Twickets, a Leading Fan-to-Fan Ticket Market, Steps Up Funding Amidst Regulatory Push

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Twickets, the U.K.’s leading fan-to-fan ticket resale platform, is looking to expand to mainland Europe and the U.S. in 2017 as it bids to take on the giants of the multi-billion dollar secondary ticketing sector.

Founded by Richard Davies in 2011, Twickets enables registered users to buy and sell tickets at face value (or less) and has become the official resale partner for some of the U.K.’s biggest artists, including Adele, Mumford & Sons, One Direction and The 1975, as well as British festivals Kendal Calling, End of the Road and The Secret Garden Party. 

The London-based company, which drives revenue through a 10 percent booking fee on buyers, has equally high-profile backing from within the industry, with One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer managers Harry Magee and Richard Griffiths sitting on its board of investors, alongside former EMI Music chairman Tony Wadsworth, Chrysalis Records co-founder Chris Wright and artist manager Ian McAndrew, whose company Wildlife Entertainment represents Arctic Monkeys and Royal Blood.    

Twickets does not provide detailed information on how many tickets it sells annually, but says it currently has over 300,000 registered users in the U.K. and is adding close to 10,000 every month. Earlier this year, it partnered with the HMV-owned brick-and-mortar entertainment retailer Fopp to enable music fans to drop off and collect gig and festival tickets in-store.

Twickets is one of a number of established and start-up platforms looking to offer a viable alternative to the U.K.’s leading secondary ticketing providers Viagogo, StubHub, Seatwave and Get Me In!, which have collectively weathered a storm of criticism over the past few years.  

Non-profit ethical ticket exchange ScarletMist has been trading since 2004. Una, which bills itself as the U.K.’s first transparent ticket agency and requires customers to pay a one-off registration fee of around $10.00 for a personalized RFID smart card that enables personalised ticket buying, was acquired by Sky Tickets (owned by telecoms giant Sky) in September. 

September also brought the launch of an anti-scalping guide for music managers from the FanFair Alliance, a consortium of 100 British managers, trade bodies, agents and promoters including representatives of One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Noel Gallagher and Iron Maiden, campaigning against mass-scale online ticket touting.  

Long-running e-ticketing service WeGotTickets, Songkick, Dice, Music Glue, Active Ticketing, PledgeMusic and Scarlet Mist were among the services and platforms that signed the FanFair Alliance declaration, which is backed by umbrella trade group UK Music and calls for greater transparency to what it terms "under-regulated secondary platforms." It estimates that the secondary ticket market costs the U.K. entertainment and sports industry £1 billion ($1.3 billion) every year, at least half of which is believed to be music related. 

In May, a British government-led review into the sector led by Professor Michael Waterson made nine recommendations, the most significant being a “concerted investigation” into secondary ticketing sites failure to comply with the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which requires sellers to notify buyers of a ticket’s original price value, seat number and location inside the concert venue.

The government is expected to announce its response to Waterson's review later this year. A proposed amendment to the Digital Economy Bill that would outlaw the use of "bots" is due be debated in Parliament tomorrow (Nov. 1). 

To facilitate Twickets' further growth, including bringing the service to the U.S. and mainland Europe next year, the company is now launching an investment drive led by Chris Wright, who has committed additional funds to the enterprise. 

“Online ticket touting is damaging to the industry and deeply affects loyal groups of fans who are ripped-off and left empty handed,” says Wright, who was recently reunited with Chrysalis Records -- famous for launching Jethro Tull, Pat Benatar, Huey Lewis and the News, Sinead O’Connor and The Specials, among others -- following its acquisition by Blue Raincoat Music from Warner Music Group.