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Rock band frontman calls for ticket-buying bots to be banned

Published 15/11/2016

Joshua Franceschi appeared before MPs.
Joshua Franceschi appeared before MPs.

You Me At Six singer Josh Franceschi has called for a change in the law to clamp down on online ticket touts for the future of live music.

The rock band frontman has been calling for botnets - software which buys up huge numbers of tickets as soon as they go on sale - to be made illegal.

The 26-year-old told MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport select committee: "The main losers here are the fans of live music and I don't want to drive them away from an industry which is already suffering from a lack of money coming into it.

"For the live music industry to continue to grow and for the future of up-and-coming British acts, we need this to change."

He said that music fans felt frustrated and had been "put into a corner" for too long.

"If you get up in the morning and other people beat you and the shows are sold out ...that's one thing, but the idea of being ripped off, that doesn't leave a nice taste in the mouth," Franceschi said.

The singer told how he decided to sell tickets to a You Me At Six gig to fans directly, after deciding that "enough was enough".

He said that the ballooning problem was in danger of damaging the "mutual respect" between bands and their fans.

"That's why I got involved to make a stand for myself, my band mates, and peers but ultimately for the fans," he said.

"What really bothered me was the element of mistrust now."

The frontman said the future of live music was in jeopardy, as people will be "put off" from going to see live music after being "ripped off".

"There are a lot of musicians and artists who don't want to see their fans ripped off."

He told how bands including Mumford and Sons and One Direction had supported a petition calling for a clampdown on ticketing bots - the software which buys up tickets online to then be resold for a profit.

The tickets are resold on secondary ticketing websites for often vastly inflated prices.

The singer called on MPs to introduce new legislation on the issue, saying that it was the "proper course of action".

"There needs to be legislation," he said. "I'd like to see tickets only being sold through primary websites."

And he added: "There are a lot of derelict large music venues being shut down regularly because the business isn't going through those halls.

"It's being taken out of the music industry and put in the hands of people who never had the intention of supporting the bands, or the fans in the first place. Their intention is only to pocket the money."

Campaigners have called for tighter laws to force sellers on secondary websites to provide more details when they resell tickets.

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