Is legislation the most effective way to remove the worst excesses of the secondary market? We’ve seen new laws signed in the USA with pressure growing around the world for more transparency and fairness in the distribution and resale of tickets. Politicians and legislators are jumping to the public call for action but what will be the result? Time for a good debate…

Under-regulated and industrial-scale online ticket touting remains a black mark on the live entertainment scene – ripping off fans and causing significant harm to artists and music businesses.

We begin with an open and honest Q&A with Ken Lowson – Reformed King of Ticket Bots/TixFan, USA

When you’ve invented Ticket Bots and purchased more than 1,500,000 tickets amassing more than $25 million in profits, you’ve learned a few things about the ticketing business!

Ken was the principle founder of the infamous Wiseguy Tickets. He cornered the majority of premium tickets for the hottest events and became the leading source for secondary markets. At his peak, Lowson was running an international network of 100,000 IP addresses using co-located servers.

Wiseguy had zero inventory risk, unlimited broker credit cards, and 1000+ individual primary seller accounts. Their Bot performance was measured in milliseconds ensuring the front of the online queues plus automated visual and audio CAPTCHA without using Optical Character Recognition. The Wiseguy operation became so powerful that for one US Football Rose Bowl game, it purchased 990 out of a 1000 seat allocation. Federally indicted in 2011, Ken pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Ken has returned to the ticket world to share his inside knowledge and benefit Live Event Creators by eliminating unwanted reselling and recapturing Fan spending power. As the “Catch Me If You Can” guy of tickets, he can stop Bots, reduce fraud and boost PR.

At the 2017 Forum, Ken Lowson will share his unique take on 21st Century ticketing, take open questions on stage and showcase some of the new services he’s offering to improve in-house ticket revenues and fan loyalty.

Our session will then open up to a panel including Brian Message, founder of ATC Management, Adam Webb – Campaign Manager, FanFair Alliance, UK,  and Hans Ober – Co-founder, Ticketswap, The Netherlands. With the debate led by Chris Carey – CEO, Media Insight Consulting, UK

Brian Message, founder of ATC Management

Brian Message is a partner in Courtyard Management, the organisation that manages Radiohead. He is also a co-founder of ATC, the management (http://www.atcmanagement.com) and live booking agency (http://www.atc-live.com) business.  ATC represents over 200 artists, and Brian personally works with Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and a number of up and coming artists.

Brian is a director and former chairman of the MMF, an organisation that represents over 500 front line artist managers and works closely with the Featured Artist Coalition the artist body whose co-chairs are Ed O’Brien (Radiohead), Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) and Sandie Shaw.

Through his work with both organisations, he promotes the benefits of transparency and the opportunities provided by technological change, both for artists, their partners and the music industry as a whole.  He has been a big supporter of the introduction of streaming to the music eco-system and is a founding member of the FanFair Alliance, the campaign to mitigate industrial-scale online ticket touting.

Adam Webb – Campaign Manager, FanFair Alliance, UK

Launched July 2016, FanFair has helped propel the issue of industrial-scale ticket touting onto the UK’s political and media agenda – as well as unifying those in the music business who want a transparent and properly-functioning secondary market that benefits fans. More than 100 managers, agents, promoters, ticket sellers and trade bodies are now formally supporting the campaign.

Adam is also an experienced and award-winning PR executive, who has worked for organisations including UK Music, Merlin, Iceland Airwaves, Roundhouse, Attitude is Everything, the Music Publishers Association and PRS for Music Foundation. Before jumping to the dark side, he was a freelance music and business journalist and wrote “Dumb Angel”, the acclaimed biography of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson.

Hans Ober – Co-founder, Ticketswap, The Netherlands

Hans Ober came up with the idea of TicketSwap during his Masters in International Management in Amsterdam because he encountered several issues with buying and selling tickets on Facebook. With only experience in car sales and investment advice, he was always very interested in entrepreneurship and the power of the internet. After finishing his Masters degree in 2015, last year he won the Leading Online Entrepreneur of the Year talent awards.

Chris Carey – CEO, Media Insight Consulting, UK

Chris is an entrepreneur, strategist and data expert. He founded FastForward in 2015 and he is founder and CEO of boutique research company, Media Insight Consulting, specialising in Consumer Surveys, and Big Data Analytics, with a focus on the music industry. Clients include Spotify, Sony Music, The O2 and BMG Music. He previously worked as Global Insight Director at Universal Music Group and at EMI, and Senior Economist at PRS for Music. He has been quoted in The Financial Times, The Economist, Forbes, The New York Times, The Independent as well as BBC Breakfast, Sky News, BBC 4’s Today Programme, BBC 5 Live, BBC World Service and music industry press.

Will anything change?

Join the Bot Debate and be part of Europe’s largest ticketing meeting in Dublin on 5-6 April.

What are people saying?

The best networking place I've been to. I was able to get very high level leads and meet relevant partners. You did a great great job to gather such high level and exhaustive people!

Chloé Julien Founder & CEO, BandSquare, France

CIOs, CTO,s Chief Execs... all those people turn up at this event. it’s a fantastic opportunity to engage with them

Rick Jurkiewicz Head of Ticketing, The Rugby Football League, UK

This is the focal point of the ticketing industry in Europe, where the decision-makers meet and exchange ideas

Niels Henrik Sodemann Managing Partner/CEO, Queue-it, Denmark

At the Forum we made concrete progress with regards to selecting a new ticketing provider. I would be happy to recommend the Forum to other venues in the future.

Martin O'Donoghue Business Development Manager, Cork Opera House, Ireland

If you’re curious about the future, if you want to see how things are developing, if you wanna get to know your peers... you need to be at the Forum.

James Charrington CEO, Dewynters, UK

For me the most important thing was to meet with all the different companies in ticketing and I’ve managed that, and I left with many business cards!

Grégory Six Major Projects and Development Manager, AS Monaco, Monaco