Matters of Interest Speech
Wednesday 12 April, 2017
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:41): I rise to speak on ticket scalping. Globally the ticket resale industry is worth billions each year, and with that kind of money at stake it is not surprising that, despite the uproar from fans and artists alike, ticket scalping—or, as some people call it, 'secondary ticketing' or 'ticket brokering'—is an attractive proposition for people looking to make a quick buck. Unfortunately, that quick buck is often at the expense of the fans and the artists themselves. Scalpers may call themselves ticket brokers or secondary ticketers, but as the former CEO of Ticketmaster, Nathan Hubbard, said:
The on-sale process is like a mysteriously devastating airplane farter: tickets leak out little bits at a time, nobody can figure out where they're coming from, and the whole thing reeks.
As they say, a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, and a ticket scalper by any other name would still be a little like an aeroplane farter. Those aeroplane farters are being called out by artists and promoters alike. Those who have paid attention to Midnight Oil reforming would have seen that they have gone to great lengths to clamp down on ticket scalpers.
Indeed, I recently attended A Day on the Green event this past weekend, headlined by Cyndi Lauper and Blondie and featuring the wonderful 90s band The Clouds and an all female headed line-up. It was fantastic to see. All of the ticketing advice for A Day on the Green not only warned against scalped tickets but urged legislators around the country to start to step up and provide protections for fans and artists alike and for promoters doing the right thing, to serve this industry not to continue to ignore it. A ticket to a Justin Bieber concert at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane sold recently for $2,555—that is a 374 per cent mark-up. One might not think that ticket scalping is the crime but his music is the true criminal offence, but I think even those Bieber fans deserve our state legislative protections.
No lesser person in the industry than Michael Chugg is stepping up. He has drawn to public attention the fact that a woman paid $900 for Adele tickets and then was charged another $900 in booking fees. They could not even tell her where the seats were and they would not let her cancel. There was a Jimmy Barnes show in Adelaide a few weeks ago and, according to this report where Michael Chugg is quoted, the show was not even sold out but a woman was gouged at $390 for a ticket when the tickets were selling for $110. As Michael Chugg has said:
The world is getting smaller, everything's global and Viagogo and these sites are international, they're not just doing it here, we've now become part of that world and we have to deal with it. There never used to be a big scalping problem in Australia, but there—
expletive from Michael Chugg—
I will leave it to members' imaginations what that expletive might be. Michael Chugg goes on to say:
What would solve it all is that there should be legislation that lets ticket companies become like travel agencies or real estate agents, there should be regulated ticket agents. I'd be happy to be regulated, that would knock out all the cowboys. Once those laws are in place the government can then legislate people getting around those laws.
What I want to say and urge on the Weatherill government is that the major events legislation is not enough. We have only seen that employed less than a handful of times, most notably for the Rolling Stones, to provide protections against ticket scalping in this state. Those protections do not amount to much when they only amount to tickets not being able to be sold around the venues themselves.
This is an online era and we need a legislative response that is much cleverer than that. The industry brings in billions each year. The live music industry employs thousands of people. They need to be respected. We need to sit down with this industry, listen to the artists, listen to the fans and actually provide protections for them to keep this industry not only live but, indeed, well.