Radiohead fans had sympathy to spare following the tragedy of a stage collapse in Toronto, Canada that claimed the life of their drum tech and friend, Scott Johnson and injured several others.
Now back on the road and following recent events involving ticketing for their UK tour, the tides have turned on the Oxford five-piece after anti-scalping measures have trapped fans over what they’re calling unfair ticketing policies.
Classic Rock reports that Radiohead, and their vendor Ticketmaster, have been criticised for their ‘paperless’ ticketing system, designed to prevent touters from profiting from selling on passes at inflated prices.
The paperless formate allows fans to pre-purchase tickets without the need for a physical ticket, gaining access to the concert by arriving on the night with ID and the card used to purchase the ticket, a standard system – but in combination with a strict ‘no refunds’ policy, has burnt Radiohead fans with reasonable requests.
Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Richa Manwani paid to see the band in London but won’t be able to attend because of her medical duties – ‘bad luck’ is the essential response given to her plight. “Only I can redeem the tickets on the night of the event with my credit card and photo ID. This means I have no way of selling them on for face value… which means I have lost my money.”
“I think it is unfair and illogical to punish Radiohead fans and Ticketmaster customers who are unlucky enough not to be able to make the event,” she added of the inflexible paperless scheme.
The restrictions also affected Radiohead fan Paul Chambers, who paid nearly $AU 450 for his concert tickets. “I can’t go due to being away at work,” said Chambers of a forthcoming UK show. “The tickets are in my name and I can’t pick them up. My wife isn’t keen on going to the concert without me but couldn’t anyway due to my name and bank card being on the bill. I would gladly sell them to fans for face value but I can’t due to the restrictions.”
A representative from Ticketmaster offered that,”terms and conditions relating to the purchase of paperless tickets are clearly outlined to customers at multiple stages during the purchase process.”
Saying that it’s the responsibility of ticket purchasers, not the vendor for such troubles, adding that the strict exchange and refund details are noted multiple times in a transaction; “including the initial purchase page, the shipping page and the billing page. Information relating to their purchase of paperless tickets is also conveyed on the confirmation email they receive.”
Ticketmaster added that, “paperless tickets aren’t transferable because this prevents those tickets being offered in the resale market,” but often, at the cost of customer’s circumstances.
While the introduction of paperless ticketing by major vendors is designed for convenience, the Radiohead ticketing problems demonstrate that its proving to provide a counter-intuitive experience. After the hassles and costs of the new scheme, the issue of whether ticket scalping is really so harmful begins to creep into the equation. A topic we explored for our latest opinion piece on the subject.
The scalping of tickets for Radiohead’s upcoming Australian tour caused a spate of controversy back in March, when tens of thousands of fans flooded online to purchase tickets for the band’s first tour down under in nearly a decade.
Chugg Entertainment, who are promoting the influential act’s visit, were furious when no sooner had the five shows for Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney sold out that tickets started appearing on online auctions websites such as eBay for up to $600 a piece.
Chugg have stated that they plan to release a final allocation of tickets that they’ve reclaimed from tickets suspected to belong to ticket scalpers, but as is the case with major ticketing issues – expect some more fan uproar to surface its head as Radiohead’s November shows draw closer.
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