If there’s been one hot topic in the Australian music scene lately, it’s ticket scalping. Especially ticket resale sites letting scalpers have free rein on what looks like a legit platform (cc: Viagogo.)

Everyone from Nick Xenophon to straight up legend, Wil Wagner of The Smith Street Band have been having their say. That’s not to mention international superstars like Prince (as if we didn’t have enough to thank him for already) and Bruce Springsteen who have been taking a stand against scalping for years.

So we thought we’d break down the chat and give you a list of five reasons why ticket scalping sucks for music lovers.

It prices fans out from seeing their favourite artists and bands

Music is for everyone to enjoy, and while there are huge costs associated with putting on a live show, they should remain as accessible as possible. When tickets to sold-out shows appear on resale sites for five or six times their original value, that rules out a lot of fans. Sometimes they’ll even appear before the show has sold-out. Pure money-grubbing move, scalpers.

It’s super dodgy

Just because you’ve spent $2,500 to see Biebs strut around in a million dollar tracksuit, doesn’t mean you’ll get in. Ticket resale sites don’t verify the legitimacy of the tickets advertised, which means you could be spending up big on a dud ticket. There’s nothing in place to protect you from this (except maybe a small print warning.) Put simply, don’t do it. Our mates at Frontier Touring have got some helpful pointers on this here.

On being dodgy, a lot of these sites are setup to look legit, with the one goal of deliberately deceiving you, dear reader. The apparent legitimacy of a lot of their advertising is enough to convince even a tech-savvy individual into thinking they’re a safe bet. So just imagine how easy it is for them to fleece an older, less educated audience.

All that extra dough doesn’t go to the people who deserve it

We all want to support our favourite bands and artists, and that’s why so many of us are willing to spend a little extra cashola to see our faves live in action (beyond it just being a beautiful sight.) But something lots of people don’t realise is, when you buy a heavily inflated ticket from a resale site, the money doesn’t go to the people responsible for putting on the show. Instead, it goes straight into the pocket of the scalper who barely lifted a finger to earn it. In fact, a lot of the time it’s bots buying up all the tickets, and they don’t even have fingers.

Where’s the crowd at?

These bots get up to even more mischief when they buy up all the tickets, because it can ultimately mean there a free seats at an apparently ‘sold-out’ event. These seats can’t be opened up to door-sales for fire hazard reasons – so you miss out on seeing your faves on stage and they miss out on playing to you. It also makes it super hard for promoters and venues to estimate crowd numbers, really messing with the financial side of things. This might be a little dull to talk about, but is so important for keeping live music alive.

Enforcing laws is hard

While there’s been plenty of chat in the Senate recently and influential consumer advocacy group, Choice calling for reform, it’s not that easy.  

In some states, like Queensland, there is legislation in place to try and stop ticket scalpers, but it’s not enforced. This means individuals need to hold the scalpers accountable – pretty difficult when not everyone realises what’s going on.

The good news is: Senate passed a motion calling for the Government to look into how scalpers buy bulk tickets for resale and the ACCC is conducting a review into consumer protection that encompasses the entertainment industry.

There are also signs from the industry that they’re trying to innovate in order to tackle scalpers. They haven’t found the perfect fit just yet, but it’s encouraging to see nonetheless.


Let’s hope for some positive action!

What can we do?

So our advice – only buy from the official ticketing agents, call out dodgy dealers and hope government action puts a stop to this.

Managers can also protect their artists by registering for trademarks with Google. This stops scalping companies from using their trademarks (in this case, the artists’ names) in their search ads. You can register here.

Say no to ticket scalpers.

BLSTR Group.