Angry fans of the band Radiohead appear to have taken the ticket touts head on. Auctions on eBay for tickets to the bands up-coming UK tour are being troubled by fake bids, inflating the prices well above any reasonable price point, and leaving sellers without a buyer. One auction for the Blackpool show is currently at Â£1,000,000 (approx $1.7m), and another floating around Â£1000. The action, described as 'Ticket Revolt', appears to be being pushed by a user on Mortigi Tempo, an un-official Radiohead discussion board.
The bidding list reveals a number of questionable usernames, including 'pleasegoawayidontexist' and 'radioheadjustice2006' - the latter being an apparent serial offender, with amusing feedback from an aggrieved ticket tout - 'Life Is Not About A Free Lunch.' Indeed.
Tickets featuring Radiohead in an up-coming concert for Friends of the Earth, a charity, were also swiftly placed on eBay. The Radiohead lead singer was quoted as saying "
Might I suggest that those selling their KOKO tickets on eBay for stupid money gives a contribution... say 30 percent of their proceeds, back to Friends Of The Earth, for whose benefit we are all doing this show. Seems only fair, unless you're a shallow____, don't you think?" We found one auction donating 10% of the final value to Friends of the Earh.
The activism once again raises the issue of friction between artists, fans and touts. Touts, some have argued, serve to correct a market imperfection whereby those that are willing to pay more for tickets are able to obtain them. Further, those who weren't able to obtain tickets due to tours selling out in minutes often have little option but to resort to eBay. Are these fans really doing themselves any favours?
After our previous moan at the state of online ticket services, we're proposing something a bit 'new'. If artists, or rather, ticket companies, wanted to stop touts, why not offer the same tickets at tiered price levels for the same item? The cheaper ones would sell out sooner, as is now, but the more expensive ones would remain for the fans prepared to pay the price. We'd love to hear your thoughts (leave a comment!) on this issue; have you bought tickets on eBay before? Do you think this is right?