09/02/2018: UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher has put Google “on notice” and called for changes made by the tech giant to the secondary ticket market to be subject to a three-month review.
His intervention followed Google’s unveiling earlier this week of new rules regarding ticket resale websites following a campaign to stop buyers being exploited through exorbitant ticket prices.
Google claimed all websites are now required to make it clear if they are secondary ticket-selling sites. It said the changes would do more to help consumers
However the changes do not prevent secondary websites from appearing at or near the top of Google search rankings – often well above the official ticketing site for a show or an artist.
The changes also do not reveal on Google search result pages whether the listing is a secondary ticketing site rather than the official primary ticketing site.
Mr Dugher said the changes made by Google should be reviewed in three months’ time to see if they have proved effective.
At present, secondary sites frequently market tickets at vastly inflated prices – even when the tickets are still available on official sites at face value. Claire Turnham set up the “Victims of Viagogo group” on Facebook after being charged £1,150 for an Ed Sheeran ticket from a secondary site.
An AudienceNet / Music Ally “Ticked Off” report from October 2017 said 43% of respondents used Google as their first port of call to search for tickets, while 52% had difficulty distinguishing between authorised primary sellers and unauthorised secondary sites.
UK Music supports comments made by the FanFair Alliance campaign which welcomed the updates to Google's policies on secondary ticketing yet said the tech giant needed to go further to ensure music fans get a fair deal.
Commenting, UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said:
“It is misleading to suggest that Google's changes amount to a ‘clampdown’ on resale websites. There remains a real danger that music fans still risk paying exorbitant prices for tickets from secondary sites when there are tickets still available from official primary sellers.
“The changes Google has made should be reviewed in three months’ time so we can see if they have been effective.
“Google has the power to protect ticket buyers by the way details of ticket sellers appear in the search rankings that it controls. They urgently need to review the effectiveness of these changes in advance of our music festival season getting fully underway.
“In the same way that Google’s YouTube is ripping off artists and investors, Google risks still being complicit in the ripping off of music fans by facilitating a system that continues to prey on consumers.”Back to news