CMU: Touts are hindering artists' ability to build a fanbase

Music Glue chief says industrial touts are hindering new artists’ ability to build a fanbase

First published 23/10/2015

Meharry wrote: “The first rule of sustainable touring is ‘sell out, create future demand and return soon’. To ensure a sell-out and avoid market saturation, it is important to play in venues that are perhaps too small and with a ticket price that is perhaps too low. Today, when demand outstrips supply, tickets become available on the secondary market for inflated prices. Disappointed fans are presented with a choice: ‘wait until next time or pay a premium now’. Many choose the ‘pay now’ option and are effectively draining money from the artist, into the pockets of ticket touts”.

On the impact on new artists in the initial fanbase-building stage, Meharry adds: “In the modern, online, connected world, loyal fans are the new marketing department. The ‘super-fan’ is highly engaged and typically has a broad network of early adopters that thrive on the newest and coolest music. And they are usually not very rich. When tickets for their favourite artists go on sale and instantly shift to secondary sites, the super-fan is priced out of the market. They cannot attend and cannot spread the word to their network and the modern marketing mechanism breaks”.

He goes on: “Artists [also] rely on data from their fan networks to decide where to tour next; if a proportion of their ‘customer list’ is invalid because the email addresses provided came from [ticket-buying bots used by touts], this is undermined”.

Ultimately, says Meharry, it is consumers who lose out the most when artists are hindered in building their fan businesses, and in planning and pricing their gigs as they see fit, by the industrial level touting the online secondary market enables.

Read the full interview here