John Robb On BBC News Talking About Online Ticket Resellers Like Viagogo

This morning Louder Than War boss John Robb was invited onto the BBC’s breakfast TV show to discuss that scourge of the modern day concert goer, online ticket resellers.

The news piece centred around the news that tickets for the Python team’s reunion show not only sold out in a matter of seconds, but also that they were available for sale from places like Viagogo a few seconds later for “massively hyped up prices”. This raised two main talking points for the news piece; firstly, where these tickets came from, and secondly, why are the prices so far above face value?

Last year Louder Than War ran a feature by one of our writers who at the time had been getting particularly irate that a lot of the websites he visited carried ads for ticket resellers. Most of the comments about the piece agreed that places like Viagogo were a bad thing, with the expression “ticket touts” being bandied about a lot.

Viagago’s Steve Roest provided the case for the opposition on the BBC’s couch. He countered that they’re providing a service, albeit one that leaves customers no option but to buy tickets at a vastly inflated price within seconds of the tickets going on sale, and one that means Viagogo get very rich for doing very little. He also said that unlike places like Ebay you can “trust” Viagago.

One thing’s for certain anyway, until the government legislates against these things ticket resellers are going to continue doing what they’re doing – getting rich off of fans who are desperate to see their favourite artists and are prepared to pay well above the odds for tickets.

Watch the video below and please feel free to pass on your views in the comments below.


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14 comments on “John Robb On BBC News Talking About Online Ticket Resellers Like Viagogo”

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  1. This issue makes my blood boil…and has done for some time. The main question to be answered here (and correctly seized on by John Robb) is WHERE do all these tickets come from. Individuals selling tickets on, is not what’s frustrating the general ticket buying public, its the apparent mass shipping of tickets that go ‘missing’ and suddenly turn up on these reseller sites. Having been on the periphery of the industry for many years, I have heard many reliable accounts of this practice. Fairly recently a name band knew that the promoter of one of their sold out shows at Brixton Academy allocated hundreds of tickets out before they even went on sale to the general public. A few months ago the ‘Dispatches’ TV show ran an undercover documentary inside these resellers to highlight the questionable practices that were being operated. Unfortunately the Government appear very uninterested in the whole issue. That is, until the Olympics came along and suddenly they were terrified of the ticketing process being hijacked by resellers. Only then, when the world was watching, were strict regulations imposed on the reselling of tickets. Since the games have finished they have resumed their lethargic stance. I wrote to the MP who championed the Dispatches documentary, who in turn wrote to the Culture Minister. I received a reply from him that was one of the most lacklustre and uninformed responses I have ever received, explaining that the industry could self police itself and there was a website that catered for reselling in an ethical way called Scarlet Mist. This website did indeed do this, but unfortunately, unbeknown to the Minister the website had closed down more than 2 months previous to his letter. That’s how ‘on the ball’ he was. There has to be a move towards eliminating this layer of reselling. There was recently a one off Charity gig by the rock band Kiss at the Kentish Town Forum. ‘Tickets’ sold out in seconds, but the main difference here was it was a ticket-less gig. Entry was by way of the credit card which you purchased your’ticket’ which was scanned at the door. Whilst there are challenges to be overcome with this arrangement, it was refreshing to see that sites like Viagogo didn’t have a single ticket available for resell on the day. The streets in Kentish Town that night were also Tout free….not a single one! A final comment about the news video clip above. So, to conclude, the Viagogo guy’s only driving point is that, as a ‘Trusted’ reseller, they will actually give you the tickets that they just ripped you off for! How incredibly gracious of them! MC

  2. Yes, for many events “demand exceeds supply”, but this is at least partly because large numbers of tickets are being snapped up as soon as they go on sale by dedicated (and possibly computer-assisted) teams of touts purely in order to sell them to frustrated fans at grotesquely inflated prices on sites like Viagogo, minutes later, thanks to people like the delightful Steve Roest.

  3. Steve Roest is a fucking leech. Sites like Viagogo are just legitimised touts. It’s scandalous and all the venues are complicit, by ringfencing tickets for these secondary providers for above face value prices. I’d like to see you mobilise a campaign against these disgusting practices Johnny. You’ve got the perfect platform here.

  4. John Robb could of done his homework before going on national TV. ebay banned ticket sales over 6 months ago.
    I guess he will be on BBC again tomorrow complaining about extortionate prices of the new XBOX’s been resold on ebay… He needs to get real and work out that a ticket is worth what someone is prepared to pay for it and not whats printed on it.

    • Ebay didn’t ban ticket sales, they dedicated a website totally to selling tickets! Its called Stubhub and clearly states its an eBay company! YOU do YOUR homework!!!

  5. When these sites advertise tickets available before they go on sale then something is seriously wrong. I suspect that little will be done until venues go down the “ticketless” system referred to by Mark above and gradually being implemented for public transport in London.

  6. Keith Goldhanger

    If there’s one thing that gets my back up about all of this (and a Huge ’round of applause please for Louder Than War…) is the music industry condoning this practice. Legality of this practice is irrelevant. Publications and Radio stations need to look at their customers views on this and pull the plug on the advertising. It’ll make a difference and will unite music fans all over. Look at where these companies advertise and write emails to them explaining that you’re a customer and dislike this practice. Louder Than War have stood up to be counted and now YOU know where this blog stands on this subject you can help by challenging other web sites and music papers that obviously do not care what we all think of this. Viagogo will all be looking for new careers one day that’s for sure, and when this happens please spare a thought for those that ignored such practice and supported these companies and those, like Louder Than War that fought for this to stop because they cared about this xx Keith Goldhanger xx

  7. T Smith…in the 60 seconds he was allowed I think John Robb made the right points. he was saying ebay should be the place people sell their tickets instead of the scumbag secondary sites.These sites buy up all the tickets and resell them at prices that they fix- you don’t seem to know this- you should do your homework before trolling on comments on sites…

  8. Having worked in music for 25+ years the Venue’s + the promoters+ the resellers are all one the same owned by the same companies,Its the bands as well as the punters who are getting ripped of by them

  9. Never mind the ticket resellers, it’s the actual ticket agencies that are the biggest crooks. If I go to a gig, I am paying for the artists, the security, bar staff, venue running costs, tour costs, promotion etc – a lot of people’s time, effort and talent. Then Ticketmaster or whoever cream off as much as 20% for nothing more than a simple phone or automated online transaction. Charging c.£5 for “secure delivery” that arrives with a 60p postmark or a couple of quid for an e-ticket takes the biscuit even further.

    Respect to those venue/promoters that uses one of the few reasonably-priced agencies, or none at all. When a venue (such as Live Nation or ATG) shares the same owners as the ticket agency they should at least incorporate the booking fees into the headline ticket price, I’m sure punters would feel a lot less pissed off if they did. Otherwise they are like the budget airlines of the live music/theatre world, with seats that are about as comfy.

  10. well said Mark Cheetam

  11. Come on, sign the petition: The Con-Dems coalition dropped the Bill in 2012 – we can get it reinstated – Kate Bush is playing live – anything is possible – See more at:

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