Vaccine Passports

I’m sick and tired of AEG and Live Nation controlling the touring business. And now, to collude on vaccine passports for live shows, that’s positively HEINOUS!

I mean talk about jumping the gun, Bonnaroo tickets went on sale yesterday, do these outfits really care about ticket buyers? I’d say not. If they did they’d wait until we’re all safe, but there’s no responsibility in America anymore, electric companies can overcharge Texans during a deep freeze and it’s tough noogies, WHERE IS THE GOVERNMENT!

I mean this is definitely antitrust, AEG and Live Nation coming together to set policy. Trump famously didn’t apply antitrust laws unless he was settling scores, and the truth is Jared and Ivanka got lifetime all access laminates for themselves and their kids on the way out, as a result of pardoning Lil Wayne, they can go to shows forever, talk about self-dealing.

Yes, just like Zuckerberg and Facebook, AEG and Live Nation were kissing Trump’s butt. Everyone knows Phil Anschutz is a Republican, he calls the shots over there, he got rid of Tim Leiweke, he doesn’t want anything in his way as he runs up the value of the enterprise so he can sell it. And the government moves so slowly, by time Biden’s gang gets up to speed shows will already be happening, it will be too late.

But what really bugs me about these new vaccine passports is their impingement on our freedom. I mean what if I’ve got a passport and I buy a ticket and I want to sell it, do I have the responsibility to find out whether the buyer is vaccinated? Rumors of a national database are rampant, but is it going to be searchable by the hoi polloi, or are we going to have to all be related to Governor Cuomo to get access? That’s what’s been wrong with the entertainment business from day one, nepotism, favors, you either know somebody or you don’t, either you’re sitting in the front for free or you’re back in the nosebleeds where you only know what song is being played after the show, when you look it up on

So, here’s the story…

You’re gonna need a vaccine passport to go to a live show. Well, AEG and Live Nation’s anyway. And the truth is their tentacles are long. They own buildings and Live Nation’s Ticketmaster arm tickets seemingly every show in America, so…everyone’s gonna have to fall in line, forget being an independent, you’ve got to obey the edict of the big boys, talk about overstepping their boundaries.

So, you can only go to the show if you’ve gotten vaccinated. Rumor has it there will be an exception for country shows, but I don’t believe that, the liability is just too great. Country is an ever-growing slice of the concert business and if you require patrons to be vaccinated, ticket counts are gonna take a big hit. I think they should sign up Hank Williams, Jr. or some other right winger to get the shot and talk about it, maybe that will help, it’s a conundrum.

So, the vaccine passport is gonna be on your smartphone. But, get this, right now the app only works on iOS, not Android, they were talking all about this on Clubhouse last night, which also only works on iOS. So, if you want to go to a show this year, you’d better buy an iPhone, otherwise you’re SOL.

As for the information on said iPhone, Apple says there will be no central database, that they will not keep it on their servers, it will exist on your iPhone only. Yeah, like I believe that.

So, to go to a show it must be two weeks out from the last shot. And to goose sales for slow shows, Live Nation has established a relationship with Johnson & Johnson, the one shot company. If you buy a ticket to a show two to three weeks out, you qualify for a J&J shot.

But what about hip-hop shows? Right now Blacks and other people of color are under-vaccinated. But the truth is it’s the white wannabes who are populating these big arena shows, rappers have been laughing about this for eons.

So, you got the vaccine, you got the app, but the authorization, how you get your completed vaccine passport on your iPhone… It’s gonna be controlled by Ticketmaster and AXS! Ticketmaster’s platform is slow and clunky, no matter what they say, it’s built on spaghetti code, just like Windows. As for AXS…has anybody ever really used it? But, there is no truth to the story that they’re getting money from the government to do this, at least that’s what I’ve heard. But maybe it’s buried in the new infrastructure bill, if so, it’s got to pass before show season begins.

So, if you’ve got a vaccine passport, you can go to a show. If not, you can’t. The toxic twins, Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott, are up in arms about this. They’re talking about a state law that bans the necessity for a passport in the Lone Star State. And I heard they’re pulling Ron DeSantis in too. These states are open for business, they don’t care if you die at a show, you took the risk, don’t ask the government to protect you.

But to satiate these naysayers, Michael Rapino has said he will sponsor a Proud Boys gig at Jerry Jones’s AT&T Stadium. The music will be provided by Kid Rock and Ted Nugent, the Proud Boys promise a stadium wide mosh pit, and if you injure a security guard, you get your money back.

The amazing thing is how little publicity this story has received. “Billboard” is child’s play, and “Rolling Stone” is behind a paywall and no one seems to know yet, but they will.

If you buy a platinum ticket, of course your vaccination is free, they come to your house to administer it. And, if you paid for the shot(s) previously, you’re reimbursed, got to keep those high flyin’, overpayin’ customers happy.

But I don’t see why they don’t require vaccination passports for food service and merch people… The little guy, always screwed in America, on the front lines serving the rich, income inequality’s a bitch.

And the acts themselves don’t have to be vaccinated either! Unless it’s a festival. Yes, we all know the acts call the shots in the live business, if you don’t pay them someone else will, so you’d better cater to their demands. But the promoters have the power at festivals. The loopholes in this plan are endless I tell you!

If capacity of the venue is under 500, a note from your doctor will get you inside, you don’t need a vaccine passport. Insane!

And this talk about letting social media stars in for free, since acts are now broken on TikTok and the like? That’s ridiculous. These “influencers” are already cleaning up at the trough of Madison Avenue, they need no more incentive to whore themselves out.

Also, Amazon is finally entering the ticketing sphere, since it’s got the number one e-commerce platform, both Live Nation and AXS have dedicated 10% of the tickets for every show to Bezos’s platform. I say if Amazon doesn’t unionize, they should pull back from this. But since Bezos is involved with Patrick Whitesell’s ex, Ari Emanuel has been trying to keep the flames down, they don’t want any blowback while they’re trying to go public, even though they’ve now aligned with a SPAC to do it (not Edgar Bronfman’s new one, no). And knowing WME, who knows, they might even try to sell NFTs to raise the money. But Geiger’s now gone, so so is the cutting edge innovation. Then again, seemingly all of Marc’s cutting edge projects fail. Heard of any independent venues taking his money?

This whole project has been mismanaged in my mind. Once again, there was no media coverage, we were just delivered the result. They did not call Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene for their input, but they might as well have, this vaccine passport system is ludicrous, it’s unfair, it sounds like it escaped from the MIT Media Lab, it couldn’t possibly be created by Marciano and Rapino, no way.

But this is the new world we live in. Everybody’s so amped up to go to a show that they’ll put up with any rules just to be able to hang with their buds and shoot selfies. You think it’s about the music? Half of these newfangled acts mime anyway!

As for the older acts… They’re not going out. The Stones, the Eagles, they’re still afraid of the virus. They might do streams in the interim, to keep the public hungry and attentive, but the prices they’re talking about…the Stones are gonna use flex pricing, for a STREAM?

I don’t know where the first show under this new rubric is gonna happen, but it’s definitely gonna be in a blue state, the red states have no money, except for that which they get disproportionately from the federal government, their constituents are all on Androids, never mind different iterations of the operating system, that’s one of the reasons creators launch on iOS first, you only need to write the app once. And, of course, everybody knows that’s where the money is, with the iPhone owners.

I’m apoplectic. These wankers, the aforementioned Marciano and Rapino, cooked this up without getting everybody’s take. Shouldn’t the indie acts have had input? They’ve already been screwed by Spotify, now they’ve got to kowtow to the biggies’ concert restrictions?

I can’t wait for Universal to finally go public and buy one of these outfits, so Lucian Grainge can get the trains to run on time, where they’re supposed to go. But can Universal afford to swallow Live Nation, with its $18.5 billion market cap? A better fit would be AEG, Phil’s got to wake up and realize he’s never going to get his number and he should make a deal soon, before Biden raises taxes, after all Paul Simon got the memo, on vacation with Bob Dylan in Tierra del Fuego, yes, a G650 can make it there without a stop, and the two stars have chipped in on one, their own private NetJet arrangement. As for the location… It’s just a jump to Antarctica, where no vaccine passports are required, since everybody wears a mask, or its equivalent, and bats may have passed Covid, but there’s no evidence the penguins have it.

This is IMPORTANT, since most acts make all their money from touring these days. Michael Rapino is the most powerful person in the music business, and now that he’s got Jay on board, it’s an unstoppable juggernaut. That’s right, while everybody was focusing on Spotify, it all became about live. This system just won’t work, it’s unfair, it must be changed before shows play. I mean really…maybe the Grammy organization, or even the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, can get involved and shed light on the whole affair, transparency is everything, right?


Comments are closed