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Rocker Wins Round As Ebay Scraps 'live 8' Tickets


Active Member
Sep 10, 2004
LONDON -- Irish rocker Bob Geldof was hoping for global harmony when he organized a benefit concert series for this summer featuring some of rock's biggest names, including Paul McCartney, U2, Coldplay, and REM, to raise awareness about the ravages of poverty and AIDS in Africa.

But ''Live 8" has lurched from one discordant controversy to another. Yesterday, Geldof assailed the online auction house eBay for ''sick profiteering" by allowing those who had won the tickets in an online raffle to resell them. Center-stage seats at the concert in London's Hyde Park were going for up to $2,000 a pair.

Geldof won that skirmish when California-based eBay agreed late yesterday to pull the concert ticket sales from the website, after initially refusing to do so on grounds that there was nothing illegal about the sales. More than 400 e-mail messages offering tickets for sale began disappearing from the British eBay site at about 7:30 p.m. local time.

But the concert series, which kicks off July 2 in London's Hyde Park, remains mired in squabbling and complaints, some aimed at Geldof. Far from achieving the kind of success he built in mounting the Live Aid concert for Africa 20 years ago, this time Geldof has hit a series of sour notes -- over the absence of major black African acts among the performers, and charges of exploitation and paternalism.

Live 8 is intended to pressure the Group of Eight, which includes the seven wealthiest industrialized nations in the world plus Russia, to do more to combat poverty in Africa when the G8's leaders gather for an annual summit July 6-8 in Scotland.

Other concert venues include Scotland, Rome, Paris, Berlin, and Philadelphia. The lineup features many of the Western world's top music acts, ranging from Madonna to R&B star Ms. Dynamite, Stevie Wonder, and rapper Snoop Dogg. The rock group Pink Floyd announced it would perform in its classic lineup for the first time in 24 years.

Tickets for the London show were raffled in a text-messaging auction sponsored by Britain's largest mobile phone company, O2, which charged approximately $3 for each raffle ticket.

Event organizers say there were an estimated 2 million text-message purchases, generating approximately $6 million to cover the cost of the concert with the remainder going to a series of trusts which fund a host of charities working in Africa.