In its typical stately and slightly behind fashion, The New Yorker magazine this week published a piece (subscription required) about big changes in the live music industry. The article used as its grounding point a recent dispute between Bruce Springsteen and Ticketmaster over scalping and ticket withholding by artists, but the larger point was that the concert industry may be following the recording industry down the tubes--a prediction I made more than a year ago. The article has reams of supporting statistics and quotes, but the simple point is that the big acts aren't selling as many tickets as … Read more
CARLSBAD, Calif.--Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff portrayed his company on Wednesday as one that needs the merger with Live Nation to survive.
"Any of you guys can write a program to sell some tickets," he told the crowd at the D: All Things Digital conference here.
Conference co-host Kara Swisher took issue with his positioning. "Most people don't consider Ticketmaster a victim," Swisher said.
Azoff noted that more and more entities are getting into the ticketing business, forcing his company to diversify as well.
"It's the natural evolution of business," he said. &… Read more
A year and a half after I first blogged about ticket brokers and the free market, the rest of the world is finally catching on to the fact that scalping isn't going away.
A lot has happened in the intervening time--Live Nation emerged as a competitor to Ticketmaster, then agreed to merge with Ticketmaster, and The Wall Street Journal has published a couple of articles exposing the fact that artists and managers often team up with ticket sellers (like Ticketmaster) and brokers (like Ticketmaster subsidiary TicketExchange) to sell their own allotments of tickets for several times their face value. … Read more
I'm a die-hard Yankees fan and a season ticket holder for the most storied franchise in sports history. I've been buying the tickets online through the Yankees' "My Yankees" pane that it operates with Ticketmaster. Until now, I was happy with my package of games and the affordable seats I got.
But 2009 is a different story. The Yankees have a new stadium, higher pricing, and a relocation process that has caused Yankees fans to question the motives of their favorite team.
Right now, there are season ticket holders with seniority dating back more than five years that are still waiting for their season tickets, while others, who do have seats, have been moved from the infield to the upper deck. The main reason: Yankees brass decided to use the Web as their main source of adding new season ticket holders, which combined with more people wanting to see the new stadium, created demand that caught team officials off guard.
"As it turned out, we had an unexpected number of fans who wanted the full season, not dropping down because of the economy, but going up," Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost told Newsday in an interview. "We didn't expect there would be such a demand for fulls and we have to salvage 6,000 or 7,000 seats a game for general sale."
To address concerns, the Yankees are now offering "premium seats" to displaced season ticket holders or newcomers for $325 per game for a full season package and $350 per game in a partial season plan. Those seats are located "dugout to dugout" just above field level. Good seats. But there's one problem: last year, a comparable seat in the old Yankee stadium behind home plate was selling for $100.
There's a lot of blame to go around. Some say that the Yankees shouldn't have been so "greedy" in their attempt to add more season ticket holders, while others are saying that it's the relatively recent availability of season tickets online that has substantially reduced the barriers to entry and made it possible for so many people to quickly and easily buy season packages.
Nowhere are both arguments more pronounced than in the place where the fervor started in the first place: online forums. As of this writing, NYYfans.com forum has a 177-page thread on the relocation process dating back to 2007. On average, more than 30 concerned fans are adding comments to that forum each day.
Are the Yankees alone?
With under two months until the season starts, now is the time for most teams in the Major League to start making their big pushes for season tickets. Season ticket holders are important to any team because they basically guarantee cash for a certain number of games before the season even starts. That's precisely why the Web is such a key component in ticket distribution across Major League Baseball: Ease of use translates into more revenue.
I ventured around the league (online) to find out if fans in other cities were having as much trouble as Yankees fans trying to get season tickets and good seats. Fortunately, the Yankees debacle looks like an isolated event.… Read more
After a couple weeks of rumors reported by The Wall Street Journal and other outlets, it's finally happened: concert promoter and venue owner Live Nation and the nation's largest ticket seller, Ticketmaster, have merged in a deal worth approximately $2.5 billion.
Why is this important? Because the combined companies are, in my opinion, dangerously close to building a vertical monopoly. The new company, Live Nation Entertainment, will own concert venues, the ticketing system for those venues, and exclusive rights to certain major acts that play those venues. In other words, if you thought concert prices were high … Read more
Music forums were abuzz all weekend about Live Nation's inability to handle the millions of simultaneous online requests for Phish tickets. The fabled jam band is reuniting for a summer tour after several years off, and is playing some Live Nation-owned venues, which means that tickets for those shows were available only through Live Nation. Unfortunately, Live Nation (a spin-off of Clear Channel) is relatively new at ticketing and its Web ticketing service couldn't handle the strain. The worst: apparently some would-be purchasers were offered seats, only to have the system break down when they tried to complete … Read more
Our hardworking colleagues at CNET have been in the thick of the action at the CTIA wireless show this week and we figure Crave readers will want in on the fun, too.
In case you haven't seen, today Research in Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry, made a whole slew of announcements about bringing popular consumer applications to the device. It already has Facebook for BlackBerry, but now RIM is expanding.
As CNET News reported earlier this week, Microsoft Live Search will be integrated with the BlackBerry Browser.
Prices for airline tickets are one of life's great mysteries. A travel agent tried to explain it to me once, and without getting too detailed, it's a combination of segmentation, demand-based pricing, and ensuring that seats are filled. Segmentation's the reason why last-minute tickets cost so much--most vacationers plan far in advance, and business travelers are much more likely to accept high prices. Demand-based pricing is why it's way more expensive to take the same trip over Thanksgiving than over the second weekend in November, and why prices can fluctuate from moment to moment--as one "… Read more
It's no secret that InterActiveCorp is facing a corporate hurricane. But CEO Barry Diller's plan to split the company in five parts might not calm the waters.
In the fall, the sprawling new media conglomerate announced a plan to spin off many of its brands into a total of five publicly traded companies, focusing its core business on ad-supported media, in order to revive investor confidence. It needs that revival: on Wednesday morning, the company posted its 2007 fourth-quarter earnings, reporting a net loss of $369.9 million as revenues rose eight percent to $1.86 billion.
IAC … Read more
A quick follow-up to last week's post about ticket brokers. Tuesday, a federal judge issued an injunction against RMG Technologies, barring the company from "creating, trafficking in, facilitating the use of or using computer programs or other automatic devices to circumvent" the system that Ticketmaster uses to control online ticket purchases.
According to testimony from former broker Chris Kovach, he had used RMG's software to buy hundreds of tickets at a time through Ticketmaster's site before human fans had a chance to do so, then turned around and sold these tickets through brokerages like StubHub. … Read more