Paul McCartney, 3 minutes. Adele, 2 minutes. Olivia Rodrigo, 45 seconds. Tickets sold out in seconds. For every big concert anywhere in the world. A global phenomenon that repeats itself with the same patterns as soon as platforms accredited for sale open their virtual gates. A phenomenon that seems impossible to contain. There is no such law. Certainly not in Italy. Tickets for the Coldplay tour sold out in less than an hour last Saturday. All dates for their 2024 Italian tour. Prices ranged from from 57.50 euros to 930.60 euros.
Today, these tickets are no longer available on the authorized reseller portals (Ticketmaster, Ticketone and Vivaticket), but they can be easily found on the Internet: just search “Coldplay Tickets 2024” and the first results will appear on the platforms that sell them. . Viagogo, Gigsberg, and dozens of other sites that look like clones of each other, where tickets can be bought for as low as from 400 to 1600 euros. Technically scalping, but in a digital form.
Viagogo: fines never paid and portal still available in Italy
viagogo quite famous portal in Italy. It has garnered hundreds of headlines in recent years. The communication agency Agcom fined him several times for a total of approx. 40 million euros. The charge is a violation of national rules against scaling, which were extended to online portals in 2016. But Viagogo, according to information known to our newspaper and confirmed by the guarantor body itself, never paid these fines. Its portal was closed last year.
However, at the time of this writing, the site is easily accessible from both home and mobile connections. There are tickets, and you can buy up to twenty at the same time. Just like Gigsberg, the twin site is available.
In terms of companies, Viagogo is based in Geneva, Gigsberg in Cham, north of Zurich. But the list of Swiss-based company portals selling tickets to Italian, European and global events that disappeared from official websites in a matter of seconds and reappeared in real time on uncontrolled venues with prices sometimes rising dozens of times is lost. in the laps of Google, which, despite everything, offers these sites at the top of the search engine results, thanks to paid advertising to be the first.
Why do tickets disappear in seconds? The role of bots and who manages them
But what happens when an official retailer lists tickets online for a big event like a Coldplay concert? Sometimes dozens are activated botsmall programs managed by individuals, groups (companies?), able to simultaneously book hundreds, thousands of tickets, pay for them and make the bot manager the full owner.
It should be excluded that all tickets that disappear within a few minutes are bought by bots. So even in the case of Coldplay, it’s almost obvious that most of it was bought by real users. But it can be assumed that 40 to 70 percent could have been bought by bots. The rest is the work of fans who are still trying to fight the algorithms programmed by “scalpers” (as bot users are called). The tickets then end up on online scalping platforms. But technically it is not.
Protection of Viagogo et al. is that they only post the ticket offer, not the owner. So the unknown owners post the offer of tickets on these sites, which are limited to supply and demand management, something like Ebay or Wynted. At least it’s protection. Many doubt that this is not the case. The timing is suspicious, as is the car’s extreme organization. The fact is that, despite the fines and complaints, Viagogo will never step back from own million dollar business.
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Trotta: “This is a crime for which audiences and culture are paying”
Curiosity. For the first time about Secondary Ticketing (the name of the phenomenon of online sales, a kind of digital scalping) they started talking in Italy in 2015. Then all the tickets for the next concert disappeared into the air, but always cold game. The phenomenon is ancient, partially inhibited, but real: “I have been actively involved in this crime since 2010. This is something that has its roots in the distant past. The problem remains, but the situation has changed a bit.” Claudio Trotta has been at the forefront of the fight against this phenomenon for decades.
Entrepreneur, entertainment producer, person who brought me Kiss and Bruce Springsteen, founder of BarleyArts, Trotta recalls that today “there is a law requiring the use of a personalized ticket and that illegal resale of tickets has become illegal. But this is a country where it is difficult to comply with the laws. Sometimes they get lost along the way, others just don’t respect each other.”
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One of the five places is empty and sold out. Tickets that remain in the hands of bots
Online scalping is a problem not only for artists, whose tickets can cost up to 500% more, but they do not receive anything, but also for the audience. “It has been calculated that 5 to 20 percent of concerts are empty even though the tickets are sold out. Some of the no-shows may have changed their minds or got sick, but their number is constantly growing, and this means only one thing: some tickets bought by bots are not resold because they are too expensive. So up to a fifth of potential concert goers end up not going there, taking their breath away from the small events that happen in Italy anyway and that cause underestimated but existing cultural damage.”
In Italy every year the concert is attended by 11 million people. Last year, around 5,000 medium and large events were held, and the turnover, including side events, exceeds one billion euros. The industry employs about 350,000 people. An important part of the economy, which is driven by huge interests and is based on a genuine, very strong feeling: passion for music.
Motivation that uses the interests of speculators. Which organizers, musicians and spectators often move their beards: “The phenomenon must be distinguished in two different aspects. On the one hand, a spectator who cannot go to the concert and resells the ticket: in this case, this is a legal and normal way to return the ticket in question, which would otherwise be lost. Mass purchase by servers is another matter: in this case, the damage is considerable and all falls on the public, which is forced to buy tickets at exorbitant prices, ”he commented on our top. Charles Parodipresident of Assomusica, the Italian association of organizers and producers of musical shows.
Assomusica: “Great damage to the system and the state. Difficulty solving problems”
“The secondary ticket in general caused enormous damage to the music system and the state. But the spectator audience is above all the first victim of this phenomenon, which actually raises barriers to access to cultural consumption.” Damage that is difficult to limit. Or a remedy. “The fight against secondary ticketing is difficult because we are talking about real organized structures that are hidden behind this phenomenon. This combination of technological complexities, but also the difficulties associated with servers located abroad, for example, perhaps in compatible states, which in general, of course, complicates the task. But work Agcom and the postal police are excellent in that regard,” he adds. Despite everything, the phenomenon continues to exist.
“Viagogo lost to both Agcom and the Court,” he recalls. John Riccio, lawyer, digital expert. “Their activities are not covered by the hosting protection clause” so just “hosting” the suggestions of others. “There is a war going on involving them, giants like Ticketone, the artists and organizers who currently lose the most economically.”
Remain unknown. One first: who actually buys the tickets? What credit cards do bots trade on? And whose are they? “Without answers to these questions, all doubts remain. Also about the very role of platforms,” concludes Riccio. The Communications Authority has launched a public awareness campaign against secondary ticket sales. Correct ticket. In the meantime, tickets are still on sale on Viagogo and other sites. The page for Coldplay’s concert in Rome states that “there are currently 500 more people watching this ad.” 500 people who are considering whether to buy tickets for 500 euros. For a total amount of at least 250 thousand euros.
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