Randy Phillips Responds

From: Randy Phillips
Subject: Re: Kenny Chesney
Date: June 26, 2007 6:03 PM PDT

Bob, only you can ruin my high from opening the greatest arena in the world, London, England’s The O2, this week. Here I sit in my hotel room at 1:30am and I foolishly open your blog, or whatever it is. Both Kenny Chesney and Justin Timberlake are AEG Live touring clients. Kenny through our wholly owned subsidiary The Messina Group and JT through our touring division Concerts West. I admire and respect Kenny’s immeasurable talent and love for his fans and am honored to be in business with him. At the same time, I am very close to Justin and have believed and bet on him since he left ‘NSYNC. Team JT (the artist, his mom and dad and their management partner Johnny Wright, agent David Zedeck at CAA, lawyer, and business manager, have repaid my early belief with tremendous loyalty. This young man is respectful, talented beyond belief, and a brilliant and seasoned business savvy artist, whose acumen makes you forget how damn young he still is.

The irony of you slagging Justin and praising Kenny is that I know them both and, if you did also, you would realize how similar they are in their humility in handling their fans and success, their ability to genre-bend while achieving mythical commercial and creative plateaus, their laser like attention to detail in the decisions that have promulgated their careers, and how wisely they have chosen the people around them.

Bob, I have ignored your shots at AEG Live, the amazing company I am privileged to run which, according to Billboard’s mid-year chart, has produced 3 of the top 5 tours this year, however, I cannot ignore your most recent mean spirited attack on a close friend and client. It is inaccurate and misguided. Hopefully I have let off enough steam in this email I am typing with my aching thumbs on this damn Blackberry to get to sleep.

Respectfully submitted,

Randy Phillips
President & CEO
AEG Live

From: Bob Lefsetz
Subject: Re: Kenny Chesney
Date: June 26, 2007 6:27 PM PDT

You’re a great BlackBerry typist!
But come on, don’t take it so personally…
I thought Justin was good in ‘N Sync, but I don’t cotton to those beat-driven records. The point about Chesney is it’s more akin to rock, singalong, memories, longevity!
As for constantly slagging AEG… Shit, you’d have to show me. I’m an equal opportunity offender, and I think I’ve been much worse on LiveNation.
As for Bon Jovi… I’m actually somewhat of a fan, but to tie in the album sales, in pre-sales no less, to get a high SoundScan debut is heinous, it’s taking the business in the wrong direction. I’m gonna stand up to that all day long. And have certainly let TicketMaster know my feelings.
You’re in business with these people, but fans don’t react to you so much as the acts. And I’m reacting to the acts.
And I don’t like JT’s humble/I’m white but black act ANYWAY!

From: Randy Phillips
Subject: Re: Number One?
Date: June 26, 2007 6:28 PM PDT

In the immortal words of yet another client, Rod Stewart (from "Infatuation"): "Oh no, not again!"
First you attack Justin Timberlake and, now, Bon Jovi. Will your vexing, envious ranting ever end? Bon Jovi is one of the greatest live rock bands on the road today and with all original members. The show they performed this Sunday night inaugurating AEG’s O2 Arena in London was spectacular. Here was a multi-night stadium act doing a one-night only concert in a 20,000 seat arena. The excitement from their fans and the energy and enthusiasm on stage brought the house down.

Please attack Live Nation clients from now on and leave our artists alone. Back to sleep at 2:30pm Greenwich time.

Randy Phillips
President & CEO
AEG Live

P.S. Bon Jovi’s fans had to proactively "opt-in" to buy the new album when the first 5 of 10 shows christening AEG’s Prudentail Center, a new state-of-the-art arena in Newark, New Jersey, went on sale. These are real sales from real people from a real #1 album. And AEG Live was the same company that packaged the CD with the ticket on Prince’s last tour. In an industry reeling from self-doubt, you should praise innovation instead of trying to find fault where none exists. Please get a life! Good night.

From: Bob Lefsetz
Subject: Re: Number One?
Date: June 26, 2007 6:33 PM PDT

That’s bullshit, and you know it:

The online presale program will be available exclusively to American Express cardholders beginning June 12 through June 14, and to the general public from June 15 through June 22. Tickets without the digital album download will then be available for purchase by the general public beginning June 23.

You HAD to buy the digital download if you wanted tickets in the pre-sale…

Bon Jovi, Ticketmaster bundle digital album, tickets

From: Bob Lefsetz
Subject: another…
Date: June 26, 2007 6:36 PM PDT

In what’s being billed as a first, Bon Jovi is bundling a digital iTunes copy of the band’s upcoming album, Lost Highway, with advance tickets for October concerts in Newark, N.J.

The stand, which begins October 25 and may be expanded beyond the initial five shows, will open the new Prudential Center in Newark.

The online presale program will be available exclusively to American Express cardholders beginning June 12 through June 14, and to the general public from June 15 through June 22. Tickets without the digital-album download will then be available for purchase by the general public beginning June 23.

Fans who purchase the Lost Highway Ticket Package will receive a code from Ticketmaster that enables them to download Lost Highway from iTunes beginning on its June 19 release. The ticket-album package will cost $9.99–the price of the album on iTunes–more than tickets later sold on their own. Album sales in the bundle will count toward the album’s Billboard chart position, whose sales source is Nielsen SoundScan.

For those fans who have already preordered Lost Highway from Bon Jovi’s Web site or iTunes, Bon Jovi and Ticketmaster have arranged for iTunes to provide a passcode that will enable them to purchase a single presale ticket for $9.99 less without adding the digital album.

The program is similar in concept to previous Ticketmaster initiatives with acts such as Bob Dylan, Maroon 5 and Daddy Yankee. The difference is that the other programs offered albums and tickets in two separate sales via two separate sites.

The Bon Jovi deal is the first "all-in" presale that bundles together a ticket and a digital album as a single transaction sold via Ticketmaster’s Web site. In this way, the promotion is more a digital version of Prince’s 2005 Musicology tour, which included with the ticket price a physical version of his new album, to be picked up at the venue.

The $375 million, 18,000-capacity Prudential Center will be managed by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and booked by its live entertainment division, AEG Live

Bon Jovi bundles iTunes album with Ticketmaster sales

From: Randy Phillips
Subject: Re: Kenny Chesney
Date: June 26, 2007 6:41 PM PDT

Bob baby, you are one-of-a-kind! If you feel it would be fair play, please consider publishing my responses so that the readers get a balanced and nuanced perspective. And I really do have to get to sleep.

Randy

P.S. I think the line about AEG Live was "New boss, same as the old boss….".

It’s really not so.
RP

From: Bob Lefsetz
Subject: Re: Kenny Chesney
Date: June 26, 2007 6:43 PM PDT

Why don’t you admit to the truth about the Bon Jovi pre-sale.

From: Randy Phillps
Subject: Re: another…
Date: June 26, 2007 6:46 PM PDT

In the Prince sales we didn’t give the consumer the opt-in/opt-out choice and did accidentally (all Prince cared about was getting his new music into as many hands as possible) and artificially influence the Soundscan Charts. This was not the case with BJ.

From: Bob Lefsetz
Subject: Re: Kenny Chesney
Date: June 26, 2007 6:47 PM PDT

I searched every e-mail sent since September, and came across NOTHING like what you’ve said here. You’re dreaming.

But I did come across: "To save the business, you’ve got to take chances, you’ve got to take a risk. But the risk has been ELIMINATED! Live Nation survives on a SLIVER of revenues. And they have to worry about AEG. Risk? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?"

So, I’m always down on AEG?? Give me a break.

____________________________________________

From: Bob Lefsetz
Subject: Re: another…
Date: June 26, 2007 6:48 PM PDT

Come on, if you wanted in on the Bon Jov pre-sale, you had to BUY the album.
As to how Prince did it, I’ve got NO PROBLEM WITH THAT!

From: Randy Phillips
Subject: Re: Number One?
Date: June 26, 2007 6:52 PM PDT

Bob, they are playing 10 nights, not 1 or 2, and there are plenty of tickets available to the public in both the primary and secondary markets. Only 45,000 out of over 100,000 sales opted to buy in. Those are REAL sales. All we did was make it easier for a fan to purchase the record. Please open your mind to new ways of selling records. The business and artists need these avenues. For God’s sake, Tower Records is gone! Embrace the new paradigm. Soon physical product will be gone also. At least fans bought an entire album instead of just a song. RP

From: Bob Lefsetz
Subject: Re: Number One?
Date: June 26, 2007 6:54 PM PDT

God, you’re too much. That’s NOT THE POINT!
If you wanted in on the pre-sale, you had to buy the album. And that was my SOLE POINT!
It was intentionally done to manipulate SoundScan.

From: Randy Phillips
Subject: Re: Kenny Chesney
Date: June 26, 2007 6:54 PM PDT

Your truth is not my truth. That’s what makes humans interesting and diverse. I respectfully defend my right to disagree. RP

From: Bob Lefsetz
Subject: Re: Kenny Chesney
Date: June 26, 2007 6:56 PM PDT

Wow, you are blowing my fucking mind.
I will print what you had to say, but not until you admit that if you wanted pre-sale tickets, you had to buy the album.
Or, maybe I should print this insane diatribe, which believe me, won’t make you look good, but positively delusional.

From: Randy Phillips
Subject: Re: Kenny Chesney
Date: June 26, 2007 7:04 PM PDT

Search more. I have a memory like a steel trap. Probably 6 months to slightly over a year ago. You’re killing me and I have a breakfast meeting tomorrow morning.

From: Randy Phillips
Subject: Re: another…
Date: June 26, 2007 7:08 PM PDT

There were still plenty of good seats left and everyone knew there would be 10 shows because we issued a press release to that affect prior to the on-sale. Give a band with this much longevity a break. They are obviously doing something right. We can debate this further in person when I get back.

From: Randy Phillips
Subject: Re: Number One?
Date: June 26, 2007 7:20 PM PDT

That was not the overriding reason, but it was a good result. The greatest marketing.plans are when image and reality meet. The band want to sell records and may do this again when they do a full scale tour. Soundscan was a secondary consideration. ENOUGH!

From: Randy Phillips
Subject: Re: Number One?
Date: June 26, 2007 7:24 PM PDT

You control your column so I am at your mercy. Do what you think is fair. I am committed to my point of view. I am not trying to be argumentative. Incidentally, the album was #1 in Canada, the UK, and Japan in its first week and I promise we did not do a pre-sale for the New Jersey shows in those merkets.
Byeeeeeee,

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  1. [...] Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » Randy Phillips Responds lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2007/06/27/randy-phillips-responds/ – view page – cached Bob, only you can ruin my high from opening the greatest arena in the world, London, England’s The O2, this week. Here I sit in my hotel room at 1:30am and I foolishly open your blog, or whatever it is. Both Kenny Chesney and Justin Timberlake are AEG Live touring clients. Kenny through our wholly owned subsidiary The Messina Group and JT through our touring division Concerts West. I admire and… Read moreBob, only you can ruin my high from opening the greatest arena in the world, London, England’s The O2, this week. Here I sit in my hotel room at 1:30am and I foolishly open your blog, or whatever it is. Both Kenny Chesney and Justin Timberlake are AEG Live touring clients. Kenny through our wholly owned subsidiary The Messina Group and JT through our touring division Concerts West. I admire and respect Kenny’s immeasurable talent and love for his fans and am honored to be in business with him. At the same time, I am very close to Justin and have believed and bet on him since he left ‘NSYNC. Team JT (the artist, his mom and dad and their management partner Johnny Wright, agent David Zedeck at CAA, lawyer, and business manager, have repaid my early belief with tremendous loyalty. View page Tweets about this link [...]

  2. [...] For some of you who wish to read more, we would suggest reading an email correspondence between Randy Phillips and Bob Lefsetz published on June 26, 2007 on his wordpress.com blog The Lefsetz Letter  [...]

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