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Live Nation Dumps Ticketmaster

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If you are a reader here, you know my vehemence towards Ticketmaster. It's nothing newsworthy, everyone hates them. The good news is that Ticketmaster hasn't just been screwing you and your hot wife, they have been angering the vendors as well. Last year, universities starting turning away from Ticketmaster because of the exorbitant fees. Ticketmaster didn't care, because they had the grand enchilada of monopolies — the concert industry.

See, Ticketmaster had an exclusive contract with 'Live Nation'. What is Live Nation? They are Clear Channel. Yeah, they are the ones who own all the venues and radio stations. With the two teamed together against consumers, 'convenience charges' were hitting up to 40% of face value. Apparently, I am not the only one who stopped leaving the house because it was too expensive. Live Nation announced yesterday that they are dropping Ticketmaster.

This is HUGE and good and joyful news. Does it mean savings to the consumer, probably not. Still, I want Ticketmaster to suffer deeply. For too long, they took advantage of consumers, bullied artists, and tore apart fan clubs. How so? In the old days, a band could sell their own concert tickets to their fans. Crazy, huh? The Grateful Dead pioneered the mail order ticket business. Ticketmaster changed that, and wanted a cut. They also decided how many tickets a band could sell to it's own base. Ask the guys from String Cheese Incident about that little gem and the multi year lawsuit.

Seriously, you could not make up how evil they were. For example, Ticketbastard now lets you print your own tickets right at home. It saves them shipping, toner, and ticketstock paper. So, do you get a discount for using all of your own supplies? NOPE. They actually charge you $2.50 for the privilege. I can't wait to watch them go under and die a horrible, painful, and long death. I won't be satisfied until they come out and say "It's true, we took advantage of consumers and we are sorry. We paid the price, and accept the consequence of our actions."

I know, I'll hear that about as soon as I hear this administration apologize. Since Live Nation will now monopolize every aspect of the business, one can only hope they will pass on a modicum of the savings to us.

Let's have some fun and assess Ticketbastard's level of evil. Billy Joel is playing Denver next month. I would totally go if tickets were $50. Well, they started that way. A ticket that is face value at $29 becomes $46 after fees. That is more than 50% service charge. See for yourself, cut and pasted right from their site: Type: 2 Full price tickets, Ticket Price: US $29.50 x 2, Convenience Charge:  US $11.05 x 2 Building Facility Charge:  US $4.00 x 2

That $29.50 ticket is now $44.55 before tax. Man, that sure is super convenient. Oh, and it costs $20 to park at Pepsi Center, so I am not quite sure what that facility fee is. So, Ticketmaster will eat their just rewards soon enough.

One thing in closing, to our new masters at Live Nation, please stagger ticket onsales! We had a Saturday morning in Denver in the fall when almost a million tickets went on sale simultaneously (Broncos game, Rockies game, Rapids game, and several concerts). As always, the geniuses at Ticketbastard put everything onsale at 10 am. Assholes!

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About Lono

  • http://drumsofwar.org DRUMS of WAR

    Live Nation is not Clear Channel. People from Clear Channel left and formed Live Nation. They were never the same company.

  • alan

    LiveNation has just switched ticketing companies in order to gain more control over their ticket sales. Its far too early to tell if this new arrangement will be beneficial to concert goers.

  • http://www.iamcorrrect.com lono

    indeed, it could be that Live Nation worsens the problem… if that is possible. Hopefully, they will learn some business and consumer lessons from twenty years of TM’s monopoly.

    My chief concerns are these:

    Why does a $200 ticket get a $60 fee and a $20 ticket has a $7 fee. Is not the exact same technology and software for each ticket. The paper and ink cost the same. I would like to see this:

    a fixed price per ticket
    stagger ticket onsales in the markets

  • victor

    I know this is a very old post, but i just wanted to chime in. (A) there is no tax on live entertainment in CO. (B)there is no ink or toner involved. For the security of the consumer, thermal tickets and thermal printers are used. These are not cheap. (C) The ticket scanners, box office equipment, staffing at venues…this is not free, it costs money…which is where the charges come into play. You want to buy tickets online? The technology used wasn’t free to invent or produce. Go to any retail store, try and buy something and tell the clerk you want to pay what it actually cost to make that item. They will laugh right in your face. A ticket may have cost less than a dollar to physically produce, but if there is no mark up (just like retail) then all the people who made it possible to create that ticket cannot put food on the table.

  • http://www.iamcorrect.com lono

    Victor,

    That is an absolutely solid point, and I appreciate your feedback. Indeed, they are a for profit business and absolutely deserve to make money. Putting the monopoly issues aside, though… here is a big beef I have with TM:

    A $100 ticket has $40 in fees. Yet, a 40$ ticket would only have a $15. It’s a percentage. How about a flat fee.

  • john

    Live Nation changed its name from Clear Channel Entertainment in 2005, when that name was provoking frothing at the mouth.

  • http://www.iamcorrect.com Lono

    bonus news: we recently learned that Live Nation did NOT drop service charges. In fact, according to a report Rolling Stone ran, Live Nation had HIGHER service fees.

    Think it couldn’t get worse? think again, the two are merging in an official ‘fuck you’ to the free market.

    Clear Channel, Ticketmaster, Jacor, Live Nation… call them whatever you want. You can go ahead and call Phillip Morris Altria. A turd is still a turd no matter what you call it.

    I do my complaining the only way I can, with my dollar. I don’t go to concerts much anymore.

  • http://www.IamCorrect.com Lono

    Ok, a few more quick updates. Live Nation did not drop ticketmaster. Also, they did not drop service fees. They just roll them into the ticket. An example is when TM announced they were doing ‘no service fee August’ for Denver lawn shows. The day before they announced that, they doubled the price on lawn seats. I have it documented, I have the tickets. So, that is one little gem.

    Second update is this > scalping has gotten REALLY bad again. tickets are getting gobbled up before the general public gets a chance. I watched a 20,000 seat venue sell out in under 30 seconds. How are they doing it? well, the scalpers have computer ‘bots’ that can read those stupid crypto things they make you translate to prove you are a human.

    BUT… that isn’t why i bring this up at all. i bring this up because bands are changing policies to allow fans to get tickets. They are making shows ‘will call only’. The Pumpkins and Pearl Jam pioneered it years ago. it is a logistical nightmare to execute, but removes the scalper incentive.

    EXCEPT – companies like stub hub and ticketmaster’s live auction re-selling site have having LAWS passed making it illegal. Read that again. An example is that if you are Lady Gaga and you want to make your show will call only (show your ID at the door, done to eliminate scalping and reselling) it is ILLEGAL to do in Utah.

    There is so much more going on with this, but I wanted to document the most recent egregious anti-trust gems from them.

    For fun, I started a Facebook campaign called ‘stop ticketmaster’s 100% service fees‘. To be fair, though, many service fees are now at 150%. $10 lawn seats at your local shed (wherever motley crue and foreigner play) carry $15 in fees. So, your $10 lawn seat is $25.

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