joint letter sent to the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which warns that “industrial scale abuse and insider exploitation” needs to be stamped out.

The letter is co-signed by UK artist management and live agent powerhouses including Rocket (Elton John), Modest! Management (One Direction, Little Mix), Courtyard (Radiohead, Gaz Coombes), Ignition (Oasis, Noel Gallagher), Closer (James Bay, George Ezra) and many more.

New UK ticket resale laws were introduced in May with the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which took a particular hardline on fraudulent sellers. It required anyone who sells a secondary ticket to provide details of the seat number, as well as the face value and further information.

But leading artist managers say that doesn’t go far enough.

The below letter was submitted on Friday (November 20), which was the deadline for submissions to a new government review into secondary ticketing.

The names of the undersigned carry a significance bigger than simply attacking dodgy practices of resale sites.

They also draw a line in the sand against one of the shadiest practices in the world of ticket resale: primary allocations of tickets being pushed direct onto the likes of Viagogo without ever having been purchased by a consumer – something which industry insiders say doesn’t usually happen without the say-so of an artist’s team…

Ticket touting has long been hotly debated, and earlier this year the government reluctantly agreed to change the law. New rules were included in the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which came into force on 27 May, requiring anyone who resells an event ticket via a secondary market website to provide details of the block, row and crucially the seat number, as well as the face value and information about any restrictions.

We as artist managers and agents deplore the increasing industrial-scale abuse and insider exploitation of tickets for music, arts and sports events by ticket touts, and their online associates and facilitators.

Tens of thousands of fans have been ripped off by people who exploit fair ticket prices via so-called ticket marketplaces. In many cases the intended audience is being priced out of the market altogether.

The consequence in many cases is that fans will attend fewer shows, meaning that the profits made by such immoral practice is also money lost from the industry. Funds that would otherwise be reinvested in future events. In other cases, artificial price inflation shuts out new generations of fans.

A significant part of the secondary/resale ticketing market is rigged and manipulated for the benefit of a few, inextricably linked to online crime, the evasion of VAT and intellectual property payments and, at its worst, fake ticket scams which have defrauded thousands of people in recent years.

We agree that there is a need for genuine, transparent ticket resale/exchange and we support businesses providing face value services.

The undersigned urge Professor Michael Waterson, the review panel, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to put the public’s interests as well as those of the event organisers before those of the touts and exploiters:


  • Julian Wright & David Furnish, Rocket (Elton John, The Strypes)
  • Stuart Camp (Ed Sheeran)
  • Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland & Will Champion (Coldplay)
  • Richard Griffiths, Harry Magee & Will Bloomfield, Modest! (One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer, Little Mix, Olly Murs, Cheryl)
  • Chris Hufford & Bryce Edge, Courtyard (Radiohead, Gaz Coombes)
  • Adam Tudhope, Everybodys (Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, Keane)
  • Marcus Russell & Alec McKinley, Ignition (Noel Gallagher, Oasis, Catfish & The Bottlemen)
  • Paul Loasby, One Fifteen (David Gilmour, Jools Holland)
  • Ian McAndrew, Wildlife Entertainment (Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood, The Last Shadow Puppets, Travis)
  • Ian Grenfell, Quietus (Chrissie Hynde, Suede, Simply Red, Simple Minds)
  • Paul McDonald, Closer Artists (George Ezra, James Bay, James Morrison, John Newman)
  • Jamie Oborne, All On Red (The 1975)
  • Sam Eldridge, Urok (Jess Glynne, Plan B, Tom Odell, Mystery Jets)
  • Rod Smallwood, Phantom Music. (Iron Maiden)
  • Tony Smith, TSPM (Nick Mason, Genesis, Phil Collins)
  • Niamh Byrne & Regine Moylett. Eleven Management (Blur, Gorillaz, The Clash, Kano, Jamie Hewlett, Spoek)
  • Stewart Young. Part Rock Management. (Foreigner, Zucchero and Emerson, Lake and Palmer)


  • Mike Greek, Emma Banks. Creative Artists Agency
  • Geoff Meall. United Talent Agency
  • Jeff Craft, Ian Huffam. Xray Touring
  • Rob Challice. Coda Music Agency
  • Charlie Myatt, 13 Artists

Music Business Worldwide

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  • Kellie Spencer-Witcomb

    I’ve pre ordered the Coldplay album to get an advance purchase code to buy tickets for the 2016 tour. Was on at 9:30, straight in only to be told all sold out!!! Within 20 minutes hundred/ thousands of tickets are available on ticketmaster resale site. Complete bl**dy scam! Furious.

    • Mark Allen

      Same here, just a scam to get Amazon a load of money.I wonder how many tickets were actually available for today’s sale.I will be cancelling my order with Amazon. The album will be cheaper in the supermarkets on the release day.

      • Kellie S-W

        Thanks Mark – I completely agree. I had 2 codes (2 albums) and 3 laptops. I went in straight away as the system opened and still no tickets! I’ve travelled the world to see Coldplay and yet I can’t get tickets for my home town. But to have many hundreds available on the sister resale site (after the above article) is disgusting.

  • Martin Terry

    Cancelled order what a scam

  • Martin Terry

    Really annoyed

  • Damian West

    Biggest problem is one person can buy 4 tickets and only need two! so up to 50 percent of tickets bought are sold through law dodging so called legal tout sites like stub hub for a huge mark up!! Only allow two tickets per person and problem sorted!!

  • plasticm

    So here’s how it works.
    – When you buy a ticket you give the names of the people who will be going.
    – The name is printed on the ticket.
    – The person who’s going has to show ID matching the ticket on the way in.
    – Touting stops overnight.

    If someone can’t go?
    – Ticket returned to promoter for a refund, minus an administrative fee (say, 10% of ticket cost).
    – Ticket can then be resold.

    The people putting these gigs on (including the bands) would have to take on the extra administration, but if they want to solve the problem then it’s up to them.

    I hate the way everyone keeps blaming “the government”. It’s your problem, and you (Coldplay) have the power to do something about it, so get on with it.