Are personalised tickets for gigs the answer to secondary ticket rip-offs?

Anybody who frequents music festivals, gigs, and concerts understands the frustrations of frantically refreshing the web page in the hope of bagging tickets to see their favorite musician.

For those not fortunate enough to get hold of tickets first time round, this is only the beginning of their frustrations. Within minutes, the very same £50 tickets appear on secondary ticket selling websites for upwards of £1,000 – meaning you have to be very rich, very stupid, or very willing to see the artist you love.

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What makes the whole situation worse is that more often than not, it’s not the fans that are responsible for the tickets selling out so quickly. For big name artists, the process is very much under the control of bots programmed to bulk buy tickets to the benefit of secondary resale sites and touts looking to extend their already ludicrous profit margins.

The icing on this sour tasting cake? The whole process is still perfectly legal. There is currently no law in the UK that prevents the resale of tickets on websites or otherwise – and the real fans aren’t the only ones getting a raw deal.

The effects are rippling through the whole industry, with artists such as Adele, Mumford & Sons, and Elton John speaking about secondary ticket vendors charging extortionate amounts for tickets to sold-out shows.

Elton John was quotes as saying “I’d rather have empty seats” than have fans pay over the odds through resale sites.

Thankfully, with all the recent coverage of this controversy, there are signs that the industry is looking to tackle the problem.

Personalised tickets printed with the name and photo ID of the recipient in theory makes it almost impossible for ticket touts to farm large quantities of tickets for resale. Problem solved? Not quite.

A recent survey of over 500 people carried out by telephone directory service Contact Numbers UK revealed that nearly three quarters of those asked rejected the idea of personalized tickets in favor of generic ones.

In fact, there were a number of recurring reasons why event-goers aren’t completely sold on the idea of personalised tickets.

The issue appears to be that ticket touts aren’t the only occupiers of the secondary ticket market. Those with a genuine reason to sell a ticket will have nowhere to turn if personalised tickets were to become the norm.

“If you can’t make the show/gig and you sell the ticket on or gift it to someone then it will have someone else’s details on” – Tasha

Some fans were a little less worried.

“If you can’t genuinely go for a valid reason and you lose money, but I think this is a minority and I agree with personalised tickets as it really makes me cross when people buy lots and sell them for ridiculous amounts.” – Lucy

As it turns out, Glastonbury tickets have been personalised with photographs and names for years. To enter the festival, you have to show ID that matches details on the ticket – preventing secondary ticket sites from extorting the event.

So there are still glimmers of hope for music fans. Newly emerging ticket exchange platforms such as Twickets bypass ticket touts by offering tickets sold by genuine punters for face value.

Even still, the survey clearly demonstrated that while 38% of the people surveyed thought that personalised tickets were a good idea, 73% of people would rather have a generic ticket when given the choice.

With any luck, more acts will follow the likes of Adele, Elton John, and Mumford & Sons in the fight against ticket touts, and move towards alternative methods of selling tickets.

For now, it’s best to keep fingers on the pulse of events that you’re keen to attend to maximise your chances of bagging tickets when they go on sale.

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