Friday, March 20, 2009

Ticketmaster + Live Nation = MasterNation and how they plan to screw you.

As of February of this year, Live Nation and Ticketmaster, two former rivals in the ticket selling industry have decided to come together in the wake of dwindling sales and a weakening economy. is an example of a re-seller / scalper. So is 

Here's the rub: TicketMaster has essentially been a monopoly for many years - certainly up until Live Nation's exclusive deal ran out. They could have (and can right now) stop the secondary market dead in its tracks by doing the following: limit the amount of sales per customer, print names on the tickets and require ID / ticket matches at the venue. We know this works because we do it for our pre-sales. Why don't THEY do it? It's obvious - they make a lot of money fueling the secondary market. TicketMaster even bought a re-seller site and often bounces you over to that site to buy tickets (!
This part of his explanation is important because Bruce Springsteen recently had a big flap over ticket selling at his massive Giants Stadium residency. 

The story is that people who went to buy tickets for his shows were redirected to where they would have had to pay for tickets hundreds of dollars more than their face value. 

Ticketmaster has long been criticized for the idea of a "convenience charge" because nobody sees the convenience in it. They buy their tickets the same way, they don't help move a line faster, it simply means you bought a ticket.

To add to the chaos, venues are also adding charges...THAT DON'T EXIST!

Could you imagine having to purchase a ticket from Ticketmaster, getting redirected to TicketsNow and then having to pay PNC $6,. even if you came into the venue on a bus?

I can see how and why people are seething mad over this.

The Department of Justice is currently scrutinizing the merger.

If this merger goes through, I can't see it being any good for the consumer.

The majority of tickets sold in this country are through those two companies, meaning that the "convenience" charges could be higher than they're charging now.

I remember when Live Nation and Ticketmaster were competitors. I remember one show in particular, buying two Ticketmaster tickets for $90 and basically getting two nosebleed seats. Buying from Live Nation, I bought two more tickets that were a dollar less and a full section up. 

You won't see anything like that again if this deal goes through.

I feel that these companies need to do more for the consumer.

The same way that they're quick to add convenience charges to everything, they should reward their most loyal customers.

For example, give discounts to customers that buy tickets to multiple events at once, buy the maximum number of tickets allowed, or buy tickets that are worth a certain amount of money.

Waive the convenience charges for those customers.

Granted, it may not apply to most consumers, but at least you're showing you care somewhat.

There's no way that this company/merger can be in any sort of financial trouble or needs a bailout.

It kind of reminds me of the MTA battle in New York City. New Yorkers everywhere are complaining about budget cuts and paying more money for less services. New Yorkers feel that the MTA is a fiscally irresponsible company that doesn't care about its consumers.

It'll be interesting to see how this story plays out in the coming months. Hopefully, whichever way it does go, I can actually afford to go to a show. 

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