IU fan ‘tears’ while trying to get a ticket… What happens to a ticket that goes up to 5 million won (linked rumor) – Korea Economic Daily VRESP

Singer IU / Photo = Provided by EDAM Entertainment

Singer IU / Photo = Provided by EDAM Entertainment

The music and performance industry has declared war on ticket scalpers. They are actively working to eradicate ticket fraud by introducing a ‘secret inspector’ system that reports illegal transactions when they are observed. However, as fans are unintentionally harmed, the spark spreads to the artist.

Recently, controversy arose when Mr. A, who joined IU’s official fan club, claimed that he could not see the performance due to being suspected of ticket fraud.

According to what has been confirmed so far, Mr. A reserved the ticket using his own account, and his friend deposited the amount for the ticket on his behalf. Although it was not a ticket scalper transaction, suspicion was raised because of a post posted by Mr. A on X (formerly Twitter). He posted an image showing the performance date, area, and seat number along with the caption, “I was a mercenary for my friend IU’s concert, and I was proud to get a good seat.”

People who saw the post reported Mr. A, and Mr. A received an email from Melon Ticket informing him of suspected fraudulent transactions. IU’s agency, Edam Entertainment, explained that the word ‘mercenary’ goes beyond simply helping with ticketing and is a keyword that is classified as suspicious of ‘proxy ticketing.’

In the end, in order to prove that it was not a fraudulent transaction, Mr. A sent various documents, including his ID card, ticket deposit details, official fan club card, and conversation with a friend who helped him buy tickets, and received a call that he could attend the performance. However, on the day of the performance, the on-site staff asked for additional identity verification, and although I responded on the spot with a public certificate, I was ultimately not allowed entry and was even permanently expelled from the fan club. Mr. A has applied for relief from the Korea Consumer Agency.

Some are pointing out the strict ticket reservation process and identity verification process, saying, “If you’re trying to catch tickets, you’re trying to catch fans.” Even fans who purchase tickets legally have to endure various inconveniences.

For example, limiting reservations to one per person is also discussed to prevent multiple tickets being obtained and resold. For performances targeting audiences on the 5060th floor, who are unfamiliar with the online reservation system and require assistance from agents, the range is somewhat more relaxed, with 2 tickets per person for Lim Young-woong and 4 tickets per person for Na Hoon-a, while for idol concerts, 1 ticket per person is fixed.

It also became a hot topic when a parent, who had to send his child to IU’s concert alone, sent a handwritten letter to his child with concern, saying, “I had no choice but to send my child alone because one seat per person was reserved.” .

A parent who wrote a letter asking for understanding from the audience sitting next to him, saying that he had to send his child to the concert alone due to the 'one ticket per person' limit / Photo = Online community

A parent who wrote a letter asking for understanding from the audience sitting next to him, saying that he had to send his child to the concert alone due to the ‘one ticket per person’ limit / Photo = Online community

However, the reality of the industry is that it cannot be ignored. According to the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission’s analysis of the civil complaint information analysis system, over the past five years, a total of 549 complaints regarding ticket scalping have been steadily increasing. In particular, as demand for performances explodes after the COVID-19 pandemic, ticket scalpers are also on the rise. During the COVID-19 period, complaints related to ticket scalping, which were 43 and 41 cases in 2020 and 2021, respectively, exploded to 136 and 192 cases in 2022 and 2023.

Last year, the price of tickets for Lim Young-woong’s concert soared to 5 million won, and tickets for Na Hoon-ah’s concert starting at the end of this month are being sold for 300,000 won, about twice the regular price, although the most expensive seat is 165,000 won. From cases of reselling individually purchased tickets to business operators who engage in large-scale illegal transactions using macro (automatic input repetition) programs, the ‘insubstantial’ dark hand that takes unfair advantage in the middle is directed at countless fans.

It seems like the fans’ feelings are helplessly falling apart. As the number of middle-aged audiences increases along with the popularity of trot as well as idol fandom, so-called ‘unfilial people who failed to buy tickets’ are increasingly using second-hand trading platforms.

Mr. B, an office worker who failed to get a ticket for Na Hoon-a’s concert, said, “My parents really wanted to go, so I tried to send them to the concert somehow, but I failed at everything, including canceling ticket reservations. Since this is my retirement concert, I’m thinking about paying more to get tickets.” It was said.

Mr. C, whose mother is a fan of Lim Young-woong, also said, “When friends get together, they say, ‘It’s hard to be filial.’ I failed to buy tickets last year, but after reading reviews showing high satisfaction, I thought I should definitely send them to my quick-handed friend. “I’m begging you, and if that doesn’t work, I feel like buying a scalper,” he said.

Singers Na Hoon-ah and Lim Young-woong / Photo = Provided by each agency

Singers Na Hoon-ah and Lim Young-woong / Photo = Provided by each agency

The scalper market, fueled by fan sentiment, has expanded in size over the past few years by taking advantage of the loophole that punishment standards are limited to offline.

Accordingly, starting last month, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has banned illegal sales practices such as purchasing performance tickets and admission tickets using macro programs and then reselling them for a higher price. Violators will be subject to imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to 10 million won. The ‘Performance Act’ was revised.

However, it is also not easy to prove that a macro program was used, and there is no other way to detect individual illegal transactions other than monitoring them one by one, raising questions about their effectiveness. In fact, even after the revision of the Performance Act, scalped tickets for Na Hoon-a’s concerts are being resold in droves.

Once again, it is up to the artists and agencies to capture individual transactions, and depending on the method, there is a possibility that various side effects may occur, as in the IU case. A music industry official said, “This is a situation where fans, artists, entertainment companies, and even the performance industry are all suffering damage.” He added, “It is difficult for entertainment companies to make exceptions to the increasingly sophisticated ticket trading, so it is difficult to respond flexibly, and in the process, fans have to endure complicated procedures.” “It has to be done,” he pointed out.

He added, “The ‘secret inspector’ system was created by the agency itself to protect fans, but I am worried that efforts to eradicate ticket scalpers will be discouraged as side effects appear.”

Another performance official said, “The system created to reduce ticket scalping causes inconvenience, but if there is no barrier, the situation will get out of hand.” “I think it is necessary to establish an effective legal mechanism appropriate for the changed online-centered environment,” he said.

There is also a view that the reservation method must be fundamentally changed. The so-called ‘first-come-first-served culture’, in which tickets are purchased all at once according to the opening time to secure seats, is said to further activate the ticket market. Accordingly, the ‘lottery system’ is being discussed as an alternative.

However, this also appears to require various discussions with the industry. Hive, a music agency that includes BTS and Seventeen, has already introduced a lottery system, but since it is not possible to reserve seats by designating seats, there have been complaints from fans about visibility after the lottery.

First, the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission decided to review the application of the lottery system. Min Seong-sim, director of the Rights Improvement Policy Department of the Civil Rights Commission, said, “The increase in ticket prices due to ticket scalping deprives the general public, who are actual consumers, of viewing opportunities and is a factor that hinders the growth of the cultural and sports industry in the long term.” “We will seek reasonable solutions to ban it,” he said.

Kim Soo-young, Hankyung.com reporter [email protected]

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