Iron Maiden Strike A Blow To UK Scalpers

Iron Maiden, 2016
VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Iron Maiden perform during The Book of Souls World Tour on April 26, 2016 in Shanghai, China.

Three of the biggest secondary sites in the UK agreed not to list the tour.

Iron Maiden’s efforts to beat scalpers and take on the resale market has been hailed a huge success, cutting its listings on secondary sites by over 95 percent, according to promoter Live Nation and the band’s management.   

“This is an incredible achievement and victory for concert-goers,” said the band’s manager Rod Smallwood, who has frequently spoken out against the practice of tickets being sold for vastly inflated prices on secondary sites.

In response, a number of anti-scalping measures were utilized for the UK leg of Maiden’s 2017 "The Book Of Souls" tour, starting May 4, including extensive use of paperless ticketing. All other legitimate ticket purchases carry the name of the buyer with entry to the venue requiring proof of ID.

Three of the biggest secondary sites in the UK – Getmein and Seatwave (both owned by Ticketmaster) and eBay-owned Stubhub – also agreed not to list the tour, leaving just Viagogo as the only major resale platform carrying tickets.

As a result, only 207 tickets for the 12-date trek ended up on secondary sites (all of them on Viagogo), compared to over 6,000 for the band’s 2011 UK tour when Getmein and Seatwave accounted for 67 percent of the listings.  

Of the 207 tickets listed on Viagogo this time around, the majority were identified as bogus and are “now in the hands of the relevant authorities investigating criminal activity,” according to a press release from Live Nation. The remainder of genuine tickets listed on the platform have been made null and void as per the original terms of purchase.

By eliminating touts and power brokers, and keeping prices at face value, sales for the tour are higher than at the equivalent sales point in 2010 with over 100,000 tickets sold in the first 24 hours, says Live Nation. It also notes that “customer feedback has been excellent,” while Ticketmaster reports that “they have had only positive comments about the fact the artist is trying to restrict exploitative pricing via the resale market.”

The fact that Ticketmaster generated overall sales of $28 billion in 2016, with its secondary ticketing operations climbing by 26 percent year-on-year in gross transactional value was strangely not mentioned in the press release. 

“We are delighted that the paperless ticketing system and other measures we instigated here in the U.K. have proved a massive deterrent to touts and counterfeiters,” commented Smallwood, thanking fans for their patience and support.

“We appreciate that our stringent policy has meant fans having to jump over one more hurdle in the ticket-buying process but the results speak for themselves and I think everyone can agree this was well worth it,” he continued, saying that as a result of Maiden’s anti-scalping campaign around £1 million ($1.2 million) worth of mark-up on tickets is not sitting in the hands of touts.”

“Iron Maiden has been clear from the beginning: eliminate resale and get tickets directly into the hands of fans,” added Andrew Parsons, managing director of Ticketmaster UK. “We’re proud that our Paperless ticketing technology has been able to achieve this for the band, their team and the fans.”

According to Boxscore data, Iron Maiden’s The Book Of Souls tour grossed $54 million in 2016, based on box office reports from 47 shows, selling over 800,000 tickets. The tour continues April 22 in Antwerp, Belgium before visiting Germany, the U.K. and U.S., where it wraps July 22 at Brooklyn's Barclays Center.    



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