They have already cut out record companies by selling music direct to fans. Now Radiohead are taking a stand against the inflated prices that fans are forced to pay for live concerts by launching their own "ethical" ticket exchange.
A Channel 4 Dispatches investigation revealed how thousands of tickets for popular shows are sold for huge profits through the secondary ticket market before fans have even had a chance to buy them at face value.
After discovering that fans were paying up to $1,000 (£630) to see them on their recent US tour, Radiohead have announced that concert-goers will be able to exchange tickets at close to cost price for their forthcoming UK tour through a Ticket Trust. Ticket holders who need to legitimately return unwanted tickets will register them on the site and then send the tickets to the Trust for verification. The tickets will be sold on at the normal ticket price, plus a handling fee, capped at a maximum of 10 per cent, payable by the buyer.
On purchase, the tickets will then be either dispatched securely or held at the event box office for the buyer, with the seller being credited the full ticket price to their bank account.
Only authentic tickets will be used by the service and counterfeit tickets will be intercepted and confiscated, helping to protect against fraud.
But to prevent profiteers buying up tickets purely to sell on, Radiohead will limit ticket sales via its fan club to two tickets per purchase, with names registered and photo ID required for entry. The Ticket Trust has been created by the Association of Independent Festivals in partnership with Sandbag, an ethical merchandise company that produces Fairtrade-branded clothing for Radiohead.
Chris Hufford of Courtyard Management, the band's managers, said: "Radiohead are fortunate enough to have a loyal and passionate fan base. In recent years , however, the band's enjoyment of their own shows has been marred by the knowledge that many of their fans have been obliged to pay well over face value for their tickets. Secondary ticketing is wrong on so many levels and as management, with ultimate responsibility for the welfare of the band, we must ensure that their fans are treated fairly."
Festival tickets will also be listed through the Ticket Trust, including Bestival, Camp Bestival, Creamfields, Secret Garden Party and The Eden Sessions held in St Austell, Cornwall.
Christiaan Munro, Sandbag director, said: "The Trust sprang out of our hatred of touting, whether it's by corporations or fans who buy tickets to sell them at huge mark-ups to other fans. It's immoral. We hope more artists will come on board and support our cause."
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The Dispatches investigation found that the promoters of concerts by Take That and Coldplay allocated thousands of tickets directly to reselling websites such as Viagogo to be sold well above face value. The secondary sites claim they exist as a secure environment for fans to trade tickets they cannot use.
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