Posted in industry | music on May 1, 2009

"Barry Diller is currently the Chairman of Expedia and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IAC/InterActiveCorp, an interactive commerce conglomerate and the parent of companies including ServiceMagic, Home Shopping Network, Ticketmaster,, Citysearch, LendingTree and Connected Ventures, home of Vimeo and CollegeHumor." [Wikipedia]

Barry Diller

Read what Barry Diller thinks about Ticketmaster service charges and the Live Nation merger, below...


USA TODAY: Live Nation is the country's largest owner of arenas. Ticketmaster is the largest ticketing company and has deals with several stars. Why shouldn't we be nervous about seeing them get together?

BARRY DILLER: Well, you can be nervous all you wish. It sounds awfully arrogant. It's not meant that way. The thing is: These companies don't compete with each other directly. We don't own venues as Live Nation does. And Live Nation just entered the ticketing business but they don't compete with us at this point. So, it's vertical, and there's nothing legally wrong with vertical.

The issue is: Will consumers pay more? No. I actually think that what the combination will do will allow us to develop what was really lacking. The big players are getting rather old. The Rolling Stones are out there now. What we don't have is a great development process for new talent.

The recorded music business now is, in a sense, the loss leader for live entertainment. And the truth is that they should have symbiotic relationships, and I think we can bring that. But it's under review at the Justice Department and we'll know whenever they get around to dealing with this.

USA TODAY: Fleetwood Mac will be playing in St. Louis in a couple weeks. You can get a midpriced ticket for about $77, then there's a convenience charge of $9.70, a building facility charge of $2.50, and for the privilege of printing out my own ticket at home, I've got to pay you $2.50.

BARRY DILLER: I would tell you what a great privilege it is for you to be able to do that and how much infrastructure we had to create and desks we had to make in order for you to do that. But here's the thing: Ticketmaster is the definition of an unloved company. Many more people are denied tickets than we are able to give them because there are only so many seats in the house.

The problem with the ticketing business is: It's the essence of non-transparency. And the reason is that everybody has an ax to grind. Artists do not want consumers to know that they have a take of different parts of the ticketing package. People who own venues want to put in service charges. So I think there's going to be legislation which is going to force transparency, and I think that would be great for everybody.




Comments (28)

dude is hardcore in the closet.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 11:01 AM

fuck this, what does Phyllis Diller think?

Posted by dave | May 1, 2009 11:09 AM

so basically Vimeo, CollegeHumor and Ticketsmaster are the same company. Interesting.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 11:16 AM

Diller likes dill pickles.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 11:24 AM

and for the privilege of printing out my own ticket at home, I've got to pay you $2.50.

This still kills me. Every time.

Posted by BTW | May 1, 2009 11:24 AM

old rich white guy is pro ticketmaster ...this is news ?

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 11:28 AM

"and for the privilege of printing out my own ticket at home, I've got to pay you $2.50.

This still kills me. Every time."

Agreed. Even moreso because they so rarely offer that willcall option anymore at the shows with the print-out fee.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 11:54 AM

You are using your ink and your paper. It should cost nothing to print tickets at home.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 11:58 AM

I went to buy a ticket for Sonic Youth in Chicago this morning and here is the cost breakdown:

ticket price = $29.00
building facility charge = $1.00
Ticketmaster "convenience" charge = $8.60
additional taxes = $.43
order processing charge = $5.55
TOTAL for 1 ticket = $44.58

So, Ticketmaster's markup on your $29 ticket is $14.15. I call bullshit. In this economic climate, it is hard to find money to support business that I like. I just can't justify $15 for a business that has given me 25 years of shitty service.

Posted by Alien Rendel | May 1, 2009 12:55 PM

Is diller gay for real? i think he's cute.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 1:05 PM

he's 'married' to diane von furstenberg but he's notoriously vacationing with young dudes.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 1:16 PM

fuck this asshole.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 1:19 PM

what Diller is failing to point out is that Ticketmaster's biggest source of competition is artists booking their own concerts. Without control of the venues, Ticketmaster cannot control a major act, like, say, Radiohead, from booking their own shows and offering much lower ticket prices (bc Radiohead has no high overhead to make up for in ticket price). But once Ticketmaster can take away the major venues by controlling Live Nation, then major acts will be forced to use their services in order to perform in those venues.

The fact is, there is more value in tickets than the ticket price. This is evident if you've ever purchased a ticket from Craigslist or a Tickethub type vendor. Once there is less fear of competition from bands independently booking their own shows you can bet that Ticketmaster will immediately try to realize that lost value by raising ticket prices even further.

Posted by Rocky | May 1, 2009 1:35 PM

didnt answer the print-at-home question...

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 1:37 PM

I'd hit it.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 2:16 PM

its deceptively lowering prices to lure you into wanting a thing, then telling you you got to pay extra when you close the deal. this is no different than when a furniture store forgets to tell you about delivery charge, or when take out charges you for container or even when you go into auto dealership, and yeah I agree with few above that sort of pricing is kind of bs.

But, the bottom line - you can refuse to make the purchase, you know what the total cost is before you submit order, so I would say if you really think the ticket is too expensive, just don't buy it!

oh and btw- the Dead show at meadowlands, about 1/3 seats not sold, all of the behind the stage and far side of arena blocked off with curtains. So yeah supply and demand, set prices wisely...

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 2:23 PM

well said Rocky. that's why this merger should not be allowed under anti-trust laws.

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 2:40 PM

Hairy Dillhole

Posted by Anonymous | May 1, 2009 3:49 PM

Through "" , the official Live Nation ticketing site (until they merge w/Ticketmaster):

The Damned

Thursday 05/14/09
7:00 p.m.

Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza
17 Irving Place
NEW YORK, NY 10003

Ticket Face Value: $29.00

Total Ticket Cost: $41

Twelve bucks service charge on a $29 ticket.

Over 41% of the cost of the face value of the ticket.

Regardless of what you think of The Damned (or any other band Live Nation happens to book), 41% on top of face value on a ticket bought for a show that's not sold out from the owner of the venue is just fuckin' nuts.

Maybe it's just a ploy to make Ticketmaster look good.. the $3.45 per ticket Ticketmaster service charge for $20 Mastodon tickets looks positively civilized in comparison.

Posted by C. Holmes | May 2, 2009 12:28 AM

The artists should support more tickets being sold directly at the venue, even scalpers can only put so many people in line and it would eliminate so many people in multiple states buying up tickets around the country.

Posted by Concert fan | May 2, 2009 11:30 AM

Hey guys (and gals), Bless you all! I’m all for music and concerts, after all, my teen years were all about the Beatles, Woodstock, Hendrix and many, many more, all in real time and all missed very, very much, fortunately I am still able to attend some live concerts now and then. I grew up in a poor family and still pretty much live the same, working as a 56 year old disabled handyman. I thank the lucky stars that I live in the greatest country on this planet, even living at near poverty level, I can still afford a concert ticket, a night on the town and even an occasional date and a hotel room. All of you that don’t know what an ordeal it is to run a business like Live Nation or Ticketmaster should look into how much money both companies lost last year, I’m sure it is in the hundreds of millions or even billions. My disability and age guided me to the stock market less than a year ago. I started with all of my savings, a total of $800.00 Amongst other stocks, my love for music and as a small token of appreciation and support to the entertainment business, I purchased 124 shares of LIVE NATION (LYV: NYSE) ( all of the few stocks I purchased mean something to me besides “the bottom line”) and have been hoping to make a profit ever since, finally, recently I started to make a few bucks (for now) but rest assured: not because they (Live Nation) made money, I just bought at a good time and kept my fingers crossed. I would guess the stock averaged about $20 a share last year and about $3-$6 a share this year (actually since November of last year), keep in mind, that at about $20 a share, last year they still lost many, many millions. I for one, am glad they are still here. With today’s economy, I think we are all lucky the company didn’t go belly up and the venues get sold (one at a time, to whoever for whatever). As for all those extra charges: every company has them, they just don’t itemize them when you go buy food at the local market or a 6-pack at the corner liquor store. I believe the live music lovers at Live Nation as well as Ticketmaster have (for the most part) a heart and soul and will strive keep prices under control... if given a chance, but a fair profit will always be their key to staying in business, even the much talked about merger with Live Nation and Ticketmaster will help them the stay in business long enough to turn both companies around and make it through this world-wide recession...otherwise we all loose. Asking all of you to support Live Nation and Ticketmaster might be a bit much and that isn’t why I’m here, but please check them out, their officers and staffers, as well as their finances, perhaps you will see what I mean...Enjoy!


Posted by still broke | May 3, 2009 1:19 AM

I lost my job in ticketing at a house of blues a few days ago because of this bull crap.

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2009 4:11 PM

Hi Guys,

I love reading aVery Glad Ticketmaster merger not happening:

I was curious about comments I have read on different blogs about Ticketmaster and Morricone- It seems Ticketmaster is being sued because of a problem with a CEO called Debbie Shon in China. Has anyone got the latest on this?


Posted by Josh Larson | August 5, 2009 6:24 PM

All of this bad press comes at a time when Bruce Springsteen has publically denounced this merger.

Regarding Debbie Shon: I also hear that the Chinese Government is doing an investigation into Ticketmaster China conduct towards staff.

I have heard rumours that former Chinese employees are suing China CEO for "Duress". This story is also being backed by the legal industry in California.

Posted by MW | August 13, 2009 3:02 PM

Well there is a new Ticketmaster CEO for international. Roger Ames- very well respected in the industry. I am sure he will clean up all these lawsuits against Ticketmaster

Posted by Harry | August 13, 2009 3:07 PM

Great Article.

China Government is investigating employee abuse and mistreatment by company.

Posted by JC | August 13, 2009 3:59 PM

Debbie Shon is a strong leader and an upstanding professional. Ticketmaster China thrived and grew under her leadership. It was an honor working for Debbie Shon.

Posted by sara samantha | June 23, 2011 2:54 AM

ull like it.. if u hate ticketmaster :D The Walking Dead - Ticketmaster Apocalypse -

Posted by The Fanarchist | June 14, 2013 5:16 AM

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