Thursday, October 18, 2007

Transfer of Led Zeppelin reunion passcodes may not hinder anyone, after all

After more than two weeks of being led to believe otherwise, anyone who has purchased a ticket to Led Zeppelin's Nov. 26 reunion concert through Ticketmaster will be allowed to go.

The ticket retailer's U.K. subsidiary has today begun responding to complaints it received earlier this month in light of comments made by concert promoter Harvey Goldsmith.

After winning entrants in the lottery to obtain tickets were notified, some people began listing passcodes for sale on eBay and other online auction sites. This prompted Goldsmith to fire back in a press release on Oct. 2: "Please note that unless the ticket, the code and correct identification match, those tickets will be invalid."

He reiterated his statement several times throughout the month in various media appearances and also put it in writing again on Oct. 4, e-mailing winning entrants: "If you have sold or have given away your passcode whomever you have sold / given it to will be denied entry into the concert."

To the contrary, Ticketmaster is apparently now indicating that tickets purchased through their Web site using passcodes will indeed be honored. Led Zeppelin fans who bought passcodes in eBay auctions now report that Ticketmaster has notified them that the tickets are valid after all.

"The promoter of this event (Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund) has instructed us to inform you of the following, which only applies to tickets purchased using passcodes issued on 1st October 2007," the e-mail from Ticketmaster reads. "Bookings will be validated even if the name on the credit card details used to purchase the tickets does not match the corresponding passcode issued to the ballot winner."

Ticketmaster has apparently determined that the transfer of those passcodes was not against its policies. However, the company distinguishes between the sale of passcodes to obtain tickets and the tickets themselves.

The retailer's e-mail to the eBay passcode purchaser reads, "Ticketmaster would like to remind you that, under our standard terms and conditions, tickets purchased from us for this event are for personal use only and may not be resold or offered for resale, and we reserve the right to invalidate any tickets that are or have been the subject of any resale or attempted resale."

The form letter in which entrants of the ballot were notified on Oct. 1 that they had won states: "The original conditions of sale will be enforced. These tickets are non-transferable and any resale will void the transaction without refund."

As recently as Oct. 16, Goldsmith defended his position in a news segment broadcast by the BBC that the passcodes were not transferable.

"It says the tickets aren't transferable when you get your passcode," he said in the televised interview (see above). "Presumably, to anyone with a brain, that means the passcode's not transferable."

Goldsmith stipulated on Oct. 2 that names and addresses of ticket purchasers must match up with those of the ballot winners. This statement was first made one day after passcodes had been issued to winning entrants in the lottery. By that time, a number of people had bought passcodes offered on eBay and used those passcodes to purchase tickets from Ticketmaster.

A second round of the ticket ballot is said to be nearing, allowing more winners to be given passcodes to purchase tickets to the Led Zeppelin reunion at the Ertegün tribute concert. It is currently unclear whether or not passcodes issued in the second round will be transferable.

Goldsmith has said he intended for these rules to shut out scalpers from profiting from the concert. "We're not interested in that bunch of gangs of people who are doing this professionally, who are trying to profiteer out of the business," Goldsmith told the BBC.

The concert benefits the Ahmet Ertegün Education Foundation, a U.K. charity set up to "provide students with annual scholarships to universities in the UK, USA and Turkey," according to an official press release. "In addition, a music scholarship open to all will beestablished at Ravensbourne College in the UK."

Goldsmith serves on the board of the charity, along with Mica Ertegün, Ahmet's surviving wife; Bill Curbishley, who manages Robert Plant and Jimmy Page; Phil Carson, who was chief of Atlantic Records in the United Kingdom during the Led Zeppelin days; and film director Taylor Hackford.

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