MU and UK Music criticise Google over Viagogo ticket sales scandal

UK Music’s chief executive Michael Dugher has attacked Google for “failing to act” over rip-off ticket sales by Viagogo.

The criticism came after National Trading Standards (NTS) announced that it would be investigating Viagogo for exorbitant ticket prices charged for concerts, with fans in some cases paying thousands of pounds to see their favourite acts.

Dugher’s comments followed an intervention by Digital Minister Margot James, who urged fans to steer clear of Viagogo.

“Don’t choose Viagogo – they are the worst,” she told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Dugher commented: “Margot James is absolutely right about Viagogo and the way it rips off music fans. We welcome the investigation by National Trading Standards.

“But we also need much tougher action from Google which continues to sit on its hands over this national scandal.

“In the same way Google’s YouTube rip off artists and creators, Google is complicit in taking music fans for a ride because they put Viagogo at the top of internet searches – not the official ticketing sites. That has to stop.

He continued: “Thanks to calls from industry campaigners like the FanFair Alliance and UK Music, everyone is aware of the problem. What we need now is action.

“Google needs to stop shirking its responsibilities and kick secondary sites that break new rules on transparency into touch.”

The Musicians’ Union (MU) has announced its support of Dugher’s criticism, and is calling on Google to fight against “parasitic” secondary ticket sales.

MU Assistant General Secretary Naomi Pohl agreed with Dugher, commenting that:
“We need Google to step up and play their part. I feel sure we will beat these parasitic secondary ticketing sites that neglect to invest money back into the industry they profit from.

“Artists and fans are losing out and it can’t go on.”

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About Laura Barnes 403 Articles
Founder/Publisher of UK musical instrument industry publication MI Focus.