Digtial Services Act: Pearle* highlights concerns with illicit secondary ticketing (March 2021)

With this paper, Pearle* gives its view on the public consultation on the proposed Digital Services Act.

Considering new online business models, certain aspects of current legislation in the field of digital services and online platforms need to be updated and further developed. In this context, the live performance sector faces serious problems with a growing illicit online secondary ticketing. The secondary ticketing market was estimated worth €1.66bn in 2020, while in the same year, according to estimations of the EY study Rebuilding Europe, the performing arts in the EU lost 90% of their turnover, the music sector 76%.
While event organisers are partnering up with online marketplaces for lawful secondary ticketing for live shows and other events, non-authorised platforms and online traders have created a parallel market on which they sell tickets for prices much higher than face-value to the detriment of consumers, artists and event organisers. Increasingly, the market also moves to social media networks using the names and the brand of renown concert halls to deceive consumers, advertise faked shows and sell faked tickets.

In order to fight online secondary ticketing platforms reselling tickets higher than face-value, clear EU legislation, an ambitious strategic and operational framework and stepped-up enforcement measures (including taking down websites) are needed.
Secondary ticketing platforms often operate from a “safe haven” outside the EU on the European market. Pearle therefore welcomes the proposed changes to the e-commerce Directive and urges Member States authorities to step-up their cooperation to address unlawful practices related to cross-border secondary ticketing.

We expect the proposed rules on the Digital Services Act to create a safe online environment for consumers, artists and event organisers in the live performance sector.

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