Tag Archives: Ticketmaster

Living the Live Nation Life

When Live Nation announced its earnings for Q1 2020, they were down 20% year over year, which is surprisingly not bad. Convert revenue was down 25% and ticketing off 16% compared to the same quarter in 2019. According to Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, “Globally, over 90% of fans are holding on to their tickets where refunds are available, which is the clearest demonstration of pent up demand that will enable us to quickly start concerts back up.”

Of course, there are other considerations as to why a number of those people may still have their tickets, which has absolutely nothing to do with their fervor to see a show.

For one thing, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, as I am writing this there are 3,965.863 total confirmed COVID-19 cases globally, of which 1,284.708 are in the U.S. There have been 275,527 deaths, of which 77,201 are in the U.S.

Presumably there are a whole lot of people on the planet who have been otherwise occupied.

And given that 20.5 million people lost their jobs in the U.S. in April, bringing the overall unemployment rate to 14.5%, odds are that even if they have a cache of ducats, they’re probably spending their time trying to file for unemployment benefits than dealing with trying to get refunds for tickets, as expensive as those tickets may be.

But CEOs must be optimistic.

Live Nation put out some stats with its earnings numbers that are lack only a bright, big smiley face.
For example, according to a survey it conducted, “when event restrictions are lifted”—which in some states can’t happen fast enough, which makes one wonder about what the governors of those states really think about their governed—the most “likely attended type of event” will be. . .live music.

Continue reading Living the Live Nation Life

A Hamburger Today: The Wimpy Approach to Tickets

One of the cartoon characters that has pretty much disappeared from the scene is Popeye the Sailor Man, the bizarrely configured individual with forearms the size of barrels and upper arms the size of twigs. He gained strength from eating spinach, not of the variety that most people might be familiar with from salads (which often had a warm bacon dressing, canceling any of the nutritional benefits), but from a can that he would crush in the middle such that it popped out of the top for quick consumption. Popeye needed the strength to take on his rival, Bluto, or Brutus, which at some point was claimed to be a set of twins, who typically was kidnapping Olive Oyl, Popeye’s girlfriend. Not even a 1980 Robert Altman movie starring Robin Williams (Popeye) and Shelley Duvall (Olive Oyl) with a screenplay by Jules Feiffer music by Harry Nilsson could save the strip.

At this point you are probably wondering whether you’ve accidentally stumbled onto some comic-book related website or that GloNo has transformed during this time of working from home.

Well, not exactly.

There is another Popeye Universe character that has recently come to mind: Wimpy. Apparently his full name is J. Wellington Wimpy. Something of a ne’er-do-well who seemingly came from a place of higher station and has fallen to a lower one. And who has become a con.

Wimpy’s catch phrase is: “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

And you know that Tuesday never comes, even if it is Monday.

Even with states “opening up,” the likelihood that there will be concerts of any size anytime soon is slimmer than Olive Oyl.

Yet there are companies including Ticketmaster and AEG have sold tickets for concerts, and seem to be having a refund policy that would be familiar to Wimpy. You can get your money back on Tuesday.
Part of the approach is that a concert must be officially canceled or new dates have to be set for the show before a refund is considered.

Continue reading A Hamburger Today: The Wimpy Approach to Tickets

Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

Morrissey’s U.S. tour started this week and ticket sales are less than fantastic. In fact they pretty much suck. I am aware of this because I have been tracking the resale market over the summer, as I ruminate on attending. I feel miserable about the pending show here, which is perhaps appropriate given Moz’s penchant for writing and performing songs celebrating that emotion. Except in this case my misfortune stems from having bought tickets months ago in the presale.

We’ll get to the “Morrissey: Provocateur, dick, racist, or all of the above?” question eventually, but let’s start with the presale. If you are as frequent a concertgoer as I am, you probably understand the double-edged sword that is the fan presale. For some artists, it is the singular way fans can get tickets at face value—which is already a total screw-job, but at least better than buying in the even more jacked up secondhand market. Tickets cost astronomical sums these days, far outpacing inflation compared to a decade ago. Staggering tack-on fees don’t help, but grumbling about that seems like yet another a quaint relic of the ’90s, like rock bands that play actual guitars. If you want to see big name touring artists who sell out venues, you’re going to get robbed, period.

But what about those performers who don’t sell out their shows right away? They still have presales. Plenty of their tickets still get diverted to the scalper market and posted on Stubhub and the like for outrageous sums. At least initially. But then the supply and demand teeter-totter often swings back and throws the fan into the dirt. The show doesn’t sell out at all. Not initially, not after a few months, not ever. The promoters then panic and start offering tickets at TJ Maxx prices. This sucks for the fan that many months before shelled out face, as the value of those tickets plummets.

Change your mind? Change of plans? Can’t get the day off/find a babysitter/afford to go anymore because the economy tanked and you lost your job? You’re screwed. Don’t need as many tickets because your buddies bail? Hope those assholes paid you because otherwise you’ll never recoup your outlay.

Continue reading Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

New Ticket “Service” (?)

“I think we will make each other better,” Tim Leiweke, chief executive of AEG Live, is quoted in The Wall Street Journal saying in relation to the launching of Axs Ticketing on August 27.

The “other,” as you might expect, is Ticketmaster.

One can only assume that expectations need not be particularly high vis-à-vis the improvement that Leiweke seems to be expecting. Or one might ask who it will be “better” for? The ticket buyer, who is essentially getting pole axed every time s/he sources a ticket, or for the so-called “service” that is selling them. Check the fees that you end up paying even though you do the ordering work, and you can get your answer.

And here’s an interesting passage from the WSJ story by Ethan Smith: “AEG, together with start-up Outbox Enterprises Inc., has spent nearly 18 months building the new service.” That’s good.

Probably. But Smith continues, “AEG, also a partial owner of Outbox, is the second-largest concert promoter in the world, behind Live Nation.”

That’s “Live Nation” as in “Live Nation Entertainment Inc.” which is a part of. . .Ticketmaster.

Swell. Ticketmaster owns #1 and AEG has a piece of #2.

Somehow this whole “better” thing is sounding less good.

A Fool and His or Her Money…

Deal with it.For the past few years, after the music industry’s fortunes went bottom-up and, consequently, the performing artists got even more taken to the Vaseline jar than they previously had, it seemed that the only way that performers would be able to make a quasi-reasonable living was through live performances. The return from the shows wouldn’t be predicated on the take from the tickets, but from whatever swag they were able to sell to the faithful.

After all, one of the issues vis-à-vis ticket sales was that there were corporate interests involved in many of the venues, which worked to their favor. “They,” not incidentally, were Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which are now a singular pronoun.

Continue reading A Fool and His or Her Money…

Live Nation gets $78 per fan

According to Live Nation‘s Q2 2009 Earnings Call for investors, the concert industry seems to be doing pretty well despite the fact that it’s down a little:

Overall, for the quarter our revenue per fan was $78.16 compared to $81.82 in the second quarter of last year. The drop of 4.5 is all because of declines in our revenue due to currency changes. On a constant currency basis our 2009 revenue per fan would have been $84.24, an increase of 3%.

I’m not exactly sure how that “revenue per fan” calculation is derived, but it sounds to me like people are paying an average of about $80 per ticket for Live Nation concerts these days. I tend to avoid big shows like that, but damn, does that sound right? Is that what you people are paying? Or is this just the U2, Madonna, Jay-Z and Nickelback crowd?

And what do you suppose is going to happen to that “revenue per fan” line item once Live nation inevitably merges with Ticketmaster?

Via Billboard.

Previously: Ticketmaster/Live Nation vs. Senate Judiciary Committee; Senate Urges Review of Ticketmaster-Live Nation Merger. And, coincidentally, on this same day in 2001 we were discussing which bands we’d “be willing to pay $30 to see” (Fuck Ticketmaster, 2001).

Senate Urges Review of Ticketmaster-Live Nation Merger

Yep, elections have consequences and after years of hyper capitalism and oversight-free marketeerism, the Big Wigs in Washington are starting to think bigger isn’t always better for the consumer.

This week Rolling Stone reports that lawmakers have asked the Department of Justice to review the merger between live event ticketing mega-giant Ticketmaster and event promoter Live Nation.

The proposed merger would find Ticketmaster, the nation’s biggest ticketing service and owners of Front Line Management and secondary ticketing site TicketsNow, joining up with Live Nation, America’s biggest concert producer. Live Nation, which also owns dozens of amphitheatres and has inked 360 deals with artists like Madonna and Jay-Z, launched their own ticketing service late last year in a move that was expected to create competition in the ticketing market. Instead, the two companies quickly began talks to merge, announcing plans to create a joint company called Live Nation Ticketmaster in February 2009.

For some reason, Senators think that an expansion of an already shitty ticketing service with the nation’s largest concert promoter might be a bad thing for music fans. Go figure…

Continue reading Senate Urges Review of Ticketmaster-Live Nation Merger

Ticketmaster/Live Nation vs. Senate Judiciary Committee

Obama‘s Non-State of the Union wasn’t the only action on Capitol Hill yesterday. Executives from Ticketmaster and Live Nation (formerly Clear Channel) went before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights to discuss their proposed merger. Jim DeRogatis recaps the hearing for the Chicago Sun-Times:

All of the senators voiced strong skepticism about the merger–including traditional foes Orrin Hatch (R-UT, and an amateur recording artist) and Charles Schumer (D-NY, and a Bruce Springsteen fan outraged by Ticketmaster’s handling of the upcoming tour)–and they hurled barbed questions about skyrocketing prices, duplicitous ticket schemes and unfair competition at Ticketmaster head Irving Azoff and Live Nation boss Michael Rapino.

A native of downstate Danville, Azoff stressed his background as a music fan who traveled to Comiskey Park to see the Beatles and who promoted acts such as Dan Fogelberg and REO Speedwagon during his time at the University of Illinois. “This business is in far worse shape than many people realize,” he said, adding that the merger is necessary to save it.

DeRo had also liveblogged the hearing as it took place, so check that out for more details like this gem: “Curiously, when Azoff says the word ‘merger,’ it sounds a lot like ‘murder.'”

Despite the Senators’ apparent outrage, I’m skeptical that anybody’s actually going to stop the merger. The era of Teddy Roosevelt‘s trustbusting was 100 years ago…

Ticketmaster + Live Nation + Front Line = New Model? Really?

The Wall Street Journal reports that Ticketmaster and Live Nation are close to a merger:

The combined company would be called Live Nation Ticketmaster [How clever! – ed.], and would merge the world’s biggest concert promoter with the world’s dominant ticketing and artist-management company. The resulting firm would be able to manage everything from recorded music to ticket sales and tour sponsorship. It could package artists in new ways, for example, allowing corporations such as a cellphone provider to sponsor a concert tour and to sell an exclusive download of a song.

Because it would be so vertically integrated, the new company would also be able to muscle out competing concert promoters and have more power to dictate ticket prices to consumers.

What effect do you think this will have on you? Any chance this will do any good for anybody? I’ve consciously avoided Ticketmaster for years, so I could really give a shit.

Live Nation was spun off from Clear Channel back in 2005. Remember Clear Channel? Boy, back in the day, they were Enemy #1. Those were the days when we had the audacity to hope that commercial radio might one day become listenable. Before iPods. Does anybody even care about Clear Channel anymore? Seems almost quaint now.

Ticketmaster Buys Big Scalper

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Ticketmaster has agreed to pay about $265 million for TicketsNow Inc., the country’s second-largest Web site for reselling tickets to concerts and sports events.”

The largest online ticket broker is StubHub, which is owned by eBay.

Apparently, perceptions of ticket “resellers” is changing: “Where resellers once were viewed as shady scalpers, now, thanks largely to the Internet, they are becoming more respectable.” Wrong. They’re still just shady scalpers unfairly raising the price of tickets and keeping real fans from being able to afford to go to shows.

Scalping should be illegal.

Continue reading Ticketmaster Buys Big Scalper