Friday, 11 January 2008

MPs make a sensible decision

MPs reject online touting ban

But unfortunately they don't seem to have made it for very good reasons. It has long been a mystery why concert promoters don't charge enough for their concert tickets (they fill the stadiums and have people queueing round the block at the prices they do charge, they could certainly fill them at some higher price). It is just as much of a mystery why anyone would object to "ticket touts" taking advantage of this.

If people are willing to pay 3500 euros for a ticket to go and see Liverpool get convingly trounced by AC Milan, then why shouldn't they be allowed to pay it? The tout wants the money more than the ticket, and the fan wants the money more than the ticket. It's win-win. Ticket touts are providing a valuable service. So why the vitriol? I think it's mostly because they don't teach economics in schools (seriously, I'd never heard of the Invisible Hand before I was about 18 - most people I know probably still haven't, it's all well and good getting worked up about not teaching evolution, but which is actually more relevant in day-to-day life?).

The government committee apparently conceded that ticket touts to provide some benefits to consumers, apparently noting that "where venues are not full, touts sometimes sell tickets below face value.", whilst failing to note the equally valuable service they provide by getting the tickets to the people who are most willing to pay for them when venues are full.

Not a single one of the articles I've read has mentioned the very simple fact that if the concert organisers really did "resent" seeing their tickets change hands without them getting any recompense, they could soon solve the problem by the very simple mechanism of raising the price of the tickets. Like I said, it's always been a mystery why concert promoters don't charge enough for their tickets. Maybe the internet-inspired boom in the touting industry will give us some evidence that might help explain it.

No comments: