Ed Sheeran’s manager admits to selling UK tickets to secondary market
As fans who had their tickets to Ed Sheeran‘s current 18-date UK tour cancelled vent their fury and frustration on social media, the singer-songwriter and his people have explained that they were not trying to “stitch up” anyone, but to teach reseller platforms a lesson.
“Fans will benefit in the long run,” Sheeran insisted at their hard stance.
Sheeran and his people warned that when the tickets went on sale, any tickets bought from Viagogo would be made void. True to their word, they cancelled 10,000 such tickets.
500 fans were refused entry to the tour’s opening show last Saturday (May 26) at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium.
They had to buy new tickets for £80 (AU$140.65) each – including a most disgruntled woman who had already paid £400 ($703.25) for two tickets.
In the midst of this furore, both Sheeran’s manager Stuart Camp and his UK promoter Stuart Galbraith of Kilimanjaro Live have had to reveal that they did use a ticket re-broker on a past tour -a thundering admission that music industry figures have been selling directly to secondary sites, damning them in no uncertain terms.
The admissions were sparked after a Twitter account called @Ticket_Leaks – set up after Sheeran’s ticket crusade – posted on Sunday May 27 what it claimed were copies of invoices which proved music executives are dealing directly with the enemy.
One of these suggested that Kilimanjaro Live executive Clancy Sheriffs sold 600 London Wembley tickets in 2015 to a reseller.
Kilimanjaro responded: “There is no story here. Clancy was working under company instructions when he legitimately allocated tickets to Ticket Queen, who we had used for several years as a primary seller.
“These tickets were allocated in good faith to be sold at face-value in the same way we do for ticket agents at all our shows.
“In 2016 we learned that Ticket Queen were acting as touts and we have refused to work with them since.
“We discovered they had bought 180 tickets using a bot, so we cancelled them.”
Ticket Queen’s holding page simply lists a phone number and email address.
But its sole owner Maria Chenery-Woods has been called “a big player” in the resale market by The Guardian, while the Mirror described her as “among the biggest resellers at GetMeIn,” a Ticketmaster-owned resale site.
Eyebrows were raised at Kilimanjaro Live’s explanation.
“So someone could just ring and ask for 500 tickets and you would give them to them, no questions asked?” one commented on social media.
“No due diligence? No[t] even a cursory glimpse at their website to see if they were a secondary seller? Is that what you’re saying?”
The anonymous @Ticket_Leaks followed up a few days later with more similar posts.
One alleged that the company Ticket Factory sold 236 Sheeran tickets to a reseller, and 150 to a Queen show.
Ticket Factory has refused to comment.
But Stuart Camp sent a message to Billboard: “A few years ago [Maria Chenery-Woods] was presented as a legit seller.
“Found out later it was a bad practice and ceased and blacklisted [her].”
He added this took place “all before this album [and] tour.”
It is doubtful that anything major will emerge from this.
But it embarrasses those music industry executives who’ve gone to the media and parliamentary committees damning the activities of the sites, when they were, in fact, supping with the devil.
In the meantime, Sheeran-mania dominates the British Isles.
In Ireland, he set a new record for an artist selling the most amount of tickets in a single day (300,000).
This week, the ÷ (Divide) album went past the three million mark after 15 months and sliding in as 15th biggest seller of all time in the UK (and counting).