Ticketmaster is pivoting from secondary ticketing in Europe, announcing on Monday that it will shut down its controversial GET ME IN! and Seatwave sites, and replace them with a face value-or-less fan-to-fan ticket exchange this fall.
Following an investigation earlier this year by U.K. government regulators, both sites — as well as eBay-owned StubHub — agreed to make “significant changes” to their platforms in order to improve transparency for buyers. While those changes were meant to restore consumer confidence, they did little to reduce the profiteering and price gouging that continues across the platforms.
“Our number one priority is to get tickets into the hands of fans so that they can go to the events they love,” said Andrew Parsons, MD of Ticketmaster UK, in a statement. “We know that fans are tired of seeing tickets being snapped up just to find them being resold for a profit on secondary websites, so we have taken action. Closing down our secondary sites and creating a ticket exchange on Ticketmaster has always been our long-term plan.”
Ticketmaster said that the new fan-to-fan ticket exchange website will launch in October in the UK and Ireland, followed by Europe in early 2019. Parsons added that the new exchange will take a simple approach, allowing fans to sell tickets to other fans through their Ticketmaster accounts, for face value or less.
Until then, GET ME IN! and Seatwave will continue operating but with no new events listed. Their eventual exit will leave two of the U.K.’s big four secondary ticketing sites in place, StubHub and Switzerland-based Viagogo.
A spokesperson for U.K.-based anti-scalping coalition FanFair Alliance applauded Ticketmaster’s move, saying “while enforcement action is still urgently required to clamp down on rogue operators such as Viagogo, we are now much closer to a genuine transformation of the secondary market — where large-scale online touts are locked out, where innovation can flourish, and the resale of tickets is made straightforward, transparent and consumer-friendly.”
The move was also met with approval by the U.K. governement, with Digital and Creative Industries Minister Margot James adding: “We want real fans to be able to see their favourite artists and events at a fair price. This is a welcome move from Ticketmaster and shows that they’re following our lead and taking a tough stance on cracking down on unacceptable behaviour in the secondary ticket market.”
European face value-based ticket platform Twickets, which expanded into the U.S. last year, called Ticketmaster’s move “encouraging” but cautioned that the “battle” against tout tickets continues.
“We welcome the news that Ticketmaster is to close its resale sites Get Me In! and Seatwave,” said Richard Davies, CEO Twickets. “It is encouraging to see the biggest ticketing company in the world taking this step, which validates our face value resale policy of the past seven years. The decision will hopefully enable those who are no longer able to attend a Ticketmaster show to pass on tickets at face value to those who wish to attend. However, the battle to create a fairer, more transparent, resale market continues. Companies such as Viagogo and StubHub, and Ticketbis in Europe, still tout tickets on an industrial scale, placing profit ahead of fairness to consumers.”