31/05/2018: UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher has attacked Google for failing to act over rip-off ticket sales by Viagogo.
Jorja Smith performing at Lovebox 2016. Picture credit: Olivia Williams
He condemned the internet giant for “sitting on its hands” over the scandal of exorbitant ticket prices charged by Viagogo for concerts.
Mr Dugher’s comments followed an intervention by Digital Minister Margot James, who urged fans to steer clear of Viagogo if they had to use a secondary ticketing site.
She told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Don’t choose Viagogo – they are the worst”.
The Advertising Standards Authority has referred Viagogo to National Trading Standards to investigate amid stories of fans paying thousands of pounds to see their favourite acts.
Commenting, Mr Dugher said: “Margot James is absolutely right about Viagogo and the way it rips off music fans. We welcome the investigation by National Trading Standards.
“But we also need much tougher action from Google which continues to sit on its hands over this national scandal.
“In the same way Google’s YouTube rip off artists and creators, Google is complicit in taking music fans for a ride because they put Viagogo at the top of internet searches - not the official ticketing sites. That has to stop.
"Thanks to calls from industry campaigners like the FanFair Alliance and UK Music, everyone is aware of the problem. What we need now is action.”
“Google needs to stop shirking its responsibilities and kick secondary sites that break new rules on transparency into touch.”