Radiohead is looking to sidestep the thriving secondary ticketing market by partnering with the fan-to-fan orientated Ticket Trust for its forthcoming U.K. tour.
The Ticket Trust was established in 2011 by the U.K. Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) and U.K.-based merch and e-commerce company Sandbag to offer a secure ethical alternative to the thriving secondary ticket market. The independently run Trust, which has previously partnered with a number of U.K. festivals, including Secret Garden Party, Bestival and Creamfields, provides a platform for fans to buy and sell tickets at face value, plus a handling fee, capped at 10%, payable by the buyer.
Although dates for Radiohead's 2012 U.K. trek are yet to be announced, the band has pledged that any tickets sold through its w.a.s.t.e. merch store will be made exchangeable for face value via the Ticket Trust, if the owner can no longer attend.
Radiohead is the first high-profile artist to directly align itself to the enterprise. Joining the band in signing up to the Ticket Trust is the Eden Sessions, a series of summer concerts staged at the Eden Project, Cornwall. Blink-182, Plan B and British electronic artist Example are confirmed to appear at this year's event. U.K. festival the Secret Garden Party has also signed up to the service, with Bestival among those set to register, according to a spokesperson for the Ticket Trust.
"Radiohead are fortunate enough to have a loyal and passionate fan base cultivated over many years," says a statement from Radiohead's managers, Chris Hufford and Bryce Edge of Courtyard Management.
"Their live shows are well anticipated and rightly create a tangible sense of excitement through innovative staging. In recent years however, the band's enjoyment of their own shows has been marred by the knowledge that a great many of their fans have been obliged to pay well over face value for their tickets," the statement continues. "Secondary ticketing is wrong on so many levels and as management, with ultimate responsibility for the welfare of the band, we must ensure that their fans are treated fairly. This is why we are happy to work with The Ticket Trust."
Radiohead's endorsement of fan-to-fan ticket exchange comes at a time when the secondary ticketing market is undergoing intense scrutiny in the United Kingdom, following an explosive TV documentary on the controversial sector. Broadcast on national station Channel 4 February 23, "Dispatches: The Great Ticket Scandal" detailed how a number of tour promoters, including Live Nation and Manchester-based SJM, regularly work with secondary ticket services such as Viagogo and Seatwave to automatically place large numbers of tickets directly onto auction sites at inflated prices, therefore reducing the number of face value seats publically available.
The fallout from the documentary, which Viagogo unsuccessfully took legal measures to stop being broadcast, generated a great deal of public and industry comment, with Sandbag director Christiaan Munro, who is also a co-founder of The Ticket Trust, saying that the show "has made public what many in the music industry have known or suspected for a long time. The wholesale use of the secondary market is not necessarily illegal but is morally abhorrent. I guess it is now time for those involved to ask themselves if they are still comfortable biting the hand that feeds them."
Responding to the February 23 broadcast, Viagogo said in a statement: "Viagogo is an open marketplace, and while the majority of sellers are individuals we do not disallow larger sellers, including event organisers, from selling on our platform. Above all we provide a guarantee that buyers will get the tickets they have paid for which has helped dramatically reduce ticket fraud and scams in the U.K."