New York Times: Adele Moves to Stop Scalpers from Selling Concert Tickets

Adele has broken sales records with her new album, “25,” but little noticed outside the concert business has been her war against ticket-scalping.

For her world tour next year, Adele has teamed up with Songkick, a site that specializes in ticket sales through artists’ websites and fan clubs, to manage thousands of her tickets and prevent as many as possible from ending up in the hands of scalpers.

For Adele’s tour — which sold out in Europe, and for which tickets went on sale in North America on Thursday — Songkick said it sold 235,000 tickets through her website, Adele.com. By tracking the customers who tried to place orders, the company said it was able to block 53,000 sales to known or likely scalpers.

According to one estimate, Songkick’s efforts saved Adele’s fans more than $6.3 million in markups on secondary ticketing sites.

“By selling the highest number of tickets we were able to through our own channels, and working with Songkick and their technology, we have done everything within our power to get as many tickets as possible in the hands of the fans who have waited for years to see her live,” Jonathan Dickins, Adele’s manager, said in a news release.

In Britain, Songkick said it sold 40 percent of Adele’s tickets. But the company’s control is more limited in North America, where for some shows it handled as few as 8 percent of the available seats. When tickets to the North American shows went on sale Thursday, fans on social media complained about technical problems online and tickets that appeared to sell out in minutes.

StubHub, one of the largest secondary ticket markets, alerted customers to the availability of Adele seats on its site, with some tickets listed for as much as $11,000.

On Thursday, Songkick, which is based in London, also announced $10 million in new investment from Access Industries, the conglomerate that is owned by the Soviet-born investor Len Blavatnik, and that also owns the Warner Music Group. Songkick has already raised about $32 million in funding from venture capital investors that include Sequoia Capital, Index Ventures and Access.

In June, Songkick, which began as primarily a site for concert listings, merged with CrowdSurge, whose specialty is ticketing for artist fan clubs. In an announcement about the new investment, the company said it had tripled its sales since the merger. It has begun to be a significant force in the ticketing world, working with major acts like Paul McCartney, Metallica and Kenny Chesney.

The company’s work with Adele also comes as the ticket scalping market — estimated to be worth $8 billion a year — comes under increasing scrutiny and criticism. This month the New York attorney general looked into resale listings on sites like StubHub for Bruce Springsteen shows. In Britain, Coldplay, Elton John and Mumford & Sons have all recently spoken out against the sophisticated methods used by scalpers to obtain and resell tickets online.

“We’ve worked so hard over the years to keep our ticket prices reasonable,” Mumford & Sons wrote in a long note about scalping on its website this week. “We want all of our fans to be able to come to our shows.”

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