Iron Maiden clamps down on ticket touts and counterfeiters

Heavy metal band Iron Maiden has a new European tour coming up, and are determined to stop counterfeiters and ticket resellers causing problems for their fans.

The group has unveiled a series of measures - including paperless ticketing - in a bid to disrupt the activity of ticket touts.

The aim is to make it harder for counterfeiters to foist fake tickets on unwary buyers and also to avoid the widely-reviled but legal practice in which someone can buy dozens of tickets for a show at the ticket price, and then promptly resell them through third-party websites at a massive mark-up.

"We do not want our fans being ripped off either by counterfeit tickets or through costly mark-ups on so-called secondary ticketing websites," said Iron Maiden's manager Rod Smallwood in a statement.

These problems now affect the UK more than any other country outside of the US, he continued, adding that paperless ticketing "proved highly successful in reducing piracy at our previous London shows in 2013 and on our North American tours since 2010."

Other measures being implemented include a cap on ticket sales to four per person per show, named tickets where it is not possible to use paperless and ID checks and a dedicated team to monitor ticket sales in real-time "to ensure that ticket limits are being imposed and all suspicious activity is reported and investigated."

Iron Maiden's management said it is important to be aware of criminals and their methods to infiltrate ticket sales, as well as having "the conviction to retrospectively cancel their inventory." It is particularly watchful for automated bots and multiple card efforts which are used to garner large numbers of tickets.

Using paperless tickets is becoming increasingly common for events as it makes it harder to penetrate the ticket supply chain. Of course it also deprives vendors of physical authentication technologies - such as holograms, inks/dyes and on-ticket coding - of a commercial opportunity.

The global anti-counterfeit packaging market for security document and event ticketing was worth around $22.8bn in 2014 and is predicted to swell to $38.3bn by 2020, rising around 9.5 per cent a year, according to Allied Market Research.

At the moment the market is dominated by inks/dyes and holograms - with a market share of more than 90 per cent - although AMR expects track-and-trace technologies such as serialized barcodes and radiofrequency identification (RFID) tags to quickly gain market share over the period.

Technology aside, Nigel Adams MP, chair of the UK's All Party Parliamentary Group on Music, congratulated Iron Maiden for taking "a principled position and standing up for music fans."

"I'd like to think the whole industry can learn from this initiative and use technology to put a stop to the industrial level of touting that has been a blight on the live music industry for so long," he added.

Iron Maiden's tour dates are available here. To whet your appetite, here's just a taste of what lucky gig-goers will enjoy!

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