The Yomiuri Shimbun Scalping — the act of purchasing a large volume of concert tickets for the purpose of reselling them at unreasonably high prices on resale websites — has become a social problem.
Tickets priced at ¥10,000 or less, for instance, have been resold for more than ¥300,000. Beset by rampant scalping, organizations in the fields of music and other forms of entertainment plan to deal with the problem by setting up an official resale website together with major ticket sale companies this month at the earliest. However, challenges remain.
The ticket resale market, or secondary distribution market, has been rapidly expanding because of the spread of online transactions. According to estimates by a company operating the intermediary website TicketCamp, the market size was ¥60 billion in 2016 and is forecast to expand by 30 percent to ¥80 billion in 2019.
There have been many cases in which scalpers buy large quantities of tickets for the concerts of popular singers and resell them at prices more than 10 times the original value through intermediary sites. The situation greatly irritates the music industry because it means ordinary fans, such as young people who do not have much money, cannot attend concerts.
With profits from CD sales shrinking, concerts are a precious revenue source for the industry, so having a sound ticket resale market is essential.
More than 100 musicians, including Southern All Stars and Yumi Matsutoya, oppose the practice of reselling tickets at high prices.
Ichiro Yamaguchi, the vocalist of popular rock group Sakanaction said: “We carefully think about and decide on ticket prices, but the prices of these resold tickets have nothing to do with the original prices. It is a problem that scalpers turn a profit from that.”
In January, talent agency Johnny & Associates released a statement on its website, saying resold tickets are void and those who hold such tickets will not be allowed to enter concerts. This is because there have been many cases in which concert tickets for popular idol group Arashi have been resold.
Some concert organizers have introduced a face recognition system and other methods to restrict entry by resold ticket holders. However, this is costly and there are limits to what a single organizer can do to deal with the problem.
To cope with the scalping problem, about 20 entities, including music and entertainment production companies as well as ticket sellers Pia Corp., Lawson Inc. and Seven-Eleven Japan Co., will establish a council with the aim of preventing overpriced ticket resales.
The group will start operating an official ticket resale website as early as May. It will create a system in which electronic tickets to be issued can only be resold on the official resale website. It also plans to cap the resale price, so as not to excessively exceed the regular price.
The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will also join the council, aiming to introduce this system for the 2020 Games.
However, there are issues that still need to be tackled. As many elderly people do not have smartphones, it is hard to change to only electronic tickets and that means ordinary tickets will continue being sold, for the time being.