Posted in industry | music on February 9, 2009

God Listens to Slayer

If the prospect of a single company mounting a Guns n' Madonna tour worries you, it also concerns some in the business. Via e-mail, Tom Morello, the guitarist in Rage Against the Machine, told me that a Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger could have huge consequences.

"Fewer and fewer gatekeepers mean fewer choices and higher prices for fans," he wrote. "One huge monolith means no choice at all. Fans and artists must develop some organized counterweight quickly or resign themselves to their fate." [David Carr, NY Times]

NY Senator Chuck Schumer not only agrees with Tom, he has now joined the fight against Ticketmaster started by angry Bruce Springsteen fans...
"Fans who thought they were going to 'The Promised Land' of Springsteen found themselves in the 'Badlands' of ticket scalpers," Schumer said. The senator added that he wants to put the brakes on Ticketmaster's proposed merger with Live Nation, the nation's largest concert promoter. [Newsday]
NJ's Star Ledger newspaper hasn't forgotten yet either. Today's paper has an article entitled "More music fans claim scalpings by Ticketmaster". In it they talk to people who have come forward with similar claims of Ticketmaster-to-TicketsNow trickery.

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Comments (24)

R.A.T.M.

Rage Against TicketMaster!

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:15 AM

Hey all -

If you're looking for comprehensive coverage of the Live Nation Ticketmaster merger, head on over to Satan's Box Office...

http://jamtopia.com/blog/satans-box-office/

It's updated daily with information and analysis plus more links than you can shake a pitchfork at.

Take care,
TL

Posted by Todd Levy | February 9, 2009 11:17 AM

Fuck both of them.

I hope that not only does the merger get blocked by the govt but they also examine the business practices of both companies.

On Saturday, I wanted to buy Franz Ferdinand tickets for the Roseland show. Tickets went on sale at 10 AM, so I went down to the Irving Plaza box office...they were closed and didn't have a sign up with their hours. SO I had to call and find out from their recording that th box office opens at 1 on Saturday.

They have a 10 AM on sale and no opportunity to go to a box office until 3 hrs later???

So I go home and check their site for tickets. $12.50 service charge per ticket on a $32.50 ticket. 38.5% extra in service charges? Fuck that, I'm not paying.

I patiently wait until 1 PM and then head back down to the Irving Plaza box office. The guy in the box office tells me $75 for two tickets ($37.50 each).

I say, "aren't they $32.50"? He says that he is really sorry but there is a $5.00 fee because I am buying them at Irving and not Roseland.

I counter with "well there is no box office at Roseland". He apologizes to me and says how much he hates working for the company, if the economy was good he would quit and get a new job. He acknowledged that it is a complete and total rip off but there was nothing he could do.

So Live Nation advertises tickets for $32.50 but THERE IS NO WAY TO PURCHASE A $32.50 ticket.

How the fuck is this legal?

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:23 AM

^ Amen. That should be a letter to the editor of the NY times.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 11:54 AM

frankly, if the inquiry is limited to ticketsnow, it's a failure. they have been ripping us off for years, and selling to brokers large percentages of tickets for sought-after events before public on-sale. write your congresspeople and senators, everyone.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:07 PM

thanks Chuck, where were you when NYS was gutting its ticket scalping laws?

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:13 PM

hey, worry about something important like the war. Who cares what Ticketmaster and Live Nation do. Stay home if you don't like it.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:16 PM

That Roseland/Irving story is infuriating. At least the guy behind the counter confessed his disdain of administering those policies.

That's always been the thing that really gets to me-- that most box offices don't open until well after the on-line sales start. And there are actually some box offices that won't/can't start selling tickets until a FEW DAYS after the start of the Internet sale (let alone a few hours), even if they're open at the same time! I know MSG/Radio City is like this. I remember having to get tickets on-line for a show at the Beacon Theater & paying all those service charges... even though I live around the corner from the venue. It's totally a way for them to force you to buy tickets on-line & pay all the "convenience charges."

I didn't know about that $5 fee for Irving Plaza though. I've done that a few times too-- bought tickets at the Irving Plaza box office for shows at Hammerstein or Roseland (b/c they don't have box offices, ridiculously)-- & was probably charged that $5 without even knowing it. What a scam. It doesn't pay to live near the box offices anymore.

This is an outrage. We really should write an editorial to the Times or something!

Posted by MP | February 9, 2009 12:23 PM

that guy behind the counter, you're fired!

Posted by irving plaza mgmt. | February 9, 2009 12:35 PM

The $5 service fee pays the guys salary working the box office, dorks.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:43 PM

i think more interesting part of the article is the second part, about musicians taking donations over the net to raise money, and it seems like its a good way to raise money.

I dont know about rest of you guys, but Id have no problem donating few bucks to my favorite band from time to time.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:43 PM

^^^that's bullshit. they probably make like 10 bucks an hour at the most. definitely sell more than 2 tickets an hour.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 12:44 PM

I'm the guy who posted the Irving Plaza story.

Just to clarify a few things.

1. They do not charge $5 extra for Irving Plaza tickets, I asked the box office guy about that. $5 extra only applies to Roseland and & Blender tickets because you are not buying the tickets at the box office of that particular venue, despite the fact that neither venue operates an advanced box office.

2. To the idiot at 12:43. The $5 fee does not pay for the box office worker. The $5 is a price gauge. When you go buy something at a Duane Reade, they do not tack on a service charge to pay for the cashier's salary.

Besides, as 12:44 pointed out, they will most certainly take in more in BS fees than they will have to pay in salary.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 1:15 PM

Fees exist because promoters can't make ends meet with the scraps that bands leave for them. Live Nation makes all their dough on sponsors and selling us $14 beers - the bands take all the ticket income. It doesn't cost anything to go to some local shack of a club and buy tickets direct from them because they're mostly putting on cheaper bands with no overhead/big staff.

It's the world we live in, it totally blows, but there's no going back. Until Tom Morello agrees to play concerts for 2/3 what he's been making, of course.

Oh, anyone else think the Ticketsnow.com banner ad at the bottom of this page is super awesome?!

Posted by Sammy | February 9, 2009 2:40 PM

^ What scraps? If Live Nation charges a $12 fee on a $32 ticket, plus makes money on concessions, they're making a LOT more than the band (who has overhead of their own, ie travel costs, staff, etc.).

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 2:56 PM

Cellophane fucking fallacy.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 3:10 PM

Tom Morello eats at Two Boots!

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 3:20 PM

Artists should sell tickets directly. Get rid of 3rd party ticketing agencies. We are bright enough as a species to launch men into outer space. Let's devise away to screw ticketmaster for all the years of screwing us, the music loving consumer.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 3:29 PM

Live Nation takes around 30% of the gross

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 3:50 PM

Live Nation wacks us with around 30% convenience charges

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 3:51 PM

"Fees exist because promoters can't make ends meet with the scraps that bands leave for them."

What are you talking about? Ticketmaster isn't a "promoter" at all. They're a ticket-selling service.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 4:07 PM

fuck ticketmaster and livenation. there should be box offices and no fees.

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 6:10 PM

what would jesus do?

Posted by Anonymous | February 9, 2009 10:56 PM

Tom Morello - regardless of who's handling ticket sales, we need a huge RATM tour announcement !!

Posted by RAGE FAN | February 11, 2009 10:39 PM

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