TODAY, Mr Money investigates how music fans are having to pay over the odds to see their favourite band live.
Many gig-goers are being left frustrated when tickets sell out quickly only to appear on secondary sites moments later for hugely inflated sums.
On Monday, U2 fan Andy Sidney tried to buy seats for a July gig, only to find tickets sold out in one minute and were on touts websites seconds later for hundreds of pounds extra.
Andy, 50, told Sun Money: Ive been a fan all my life but the ordinary working man has no chance of getting a seat.
He and other fans question how tickets get on tout sites so fast.
In 2008, U2 signed a 12-year deal for Live Nation to handle its tours. Live Nation also owns Ticketmaster the outfit that sells U2s tickets to fans on the so-called primary ticket market.
But Ticketmaster also owns Get Me In and Seatwave, two of the sites that allow people to resell tickets at inflated prices and are used by touts. Ticketmaster takes about a ten per cent cut when tickets are sold at face value on the primary market but around a quarter of the inflated price on this secondary market.
Andy had decided to take his daughter to see U2s The Joshua Tree Tour, 30 years after he first saw them tour the album after its release.
He was ready when tickets for the bands two gigs at Twickenham Stadium on July 8 and 9 went on sale last Monday at 9am.
Andy, of Milton Keynes, Bucks, inset below, said: We went on Ticketmaster early and selected the tickets. There was a countdown clock ahead of them going on sale at 9am.
We had Ticketmaster open on four different devices.
At 9am we clicked to buy on all of them and there was a spinning wheel to say it was looking. Then it flashed up: SOLD OUT. It was 9.01am.
Andy was directed to get the tickets on a secondary site, where they were upward of 242 for a ticket that would have cost 78.25 including fees on the original site.
He said: I was amazed. It said get them from Get Me In, which we found helps touts sell. The fact that it is also owned by Ticketmaster makes it all sound a bit fishy. How did they sell out in seconds?
Andy added: I remember buying off a tout outside the venue, like the old-fashioned way.
A Ticketmaster spokesman said: Our priority is to help artists get as many tickets as possible into the hands of real fans, and we never place tickets on secondary market sites.
Live Nation touring boss Arthur Fogel said: I would be very happy to see legislation introduced, in every country, that would shut down secondary ticket sites.
But as long as people buy more than they need and decide to sell them on, were faced with this problem.
Fortunately, the vast majority of the 1.5million tickets sold for The Joshua Tree Tour have ended up in the hands of fans at face-value prices.
Here we look out how stars, managers and ticket agencies could make huge profits selling, then selling again, tickets to see our top musicians and performers.
FIRMS TAKE TWO CUTS
Some ticket sellers earn from the initial sale then far more at resale. Ticketmaster handles sales for shows but because it also owns resale sites Get Me In and Seatwave, when a fan buys a ticket, they pay a booking fee and delivery fee.
But if they cannot make the gig and sell the ticket legally on a site, Get Me In or Seatwave will charge the next buyer the booking and delivery fees again.
The firm was recently an official outlet for tickets for Adeles 2015 tour and took five to ten per cent on each sale making 4.75 on 38 tickets, up to 12.85 on top-end 95 tickets.
But almost immediately tickets were available on Get Me In and Seatwave, with average prices for the cheapest tickets at more than 700.
For a ticket on sale at 714.87, it was calculated Get Me In would get 138.68 in processing fees and 65 from the seller, making a second killing on the same ticket.
THEY BREAK RULES
New laws last year said resale sites must tell consumers how much extra they are paying.
But a recent Government report into the 1billion-a-year industry revealed the rules are not enforced. Sites were told to make sellers list details of the tickets block, row and seat number, plus its face value but the big firms do not.
Professor Michael Waterson, of Warwick University, who wrote the report, wants trading standards and police to take action.
STRAIGHT TO RESALE
Robbie Williams management team ie:music sold tickets for his Heavy Entertainment Show tour on Get Me In and Seatwave for up to 65 more than face value, it was revealed this month.
Ticketmaster said ie:music would pocket all the profits because it had put the tickets up for sale.
Just two years ago, ie:music signed a petition calling for action against resale websites.
Meanwhile tickets for Depeche Modes Olympic Stadium gig in London this summer are going for 155, as Ticketmaster Platinum tickets.
These are seats the firm says are made available directly from artists and event organisers at market-driven prices.
That makes them far dearer. In this case, the face value of top-price tickets at the gig is 70.
Ticketmaster is also selling U2 tickets for the bands summer Joshua Tree shows. The initial sale is meant to be just for u2.com members.
But Seatwave was selling tickets for up to 240 yesterday.
Welcome to your new cash champion
WHETHER were buying fun stuff such as smartphones or gig tickets, or boring essentials like insurance, the retailer will bust a gut to get us to fork out more.
Sometimes theyll just plain rip us off.
Whatever youre spending on, our new Sun Money column will help you use your cash wisely and make sure you dont get fleeced. This week our main topic focuses on a big treat concert tickets.
But there are big savings to be had if youre savvy about humdrum items like home insurance, petrol, washing powder or school uniform.
We should all shop around for energy but often never get round to it. So we will also nag you do a few important things to save you money.
We will try to help in other ways too. Once a fortnight we will give a reader a Money Makeover, helping them solve a problem.
Every other fortnight we will test a new money-related service, gadget or app and see if it adds up.
So next week Money Test will examine whether smart thermostats are worth it.
Our readers are smart too. Most weeks we will get them to help with advice or their own experiences in Money Answers.
For next week, Eddie Edwards is considering trying out home-delivered groceries.
He wants to know if hell get stuck with limp lettuce or if it will free valuable time in his week.
- To help Eddie, email [email protected] with subject line Eddie.
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