Radiohead, Robbie Williams and Arctic Monkeys joined calls yesterday for a levy to be added to tickets resold on the web to allow musicians to claw back some of the profits made by touts and fans.
The acts' managers, together with about 400 other artists, including KT Tunstall and the Verve, said the move was vital to bring some regulation and rigour to a market they described as "the wild west".
They proposed the creation of a Resale Rights Society, which would collect a fee from each ticket sold on eBay and other websites such as Seatwave, Viagogo and GetMeIn.com that have sprung up to satisfy the demand to trade concert tickets
They said the levy would help to ensure that money raised from the boom in live music flowed back into the industry rather than the pockets of venture capitalists.
With the increased demand for tickets, resale values have soared, fuelling a sizeable secondary market. According to the information service Tixdaq, the market is already worth around £200m a year in the UK. In October, £2m was spent on tickets for the Spice Girls alone.
Marc Marot, chairman-elect of the RRS and the former chief executive of Island Records, said the levy proposal was a "grown-up solution" to a "completely unregulated area".
"The secondary ticketing market offers benefits to music fans and the live music industry alike. It does not make sense to try and criminalise it," he said. "On the other hand there are real issues of consumer protection here. It is unacceptable that not a penny of the £200m in transactions generated by the resale of concert tickets in the UK is returned to investors in the live music industry."
Marot said the move was not intended to boost the bank balances of big names such as Mick Jagger and Sting but to help new artists who increasingly make less money from recorded music sales and rely on income from gigs to make a living.
As record sales have plummeted, the live scene has boomed in recent years with new artists and reformed supergroups playing to wider demographics in better quality venues. A Mintel report in July said the market was worth £743m a year.
But ticket websites have criticised the proposal, insisting they provide a legitimate service that merely reflects the market value of tickets and claiming that the new levy amounted to a tax on consumers.
Eric Baker, chief executive of Viagogo, said: "We don't understand the concept of taxing fans to buy tickets that have already been paid for.
"That someone who bought a Robbie Williams ticket should pay an additional tax to Robbie Williams if they resell the ticket is completely nonsensical.
"If I sell my Ford car, and have already paid for it, I don't have to pay Ford again when I sell it.
"A lot of people sell their tickets because they can no longer make the concert but wouldn't get a refund. So why should they pay for that?" Once a ticket had been bought, he added, its holder should be allowed to do what they wanted with it.
Joe Cohen, the founder and CEO of Seatwave, said his company had invested millions of pounds in building a "safe and transparent place for fans to buy and sell tickets" and would not welcome the creation of the RRS. "This is just a bunch of pigs at the trough," he said. "They see some money and they want it. Our focus is to bring prices down in the secondary market and all this does is raise prices for consumers while adding no value at all."
An eBay spokesperson said it would examine the detail of the proposals, adding that the majority of ticket sellers were genuine fans who could not make the gig. "We would question why a consumer should need a licence to resell a ticket that they have already paid for, particularly when in the overwhelming majority of cases they are denied a refund if they can't go. People are already concerned about the booking fees they pay in the primary market and it is not clear why they would be willing to pay even more to event promoters."
But Marot said RRS-affiliated sites would provide protection to buyers if tickets were fake or missold, or if concerts were cancelled, which was currently only offered by a small proportion of the estimated 240 exchange sites.
He said websites signing up to the plans would be obliged to offer such guarantees and if an artist opted out of having their tickets resold, they would have to respect their wishes.
Participating websites would be awarded a kitemark and receive the backing of artists, promoters and management in promoting the sites. But they would refuse to cooperate with those who didn't and would also examine several avenues for possible legal action. The group is also believed to be in discussions with ticketing giants such as Ticketmaster about helping them launch RRS-endorsed secondary ticketing sites.
The culture, media and sport select committee is due to deliver its report on secondary ticketing in the coming weeks. Detailed negotiations over the size of the proposed levy will begin in the new year.
Explainer: The eBay factor
The rise of eBay as a ticket touts' dream was perhaps inevitable: the auction site now has an estimated 14.5 million users in the UK and more than 10m listings at any one time.
Counterfeiters and ticket touts can reach a larger audience than ever before and you can be sure that whenever a big event is looming, eBay will be loaded with tickets for sale.
That is why event organisers are coming up with increasingly inventive ways to try to beat the ticket resellers.
The over-subscribed Glastonbury festival targeted eBay users as part of its crackdown last summer.
Even though "tout-proof" tickets included images of the buyers, some were up for auction on the site to "bidders with a strong resemblance". Glastonbury organisers matched bidders with details given in the ticket registration process, asked them to withdraw their bids and said they would not be admitted to the festival.
Yesterday, eBay was listing pages of tickets for the Spice Girls reunion tour in January, most asking upwards of £100 for tickets that cost £55-£75. Led Zeppelin's one-off reunion next week is even more in demand; tickets that were originally sold for £125 through a lottery draw are now on offer for up to £1,000, though organisers are insisting that fans won't be allowed into the gig if the ticket holder's name doesn't match the card that paid for the ticket.
eBay has made few concessions to event organisers, pointing out that reselling tickets is not illegal and saying that under the terms of the site, sellers are required to list the original ticket value. But the site was forced to back down in June 2005 when free tickets for the Live 8 concert started appearing on the site. Organiser Bob Geldof and then creative industries minister, James Purnell, both publicly condemned the sales, forcing eBay to relent and remove tickets from the site.Jemima Kiss and Mark Sweney