The UK may have been at the forefront of the anti-secondary ticketing movement thus far, but the focus has just shifted to Italy, where the government is preparing to regulate the secondary market.
It’s certainly talking tough: minister of culture and tourism Dario Franceschini described secondary as an “intolerable phenomenon” that needs legislation to regulate it, as the government presented an amendment to its budget law to do exactly that.
This has all been spurred by an interview given by Live Nation Italy’s boss Roberto de Luca to TV show Le Iene, and his response to questioning about whether Live Nation has placed tickets directly onto secondary platforms.
Despite his clarification that such tickets “are equal to 0.2% of our ticket sales”, the interview has caused a storm in Italy, just as similar claims made waves in the UK in 2012 after an investigation by TV show Dispatches.
A Coldplay concert in Milan was the spark for Le Iene’s report, although there had already been an official complaint made by Bruce Springsteen’s promoter to the public prosecutor earlier in the year.
The management firm of prominent Italian artist Vasco Rossi has stoked the fire by announcing that it has “suspended all commercial dealings with Live Nation”.
This, despite the company telling Billboard that “Live Nation Italy would like to make it clear that the allegations in Le Iene relate to a small number of tickets for a handful of international artists. Live Nation Italy has never been asked to list any tickets on secondary markets by Italian artists.”
That ‘by artists’ element may be crucial to the coming debate in Italy and beyond. The arguments about secondary ticketing often put artists firmly on the ‘anti’ side of the battle, and it’s true that in the UK, artists like Mumford & Sons have been prominent in the condemnation of this market.
However, the question about whether some artists are benefitting from tickets being routed directly to the secondary market is hugely sensitive, but very important.
The Italian situation may smash this particular can of worms open, and perhaps also nudge Live Nation and the secondary firms to fight their corner publicly, shedding more light on the economics and beneficiaries of this market.