President Obama signs anti-ticket scalping act into law

Ticket scalping continues to cause heartache for gig-goers as seen by the recent Coldplay sell-out

President Obama signs anti-ticket scalping act into law

Chris Martin of Coldplay performs at The Budweiser Made In America Festival. | Image: Michael Zorn AP/Press Association Images

President Barack Obama signed legislation last night banning the use of bots on ticket sites for purchasing large quantities of tickets for resale.

In a statement from the White House Press Office, the "BOTS Act of 2016" will "prohibit the circumvention of control measures used by Internet ticket sellers to ensure equitable consumer access to tickets for certain events".

Ticket bot software allows touts to buy a large number of tickets before regular consumers can purchase them. Tickets are then re-sold - typically for profit - in secondary markets such as StubHub, Get Me In! and SeatWave, Ticketmaster's own resale market.

In the States, Ticketmaster released a statement following the announcement.

"On behalf of artists, venues, teams, and especially fans, Ticketmaster is pleased that the BOTS Act is now a federal law," the statement reads. "Ticketmaster worked closely with legislators to develop the BOTS Act and we believe its passage is a critical step in raising awareness and regulating the unauthorized use of Bots."

The bill was originally introduced in February 2015 by U.S. Representatives Paul D. Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

The issue of ticket scalping is being talked about more than ever, following the sell-out success of several high-profile gigs like Coldplay. 

Chris Martin of Coldplay performs during the filming of the Graham Norton Show at The London Studios, south London. Image: Matt Crossick PA Wire/PA Images

Scandals

Re-seller Live Nation has been embroiled in controversy in Italy following the company's subjection to an investigation.

It was alleged that Live Nation was directly partnering with a range of secondary ticketing partners to sell tickets at vastly inflated prices.

During a television interview between the managing director of Live Nation Italy Roberto de Luca and reporter Matteo Viviani as part of an undercover investigation, Luca denied that the company was complicit in placing tickets directly onto secondary platforms.

However, when the reporter showed the executive a number of documents, Luca changed his stance and admitted that the company does place tickets directly onto secondary sites.

"I want to be clear that, to your question if Live Nation issued tickets on secondary sites and I answered no… in fact we issue some tickets. A very limited number of tickets on other sites, in this case [on] Viagogo," said Luca, according to a transcript provided to Billboard.

"But I must make clear that Live Nation sells around two million tickets every year and the tickets that we issue on the secondary sites are equal to 0.20 percent of our tickets sales. We are not talking about tens of thousands of tickets, but hundreds of tickets for a concert," Luca goes on to say.

In June, another probe into the U.K.'s four leading secondary ticket platforms – Get Me In!, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo – was conducted by the Competition and Markets Authority and is focusing on whether they are "providing adequate information to consumers" in accordance with "their legal obligations". 

Additional legislation came into force in March last year - The Consumer Rights Act 2015 - which dictates that secondary vendors must notify buyers of a ticket's original price value and information on its seat number and location inside the concert venue, as well as whether the seller is connected to the secondary ticket platform or the event organiser.

Bieber fever

Tickets for Justin Bieber's Dublin show went on sale today, with the singer set to play Dublin's RDS on June 21st next year.

Organisers Aiken Promotions issued a warning not to buy tickets from any unofficial source as they may be fakes.

Around 20 fans queued in the rain outside Ticketmaster in St Stephens' Green shopping centre in Dublin overnight.