INTERVIEW: Ben Folds

Published on theMusic.com.au, Jan 2017

Ben Folds Shares What We Can All Learn From ‘Trapped In The Closet’ By R Kelly

Classical music can learn a lot from R Kelly’s Trapped In The Closet, an affable Ben Folds tells Daniel Cribb.

Most fans of pop and rock would admit to rarely listening to classical music, let alone going out to experience it live – except for the rare occasion when a band enlists an orchestra to perform alongside them, which, as Ben Folds comments, is “not that good most the time”.

Few acts that embark on such an endeavour have enough time to workshop the dynamic in a way that truly complements the insane talents of the classically trained musicians backing them.

Flashback to 2016 when Folds last visited Australia with acclaimed New York ensemble yMusic and we put forward that there were times when audience members almost forgot the headline act was even there. “I totally understood that and that’s kind of what I wanted, so you’re on it,” Folds tells.

His latest album, So There, was a collaborative effort with yMusic, and while he was preparing for certain sectors of the classical community to turn their nose up at the idea of a pop musician releasing such a record (he’s been performing with orchestras for years), it was met with wide acclaim all ’round, even going to #1 on the US Classical Music chart. “There was a formula that proved, after the fact, to be very effective, which is sort of specific to that album,” he says.

“If you listen to the record, it’s mostly a pop record and it’s in the voice of a guy who’s been selling records in the pop world. Now, selling shit in the pop world is still topping the charts in the classical so, when they called it classical and my crowd bought it – then suddenly I’ve got the number one Billboard Classical record for a long time, but it’s not really an indication of my going in and taking over the classical world.”

Although Folds is now firmly planted in that world – currently National Symphony Orchestra’s artistic adviser – he’s not looking to repeat the So There formula again. “I definitely lose a lot of opportunities by jumping off something when it starts to work,” he admits, a statement that is backed by his eclectic back catalogue and countless projects. For Folds, it’s more about doing what enjoys as opposed to cashing in. “It’s like, ‘Okay, the iron’s hot – time to strike.’ And I go, ‘Oh, I think I’ll do something else’.”

Frequently jumping between genres over the past few years, he’s noticed correlations and interesting (and bizarre) influences between pop, folk and classical music. “R&B and hip hop have encouraged us to look at the beat differently, and what plays the beat, and I think that actually opens up a lot of opportunities for classical music,” he says.

“Remember that ridiculous Trapped In The Closet by R Kelly? It’s good shit, right? It’s 45 minutes of the same song and he’s telling this crazy-ass story, but it’s actually kind of brilliant. The beat is a water faucet drip – that’s all it is.

“It’s not a drum, it’s not anything that we’re used to – this kind of reimagining of groove textures is really exciting because they can be done by all kinds of crazy shit in the orchestra and the rock bands are stuck with their drums.”

Folds’ Paper Aeroplane Request tour hits Australia in February, with the US muso going back to his roots and performing in solo mode. The show will see punters writing song requests on pieces of paper, turning them into paper planes and then hurling them onto the stage, which should make for an extremely memorable evening given his comedic wit and improv skills.

With touring duties and his artistic-adviser role, Folds has had little time to think about his next studio album, but he’s still found time to add credits to his IMDb page, proving even further he has worthy comedic value by playing himself on US comedy You’re The Worst at the end of last year. “I really enjoyed it,” he laughs. “I have so much fun with that stuff.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2018/01/17/ben-folds-daniel-cribb/

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INTERVIEW: Gyroscope

Published on theMusic.com.au, Jan 2017

Why Gyroscope Chose Self-preservation Over Releasing Another Album

If Gyroscope didn’t take a break, they might have imploded, as frontman Dan Sanders tells Daniel Cribb.

“We took the tool belt off for a while and were living life for what it was; gaining different knowledge and experiences,” begins Gyroscope frontman Dan Sanders on the band’s time away from the spotlight.

Besides the occasional hometown gig, it has been pretty quiet in camp Gyroscope since the touring cycle of their acclaimed fourth LP, 2010’s Cohesion, died down, but they have in no way lost their spark, channelling their renowned live energy into two blistering new songs for double A-side release Crooked Thought/DABS.

It’s the first new music we’ve been gifted in seven years, and by all accounts, it has been worth the wait, with the release showcasing a revitalised act.

It took that time away from the band – focusing on family and individual projects and careers – to figure out how to juggle everything and put Gyroscope in perspective. “We’ve always said from the start that it was family first, but we’ve realised you can do this and do that and still make it work and enjoy it and write some cool tunes along the way,” he explains.

Given their relentless release and touring schedule from conception until Cohesion, it’s easy to see how they might have imploded had they not taken a step back. “When you start to get in a cycle where you write, you record, you tour, you write, you record, you tour, the monotony gets in the way of some sort of real life, because you become a machine where you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel – you get stuck in that and it starts to get you down.”

The band was touring so frequently that they had to designate certain times to write, almost like clocking into a day job, which, as Sanders says, doesn’t always work.

The two new songs aren’t as polished as previous hits – a Spotify shuffle from Baby, I’m Getting Better to Crooked Thought might have one thinking they’re listening to two different bands – but that raw, gritty nature is what makes them so charming, and is the result of a more “organic” method of songwriting. It’s how one of their biggest hits and best live songs to date came to fruition.

“It’s us, four dudes, getting into a room and jamming like we did with Doctor Doctor,” he tells. “45 minutes later you’re out for a smoko and you’ve done it; you’ve got this belter of an idea. [Doctor Doctor] literally started with me busting out a riff, Zok [Trivic] starts on the guitar, Brad [Campbell] comes in on the bass and Rob [Nassif] on the drums and we all just joined in and jammed and that was far and few between back in the day because we were just so under the pump.

“We know now this organised side is where we create our best music.”

That’s how the new double A-side was born – the band getting into a room together and throwing ideas around to see what stuck. And it seems a lot did, with Sanders revealing they picked the two singles from 30 demos. “There’s songs in the back pocket that we will use,” he tells.

Whether or not a selection of those appear on another A-side or a new album — Sanders is unsure — but it’s clear they’ve figured out the key to longevity and will keep chugging along after their upcoming Australian tour. “We’re a bit bull-headed and being in Perth we’re away from all the hoo-ha, so I think if we can just keep doing what we do and including family as inspiration, it’s a pretty powerful force and we’re digging it.

“Gyroscope’s got a new sense of purpose… It’s exciting, man; we’re getting back to basics.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2018/01/09/gyroscope-dan-sanders-daniel-cribb/

INTERVIEW: Tonight Alive

Published on theMusic.com.au, Jan 2017

Fighting Demons With Music

Tonight Alive vocalist Jenna McDougall tells Daniel Cribb the path to Underworld was a “scary” experience.

Embracing the calm before the inevitable album release storm, Tonight Alive vocalist Jenna McDougall has been spending some time in Melbourne following the band’s recent run of Australian shows. “I’ve just been trying to get into a good headspace before the end of the year,” McDougall begins.

The singer has been spending a fair amount of time at 24Hundred – the merch store attached to their label, UNFD – and even played an acoustic set there alongside some old friends; the perfect format to preview the intimate new subject matter of the band’s new LP, Underworld. “I feel so excited and very much at peace with everything I said and did on the record,” she says. “I look forward to doing it on stage, because I think it brings a fifth dimension into it and I really love the full body experience of a song.”

That’s conveyed perfectly via the music video for lead single Temple, which features McDougall thrashing about the screen and giving it everything she’s got. “I feel like that video’s the first time I’ve ever got show my stage self in a video.”

“Demons come out through me when I perform, and I like twitching and I like feeling energy leave my body and I’ll do really bizarre moves to make sure that it does.”

It’s a stage presence in tune with what’s being sung about throughout the album; its production and live execution are both therapeutic for McDougall. “I feel a very deep and honest connection with those lyrics, so naturally my body reflects that,” she tells.

“In the first line of the song I say ‘I’m intoxicated by my depression,’ and for the first time I was actually like ‘I am depressed, I am so deeply unhappy and I feel so completely trapped in my life right now.’ And just admitting that was one layer off the entrapment for me.”

“I was really sick when I wrote that song,” she reveals. “I’ve been dealing with a bit of an eating disorder the past couple of years, because I have allergies to everything, so every food I was eating would give me an allergic reaction. I developed this fear that I couldn’t eat anything without my eczema going nuts and it was already in a chronic state and I couldn’t do anything about it.

“That’s part of what I’m talking about in [Temple], which is totally scary to talk about. When we wrote that song, I’d only told one person that I was struggling with that, and that was Whack, because we write all out songs together. It was pretty far out to put it in a song and put it in front of the band, our team and the world; it’s an amazing feeling to work with honesty on that level.”

2017 was a big year for Tonight Alive, with a lot of exciting developments, including signing with UNFD, who will release Underworld the same day the band play Unify, alongside Parkway Drive, The Amity Affliction and more. But there was also some bittersweet news that dropped back in October, as guitarist Whakaio Taahi announced he’d be stepping down from the band to focus on other projects. “I guess [Underworld] is kind of like his last labour of love, and I’m not really sure how it’s going to be moving forward and I’m not really prepared to start thinking about what that’s going to be like, in terms of songwriting and things like that.”

There’s a sense of dark urgency around the music on Underworld produced by the duo, but McDougall stresses it’s not a negative record; a statement backed up by the lyrics throughout. “Every time we write a song, I’m very mindful that I’m not saying there’s no hope or that we’re doomed; I really don’t appreciate that type of music or message.

“If people truly believe that and they put it out there then that’s one thing, but I’m coming from a self-help standpoint and have been for a long time and I really care about personal development and evolution of the mind and spirit and that’s part of why I always have a silver lining in our songs.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2018/01/04/tonight-alive-jenna-mcdougall-daniel-cribb/

INTERVIEW: Shelley Hennig

Published in The Music (QLD) on theMusic.com.au, Nov 2017

Why Fans Connected So Strongly With Teen Wolf

Teen Wolf star Shelley Hennig tells Daniel Cribb why the supernatural hit is more relatable than a lot of other shows out there.

“Why do you think I’m napping? I only nap when I’m depressed,” sighs US actor Shelley Hennig, still processing the series finale of Teen Wolf.

Over the past three years, she’s developed a loyal following through her portrayal of Malia Tate on the MTV hit, and the reaction garnered from fans when the final episode aired recently proves just how strong an impact it had.

“Even though it was a supernatural show, it was surprising relatable; if you put aside the powers that we had, at the end of the day, they were pretty relatable teenagers dealing with being different, and I think we can all relate to that.”

In-between life or death battles with supernatural creatures, most of the characters were worried about getting good grades. “I appreciated that,” Hennig laughs. “It kept things grounded.”

While the show might be finished, Hennig says it won’t ever truly be gone, with dedicated fans around the globe keeping it alive; like those attending Supanova Brisbane and Adelaide this month to meet her and other guests such as Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) and Graham McTavish (Preacher).

But Hennig’s stepping away from the supernatural and into the world of hip hop with her next film. She showcased a natural comedic flair throughout Teen Wolf that fans fell in love with, and she’s keeping that ball rolling with upcoming Netflix film The After Party, featuring Andy Buckley (The Office), Wiz Khalifa and more. “Basically, it’s a movie about a young rapper who wants to get signed by a record label and if he doesn’t within 24 hours then he’s going to join the marines,” Hennig explains. “My brother in the movie is his manager, and I’m just out of high school. I’m the older sister who the artist has always had a crush on, so my brother makes me come along to convince him to come back out instead of joining the marines.”

Hennig will also appear in the upcoming TV comedy Liberty Crossing as Carly Ambrose, which is currently in post-production. “I’m open to anything, it just seems that comedy has been coming lately,” she tells. “Comedy’s hard, though. Comedy and drama are both challenging in different ways. Comedy is a lighter day, mentally, but also more challenging in other ways.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2017/11/08/shelley-hennig-daniel-cribb/

INTERVIEW: How The Inaugural Indie-Con Conference Aims To Fill A Void

Published on theMusic.com.au, Jul 2017

Australia’s newest music conference, Indie-Con, is looking to reshape the country’s independent music scene, as programmer Stuart Watters tells Daniel Cribb.

“We can bring something that is unique to the music industry that’s not trying to compete with any of the pre-existing events, and that’s certainly been first and foremost in our minds,” tells Indie-Con conference programmer Stuart Watters as the inaugural two-day July event fast approaches.

“We are not a BIGSOUND and nor do we want to be. We are not a Face The Music and nor do we want to be… we want to complement each and every one of those events by having a dedicated space for the independent label system that can feed into whatever those events are doing.”

Curated by Australian Independent Record Labels Association (AIR) – of which Watters was CEO for five years – the new music industry conference accompanies their highly anticipated annual awards ceremony, this year making its Adelaide debut. Indie-Con was first established in the UK by AIR’s sister association, AIM, in an effort to address the needs of independent labels and artists. “We think that’s a fantastic event in its own right, and it just made sense that we would develop something locally here in the Australian market,” he says.

It’s somewhat filling the void of Adelaide-based music conference and festival Fuse, which dropped off the map a few years ago. During its prime, Fuse was “a real focal point” that saw a wealth of people fly in from around the country annually. And so, for the next three years, while the AIR Awards are in SA, Watters is hoping they’ll see a similar trend, all with the goal of “trying to establish an event that can hold its own long term”.

“Making sure there’s a long-term viability around it is absolutely paramount,” Watters reiterates. “So getting the content right, making it speak to the people who are going and making it relevant to those people is important.

“From the CEO of the largest independent in the country to the independent artists that walk in the door, they’ve all got to walk away with something that’s useful, meaningful and [that] they can apply to their business.”

There’ll be a number of panels throughout the conference that do just that, including speakers such as Portia Sabin (Kill Rock Stars/The Future Of What), Jen Cloher, Briggs, Sebastian Chase (MGM) and more. “There are a couple of key topics that need to be [discussed] by the independent label sector. One of those is what’s happening with safe harbour; it’s a big issue among the recording sector.

“Is block chain important? What is block chain? I would say a lot of labels – and I would argue a lot of the music industry – have a very rudimentary understanding of what block chain is.

“On the artist side, I’m very interested in trying to empower artists to understand how they can harness and utilise data to give them the insight to make informed choices about where they invest.”

Watters describes the DIY approach many artists and labels now take on as an apprenticeship, with valuable lessons learned along the way, but a major focus of Indie-Con is relaying how important collaborating is. “Maybe it should be DIO – Do It Ourselves; do it together. I love the old adage that I heard from a good friend in the industry who said, ‘You want to be nice to everyone on your way up because you want them to catch you when you’re on your way down again’.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2017/07/18/indie-con-stuart-watters-daniel-cribb/

INTERVIEW: Craig Charles

Published on theMusic.com.au, Feb 2017

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Craig Charles On Skipping Syd & An Exciting Melb Collab

Lockout laws will see British Red Dwarf star Craig Charles’ funk and soul show skip Sydney, but as Daniel Cribb discovers, that just means more time in Melbourne for an exciting collaboration.

“I could quite easily move to Australia and feel right at home because a lot of the people over there have the same sort of musical sensibilities as me,” Red Dwarf actor and now revered musician Craig Charles begins from his Manchester home, preparing for a trip Down Under.

Despite the climate juxtaposition — Charles currently staring at frost in his garden while Australia powers through another summer heatwave — his funk and soul passion aligns nicely with our scene.

After scoring a regular Funk And Soul Show on BBC radio in 2002, which he still hosts to this day, Charles began performing live, quickly forging a completely new fan base outside of his acting work as the legendary Dave Lister on Red Dwarf, hosting duties on Robot Wars and ten-year stint on UK soap opera Coronation Street.

He released his fourth Funk & Soul Club compilation in December of last year, which opens with Aussie soul legend Kylie Auldist’s Family Tree. “Melbourne’s got such a great funk and soul community going on, with Lance Ferguson and The Bamboos and Black Feeling.”

Auldist’s voice topped numerous charts last year when her feature on Cookin’ On 3 Burners’ This Girl became a global hit via a Kungs remix. “I’ve been championing those guys for years,” Charles says.

With a week off after in the middle of his upcoming Australian tour, Charles is set to enter the studio with them for a unique collaboration, focusing on the UK star’s roots. “They want me to do one of my poems to music, so I’m going to do that and have a proper chillout,” he reveals. “I don’t know what we want to do; we’re just going to spend a day in the studio and see what happens.

“I’ve just done these epic poems called Scary Fairy & The Tales From The Dark Wood, they’re kind of children’s nursery rhymes, but I’ve done them with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and they’re 45 minutes long with a 95-piece orchestra behind them.

“I want to see if I can do funk and soul version of them… Sort of like a concept album.”

Charles has been venturing to Australia for the better part of two decades, and while this trip sees a return to Adelaide and his first-ever Perth date, Sydney will unfortunately miss out. “There’s loads of stuff coming out of Sydney as well, although I’m not playing Sydney this year,” he tells. “I think they’ve got this curfew now in Sydney. That’s going to kill the fucking music scene, isn’t it? I’m shocked that I can’t come over there and play because I love Sydney.

“I was over there doing Robot Wars stuff, staying in Darling Harbour and they gave me my own motorboat and I was sailing around on my motorboat for four weeks — it was brilliant, I didn’t want to go home.”

His touring schedule will also see press for Red Dwarf XI, which dropped last year. “Dave Lister is a very big part of my life. I started playing Dave Lister when I was 23, so he’s been with me my whole adult life, and it’s one of those career-defining roles,” he explains. “I was in Coronation Street for ten years, which is like the biggest show in Britain, but people still call me smeghead in the street,” he laughs.

“He’s a character I’ll never shake off, nor would I want to. I’ve really enjoyed playing Dave Lister and he’s opened a lot of doors for me.”

First airing in 1988, the sci-fi comedy shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. “Red Dwarf XII comes out this year,” he reveals. “That’ll come out in autumn this year. We’ve got all sorts of plans for Red Dwarf XIII and XIV and a stage tour, a stadium tour, which would be fantastic if we could get it off the ground, so it’s exciting times.

“We’ve been doing it nearly 30 years and we pinch ourselves that we’re still getting away with it — four broken down old TV stars stumbling onto a stage, it’s quite cool,” he laughs.

His role as Dave Lister was one of the reasons he got cast to host Aussie favourite Robot Wars. It was revealed last year that Robot Wars would reboot for another season, and the production company made the mistake of moving forward without Charles. “Because we’re in an ageing population, nostalgia is really big business. I don’t think you should mess with people’s nostalgia,” he explains. “We were filming Red Dwarf at the time and they made this new Robot Wars without me hosting it and there was a massive outcry over here from the fans because basically the production company who made it were fucking with their nostalgia.”

Although he’s developed different fan bases for each aspect of his career, that theme of nostalgia binds them all together. The longevity of good TV and film can be compared to that of classic albums. “I have arguments with my misses about this, you know,” he says on that point. “My wife Jackie, she doesn’t watch a film, ‘Aw, we’ve seen that film.’ I can watch a film ten, 20, 30 fucking times. That’s like saying, ‘Oh, I’ve heard that album.’ You listen to an album over and over again.

“You listen to an album over and over again until you learn the lyrics and good TV is like that.”

And there are some records in Charles’ collection that he’s indeed played over and over. “I’ve been collecting records since I was a teenager and it was a hobby for years and then all of a sudden it turned into this parallel profession. I don’t see it like working; I get invited to all the cool parties and I get to play the music.”

Craig Charles’ Australian tour kicks off this Friday, Feb 3, at The German Club, Adelaide, before he takes on Melbourne and Perth.

Check out theGuide for all the info.

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2017/02/02/craig-charles-daniel-cribb/

theMusic.com.au: Top Aus Promoters Call For Scalping Crackdown While Resale Vendors Dodge Questions

Published on theMusic.com.au, Jan 2017

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When you miss out on tickets to see your favourite act and moments later scalpers are hocking passes for stupid amounts on resale sites, the overwhelming sense of rage and disappointment can be unbearable.

The short-term effect is a fan missing out on a gig or paying through the roof because someone wanted to make a quick buck, but there’s a larger ticket resale issue brewing in Australia that needs attention before it develops into something far worse.

who’s to blame

Globally, the resale industry is worth billions each year, and with that kind of money at stake, it’s not surprising that, despite the uproar from fans and artists, there’s been little movement in regards to legislative change in Australia.

“This is morally wrong.”

One of the world’s largest ticketing outlets, Ticketmaster, reported more than $1bn in secondary sales last year alone, according to a report filled by promoting juggernaut Live Nation Entertainment who own it.

“With this success in selling tickets, Ticketmaster continues to attract new clients worldwide,” Live Nation Entertainment President and CEO Michael Rapino said in a press release.

“In the third quarter, we added 170 clients to our base of over 12,000, setting us up for our seventh consecutive year of growth in ticket inventory.”

Live Nation also owns TicketsNow, Seatwave and Get Me In.

Music Glue is an online platform with bases in Sydney, London and New York and is used by artists, managers and more to connect with fans, sell music, merch and tickets – CEO Mark Meharry describes the scalping issue as “vast, complex, deep routed, highly nuanced”.

“The biggest live music companies in the world are making the vast majority of their profit from secondary…[Live Nation Entertainment] have no vested interest in stopping this problem,” Meharry told The Music.

“The economic argument for higher pricing is sound. The legal argument is sound. However, there is a moral argument that is not being considered. This is morally wrong.”

The resale industry is operating in a highly predatory and deceptive manner, which is what’s really costing fans.

“The entire music industry is a victim.”

As resale websites are cashing in big time, they’re able to channel funds and time into Google Adwords, resulting in searches being flooded by their results. When punters jump online to search for tickets, they’ll see a handful of sponsored posts before the original ticketing site, including major sites like Ticketmaster Resale, Gumtree, Viagogo and smaller ones such as TicketBiz, Queen Of Tickets.

“It’s incredibly confusing and frustrating for a lot of fans,” revered Aussie music promoter/Frontier boss Michael Gudinski told The Music.

“A considerable number of people aren’t aware that they’re buying from a secondary market site and there have been countless times these people have purchased tickets that are not genuine or vastly inflated when they could have still purchase authorised tickets at the original artist set price.”

Take Guns N’ Roses for examples, when tickets went on sale many people searching for them were lured onto resale sites, many paying $300 for a $175 ticket when the shows weren’t even sold out yet. Why is it that Ticketmaster’s resale site appears before their primary site?

It seems resale sites are often unwilling to open a dialogue about the topic, issuing the same copy and paste answers to punters about supply and demand every time there’s another incident.

Ticketmaster repeatedly dodged questioning from The Music, issuing this statement on numerous occasions:

“Ticketmaster Resale provides a platform for fans to sell unwanted tickets and a safe purchase option for events. Ticketing marketplaces are dynamic and prices change in line with demand. Ticket holders, not Ticketmaster Resale, control the inventory and the price of the tickets they list. With high profile events, tickets are sometimes listed at prices higher than the face value.”

It’s nearly impossible to police the scalpers – that’s why legislative change needs to occur. There’s just too many of them, some of which are based overseas and using bots to buy tickets in bulk, with Music Tank doing in-depth research and discovering a startling number of tickets were being resold by people in countries outside of where events were taking place.

But as Oztix CEO Brian Chladil told The Music, it’s hard to initiate legislative change for a couple of reasons.

“It’s anticompetitive and is against capitalism. If you see a good, cheap car on eBay, buy it and resell it for a profit, that’s not illegal, and this is the same thing,” Chladil said. “It’s not actually illegal and it’s pretty hard to legislate against because you’re legislating against capitalism.”

Unsurprisingly, the only ticketing outlet willing to engage in productive dialogue with The Music was a company who doesn’t have any vested interests in the resale game, Ticketek.

“Resale scalping is a threat to the integrity of the Australian music industry. Everyone suffers when resale scalpers are active,” a Ticketek spokesperson said.

“The entire music industry is a victim, but ultimately it is the music fan who suffers most. When a band you’ve followed all your life finally arrives in your town, it’s heart-breaking to see premium tickets sourced by scalpers priced at exorbitant levels.

“Or worse still, the scalpers will use the emotion of the fan to engage in false and misleading advertising. We see fans paying two or three times face value when the show is not even sold out because a resale site creates that fear of missing out.”

what can be done

Promoters like Gudinski and Paul Dainty (Guns N Roses, Seinfeld) are often forced to use ticketing vendors according to venue contracts but are constantly trying new ways of deterring scalping.

“The reality is that the hands of the majority of promoters in Australia and New Zealand are tied,” Gudinksi said.

“We’ve tried numerous measures over the years to deter scalping – limits on ticket quantities, asking people to line up at specific box offices, wristbanding at time of purchase – the list goes on.  Ultimately though you walk a fine line where you can end up inconveniencing the genuine fans too much and inhibit their ability to get tickets.”

When Crowded House’s relatively intimate reunion gigs at Sydney Opera House, promoted by Live Nation, in November sold-out and reappeared for insane prices on Ticketmaster Resale, the band claimed on Facebook they weren’t “in a position to change the practices of a big American company”.

Adele’s debut Australian tour is also promoted by Live Nation and thus ticketed through Ticketmaster Resale. When tickets went on sale, Ticketmaster stated, “at our busiest periods, we had over 90,000 fans searching for Melbourne, Etihad Stadium tickets and over 105,000 fans looking for Brisbane, The Gabba tickets.”

“Scalping is such a layered issue.”

There’s never been a bigger single-day sale in Australia than Adele had, moving close to half a million tickets, yet you won’t find one ticket on Ticketmaster Resale. Adele’s been quite vocal when it comes scalpers in the past, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to think she has something to do with that – if that is the case, then artists do have a lot of power.

“A lot of artists are actively involved in the ticket prices that are set for their fans,” Gudinksi said. “It is frustrating for them – and us – to see those same fans ripped off by opportunistic secondary market sellers.

“Scalping is such a layered issue that can be addressed from so many different perspectives and I can’t claim to understand enough to provide the solution but I do strongly believe in the artist having the right to decide what they charge for their live music.”

Legendary Scottish outfit the Bay City Rollers called out a notorious scalper, with Violent Soho also taking a stand last year. Iron Maiden have gone one step further, urging punters support a Bill tabled by the UK government for greater transparency in ticket sale transactions, and now the band operates under a paperless ticketing policy where fans need to present photo ID and the card used to purchase when they get to the venue. This isn’t practical for all artists, though.

Chance The Rapper took things into his own hands last September, buying almost 2,000 tickets from scalpers for his sold-out hometown show, selling them back to fans for face value. But this is beyond unsustainable.

In the UK, managers and artists have set up the FanFair Alliance in order to stand against industrial-scale online ticket touting by “a coordinated and pragmatic approach between Government, creative businesses, entrepreneurs and consumers.” And it’s working.

The Alliance was set up a few years ago and started a petition in early 2016 to “enforce the Consumer Rights Act to protect music, arts and sport fans from touts”, while lobbying individual politicians. It ended up with 83,220 signatures and as a result their House of Commons held a Select Committee on Ticket Abuse to access the damage the secondary market is having on the industry.

“Ticket Abuse” was listed on agenda and Josh Franceschi of You Me At Six, artist manager Ian McAndrew and more delivered testimony before representatives from Ticketmaster UK, eBay, StubHub and the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers were grilled by the committee.

As Music Week reports, that hearing has led to the UK Government rolling out a plan to ban bots used by scalpers with an in-depth look into the ticketing industry, saying the committee found the session revealed “much more far-ranging and disturbing factors in the market”.

It was recently revealed that Robbie Williams’ management had put tickets directly onto secondary sites, and while they came under fire from Franceschi and the FanFair Alliance, there are still people who support the system and their choice.

US music journalist Bob Lefsetz took to his blog to break down the situation, stating: “It’s about time we faced reality and like any other business grew up and sold our wares at their full value. Like Robbie Williams.”

In the US, congress passed a ticket to ban bots in December, which was signed by Barack Obama.

“Ideally the same thing could happen in Australia very quickly,” Meharry said.

“We are not in favour of terms and conditions which restrict the consumer’s right.”

Live Performance Australia – a representative for venues, promoters, ticketing companies and more – is one group on the right track, looking to uphold an industry anti-scalping code of conduct in which those companies affiliated might need to soon sign.

As News.com.au, in 2014 LPA urged the Government to ban bots and monitor the resale market, with Senator Nick Xenophon also pushing to prohibit bots and tickets being resold for any more then 10%, but the motion was dismissed.

Through more lobbying, fan and industry outcry, it’s back on the table.

“I want to replicate the US laws to protect people from ticket scalpers,” Senator Xenophon told News.com.au in September.

Live Nation Italy came under fire last month after managing director Roberto de Luca confirmed in an interview he had sold some tickets directly to sites such as Viagogo, with Live Nation taking up to a 90% cut.

As a result, a number of Italian artists are severing their ties with the company, while official complaints have been filed to the public prosecutor of Milan against Live Nation Italy and new policies have been tabled that could slow the activities of some resale sites.

Scottish authorities have also said they will crack down on scalpers and the sites assisting them, with the Competition and Markets Authority set to begin investigating the issue.

While not appearing on Ticketmaster Resale, Adele tickets were listed for up to $4,000 on Viagogo in Australia, and of course, they don’t want to support legislation that will decrease their cut.

“It’s perfectly legal to resell a ticket. We believe once you’ve bought something – whether that’s a house, a car, or a ticket – it’s up to you what you do with it, and the vast majority of people agree with us,” Viagogo told The Music.

“We are not in favour of terms and conditions which restrict the consumer’s right to resell their tickets.”

“I’d like to see some investment and commitment from the major ticketing companies.”

Technological advances are also a means to reduce scalping, but still cause problems by disadvantaging those unable to gain access to said technologies. And at the end of the day, just like hackers, scalpers will eventually find a way around any new method of selling.

UK ticket seller DICE requires punters to install an app on their phone and make the purchase there. In theory, this sort of thing is great, but not everybody has access to smart phones.

Another UK seller, Gigantic, has made Twickets its official resale partner – a secondary selling against touting, supported by Adele, One Direction and more.

“I’d like to see some investment and commitment from the major ticketing companies into pursuing new technologies that can either slow down or eradicate scalpers but I also think the issue needs a deeper level of government involvement,” said Gudinski.

Chladil revealed that Oztix is working on its own resale facility, with a cap on how much tickets can be marked up.

“Resale should legitimately be available because there is a lot of reasons people buy tickets to a show and don’t go,” he said.

“What Oztix wants to do is let you sell the ticket, but we’re going to hold the money until the punter says, ‘Yeah, I successfully went to the show.’

“Ken West from Big Day Out had a great idea ten years ago – he wanted to have a resale facility for Big Day Out and the profits went to charity.”

Certain parts of the industry are trying to combat resale, but it seems the only real way for change to occur is if new legislation is passed. Perhaps the Norway method is the way to go – reselling tickets for profit is illegal, and as such, secondary selling doesn’t exist.

“There are cases – such as the AFL Grand Final – where scalping is essentially non-existent because the legislation is in place that prohibits it,” Gudinksi says.

“There is also some argument for scalping to be treated in similar terms to anti-piracy laws for music, television and film. Likewise, there is an argument that a body such as the ACCC should be involved, particularly for those cases where an individual has purchased tickets believing them to be as advertised, only to discover the reality is far different.

“We’ve had conversations with various bodies but ultimately the public also need to engage and stand up and complain to official bodies such as the ACCC when they believe they’ve been taken advantage of by the secondary market sellers…if you want to make a difference then you need to make an official complaint where it could make a difference.”

Of course, there’ll still be scalpers hocking tickets on classifieds like Gumtree and others if harsh laws are brought in but banning bots and regulating sites goes a long way.

“We are trying to curtail ‘industrial scale ticket touting’ and the first step is to make the activity illegal,” Meharry said. “Gumtree is owned by Ebay, and should ‘ticket reselling’ become illegal in the UK, and Ebay allow the practice to continue unchecked, then they would effectively being facilitating the contravention of an Act of Parliament. And that would not be wise, in my humble opinion.”

“That’s an option the majority of artists would not wish to take.”

There’s a far greater issue at play here due to industrial scale ticket touting.

“We are allowing billions to be syphoned out of the industry,” Meharry said. “Scalpers are not part of the creative economy and none of the money they make is going back into the creative economy. We risk making culture elite, with only the rich being able to afford to go to gigs.”

Ticketek also notes that promoters like Gudinksi, venues and more are losing out due to scalpers.

“Promoters, venues and primary ticketing agents who take all the risks and make big investments in live entertainment are left to see a scalper who takes no risk walking off with obscene profits.”

Gudsinksi has also noticed some artists getting fed up – they’re doing all the work and some scalpers are making more money off each ticket then they are.

“Recently a few artists have started to question whether if you can’t beat them you should perhaps just join them but I’m hoping that a better solution can be met before that starts to happen as I know that’s an option the majority of artists would not wish to take.”

Chladil believes we’ll see a rise in tickets on secondary sites unless the Government steps in.

“Something needs to be done about it. No one’s winning in the deal, except for people who have a lot of money to buy the tickets upfront.”

Live Nation Australia and eBay Australia would not comment for this story.

http://themusic.com.au/news/all/2017/01/16/top-aus-promoters-call-for-scalping-crackdown-while-resale-vendors-dodge-questions/