Ed Sheeran has backed a campaign urging fans to reject the “emotional blackmail” of websites selling gig tickets at inflated prices.
The Shape Of You singer joins a number of artists – including Mumford & Sons, Radiohead and Amy Macdonald – in encouraging music lovers to stop using secondary platforms Viagogo, Get Me In!, Stubhub and Seatwave.
The musicians have endorsed a new guide published by campaign organisation The FanFair Alliance, which offers fans tips on how to get gig tickets while avoiding touts and websites where tickets are sold at many times their face value.
The FanFair Alliance says its manual is a “response to the dark arts employed by resale platforms” and comes a month after Viagogo was accused of “moral repugnance” by an MP for reselling tickets to an Ed cancer charity gig for up to £5,000.
The guide warns of tech-savvy “shady operators” who use computer programmes to mine for tickets in vast quantities before selling them for huge profits on the secondary platforms which it claims charge 20% to 25% fees on top of the resale price.
It calls on fans to “resist the emotional blackmail” when considering buying tickets from the secondary platforms.
The online guide also offers tips on using face value exchange websites, how to get pre-sale tickets and warns of using search engines.
Ed, whose manager Stuart Camp will discuss the issue with MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on Tuesday, urged fans to “get educated about ticket touts”.
The Suffolk singer added: “Find out who the authorised ticket sellers are, avoid the secondary sites … and if you’ve got to sell a ticket, sell it for face value.”
Royal Blood, Mark Knopfler and Wolf Alice also championed the guide, while Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien called online ticket touting a “major problem”.
You Me At Six frontman Josh Franceschi, who spoke to MPs on the topic last year, said: “It’s about transparency and respect between the artist and their fans.
“I was determined to be part of positive change and to be look-out for the fans of live music who have given us everything we have today.”
Tory MP Nigel Adams, who chairs the All-Parliamentary Group On Music, said: “It’s so important to keep sound advice like this guide in mind, and be vigilant for red flags, before parting with money.”
FanFair Alliance’s Adam Webb said: “These businesses not only fuel industrial-scale levels of ticket touting, they also use a range of manipulative marketing techniques that sow confusion when tickets go on sale and direct fans away from legitimate and authorised sellers.”
Last month, the Government revealed online touts are to face unlimited fines as part of a crackdown on resale websites.