Live Nation No-Fee Wednesday

Great idea.

Except I wonder if people will be willing to pay full-price hereafter?

That’s the problem.  People will pay a fortune to be up close and personal at a superstar’s show, but once you go back from the stage…

Actually, I’ve heard that sales this year are kind of funny.  You can sell the high-priced tickets, and the ones in the back, but the ones in the middle aren’t moving.

And all those shows being heralded as sold out?  Even U2 tickets are available.

Business is bad.  The mainstream media has not caught on yet, but agents and promoters are singing the blues.  Seemingly every show in L.A. is offered through Goldstar, and this just has people waiting, for the discount tickets.

It’s time for a realignment.  No different than what’s happening in Detroit.  The concert business has to be rejiggered to comport with today’s economic reality.

Bottom line…  Superstars sell tickets.  Their ducats are a lot less price-sensitive.  I cannot see why fees are not buried into a final total price.  If the cost is exorbitant, what difference does it make if the $10+ fee is not broken out separately?  Do acts really think their fans are going to be pissed at them because tickets are not $137.50, but $150?  Those damn classic rockers, dinging me for $12.50, I liked it better when I blamed Ticketmaster…  Huh?

As for the less-desirable shows…

These fee-less Wednesdays are a start.  There’s no such thing as a cheap ticket anymore.  Because the fees often DOUBLE the price of the most affordable tickets.  So now we’ve got bargains.  But how many people are going to know?  The problem is concertgoing is no longer a regular ritual for most of the public, it’s something they do at most once a year, which they overpay for.  To get them to come consistently…they’ve got to be informed of the price and believe they’re not going to be ripped off.  It’s kind of like buying tires.  NO ONE believes the advertised price is the price on the car.  Eventually you need tires, but you don’t need to go to the show.  A final price can only help the concert industry.

But it’s not Live Nation’s fault.  And not Ticketmaster’s.  The acts are responsible.  They don’t want to look like they’re ripping off their fans.  They’d rather place the blame on the promoter and ticketing company.  As if they’re ultimately not all in it together…

Anyway, if you follow all the reports, cheap seats are not available solely for undesirable acts.  Lawn tickets will be sold for Blink-182, Coldplay, No Doubt, Nickelback, Toby Keith, the Killers, the Dead, Aerosmith, the Dave Matthews Band…HUNDREDS OF SHOWS!

What we’ve got here is a softening of desire.  Which must be addressed.  Live Nation is making a move.  I applaud this.

But when will the rest of the industry get off its pedestal and realize the customer is tapped out?  That he’s overpaid to see so many of these acts already. That the yearning is just not there.  That concert tickets are seen as a rip-off?

Sure, you can no longer make a fortune by selling recorded music, but that does not mean you can just jack up concert tickets.  If you lose your job you just can’t stop paying sales tax.  Everybody’s suffering.  Why should musical acts be immune?

As for entertainment being recession-proof…  That’s when entertainment was cheap.  When you can go to the concert for fifteen bucks, attendance will be through the roof.  But that’s what we need, people GOING!  However good American cars are now, after decades of being trumped by the Japanese, with consumers satisfied with their Asian purchases, it’s almost impossible to get the public to go American once again.  It’s heading this way in the concert business.  Years ago, you went to the show every month or so, sometimes even more frequently.  Now you overpay for a ticket almost a year in advance. Attending a concert is like going to a wedding, or going on vacation.  You’ll fit it into your schedule, but it’s a rare event.  Go to the show on a whim?

That’s what Live Nation is trying to do here.  Get an impulse buy.  Get people out to have a good time.  We’re not building new superstars.  As stated previously, it’s hard to live on recorded music revenue.  Unless the audience is enticed to come, to see the band, to buy merch and spread the word, it’s going to be hard to break an act.

Remember when you got to the show early, to see the opening band, to get turned on to something?

That’s the best place for an act to make its mark.  Live.  But you’ve got to be great and there have to be people in the building.

Everybody’s got to realign.  Acts can force managers to force agents to rip off promoters, but they CAN’T force people to go to the show.  How are we going to get people to come?  Price is a good start.  Experience is important once they’re through the gate.  And the show must be great.  Not a perfunctory, by the numbers rendition.

We’re starting over.

Ever since the days of the Fillmore it’s been believed that the tickets just go on sale and people come.  But that was when music drove the culture, when the acts were tied in with the fans as opposed to corporations, when the music MATTERED!  All those elements are going to have to return for the concert industry to be healthy once again.

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