Springsteen’s Silence

He can’t say ANYTHING!

As pissed as the fans might be, Bruce himself is completely devastated. How did this HAPPEN???

Forget the money, the hit to Bruce’s image is priceless. Most acts would never completely recover, thank god he’s 72. Most acts would immediately fire the manager. Someone’s got to take the blame, someone’s got to walk the plank.

Please look at this as inside baseball. We’ll get to the fans.

Bruce is going on the road. Not only does he not want to give the uplift to scalpers, Ticketmaster says they have a system to foil them. They say they’re experienced, they’ve done it multiple times, it will be no problem.

Does Bruce know all the ins-and-outs of going on the road? You’d be surprised what musicians don’t know. I could cite chapter and verse. Like there are a hundred cents in the dollar of publishing, how much do you get? I regularly talk to household names who can’t fathom this. Well, if the publisher owns the publishing, they get fifty cents and as the writer you get fifty cents. But if you own the publishing, you get a dollar minus an administrative fee. Seems simple, doesn’t it? Or the difference between on demand and user picked streaming royalties. They continue to complain online when it’s the lower radio rate and furthermore, they don’t own the publishing and they wrote the song with other people. All they know is they’re getting ripped-off.

If you haven’t been ripped-off you’re not a musician. When it comes down to it, they trust almost no one. In many cases not even the manager.

But Bruce has a long history with Jon Landau. He figures Jon is looking out for his best interests, their views are aligned.

Jon Landau is 75 years old. How tech-savvy do you think he is? Maybe more than most people his age, but if you know 75 year olds…you’ve probably helped them with their smartphone, and you may have even told them to plug their electronics in.

Furthermore, Bruce is Landau’s only superstar client. And Bruce has been out of the market for half a decade. How experienced is Landau here?

Which is why managers should consult with their lawyers before they make a touring deal, with someone who makes deals on a regular basis. You’ve got to be in the game to understand the landscape.

So, Landau is probably just as naive as Bruce. But Ticketmaster is in the business every damn day, so he trusts what they say, that their system should work.

As for raw ticket prices…

Don’t tell me Bruce has enough money. You obviously don’t know rich people. They’re constantly whipping their members out, they’re constantly comparing themselves to each other. You took the G4? Well, I took the 650!

I’ll tell you one of my favorite stories on this. I was riding the bus from Snowmass to Aspen with Marc Reiter, part of Metallica’s management team. And we’re wondering whether we’ll make it to our destination in time. And Marc looks at his watch and he says “Well, wheels up at 4:30.”

And I laughingly give him a hard time about his use of private jet talk.

But then I tell Marc, you know we were flying from New Orleans to L.A. on NetJet and the plane came with a flight attendant! Yes, NetJet shuffles the aircraft, sometimes they have to get a plane from here to there, so you end up with more capacity than you need. And Marc turns to me, dead serious, and says DON’T THEY ALWAYS COME WITH A FLIGHT ATTENDANT?

Well, the planes Metallica hires do.

Bruce wants to be able to hang with the other superstars and not only feel equal, but hopefully better. As for being a man of the people… Do you know how hard it is to make it? All the trials and tribulations? You couldn’t do it, almost no one could. You want the winnings.

And you want to beat the scalpers.

But, Ticketmaster had never dealt with an act doing such an underplay with fans who wanted to see multiple shows. And since Bruce and Jon are not tech-savvy, they had no idea the algorithm could go out of control, they didn’t even think of capping ticket prices. So, the ticket goes up a couple of hundred bucks, better we get the money than the scalpers. As for the ultimate multiple four figure prices? They didn’t even contemplate this, they did not foresee this. Someone making their money in Silicon Valley would have seen it right away, but despite Ticketmaster being a public company, so much of the music business is still street. Sophistication is not a feature. Muscle, attitude and money are.

So now what is Bruce supposed to do?

He can’t make a public statement. I don’t care what he says, that’s like pouring gasoline on the fire. Most people don’t care about this kerfuffle, and they weren’t even aware. There’s a bit more news today, but the story is going to die out very soon. And many people will never even remember the details. Especially those who go to the show and enjoy it.

But if Bruce says ANYTHING, it will be international news, in all publications, on all websites, and they’ll rehash all the details and…THE PUBLIC WILL STILL NOT BE SATISFIED!

You can’t satisfy the fans, it’s absolutely impossible.

The fan not only believes they should get a front row seat for a cheap price, they believe they should be able to do anything with the ticket they want to.

Yes, if they buy four and want to scalp one, so be it. You can’t take their right away, they’re going to scream. As a matter of fact, they have. Which is why you have these state laws preventing the promoter from controlling the fate of the ticket. It’s a sophisticated business, and lawmakers don’t understand it.

Well, let’s go paperless. Believe me, the public hates that too. But the scalpers see it as no problem. If you need to enter with a credit card, they just use a cheap disposable one. If you need a driver’s license, no problem. The scalper buys four tickets at $250, sells three for $2000, walks the clients in and then leaves, burning his own ticket, but he doesn’t care, he still made $5,000.

Or, you could tie the ticket to the individual. But what if one individual buys four tickets and their sister gets sick and their brother wants to go instead. Well, if the name has to be on the ticket the fan is screwed. Never mind that he or she might have always planned to scalp one or two tickets.

So, to beat the scalpers, to beat the bots, you’ve got to tie every single ticket to a very specific individual. So, think of the purchase shenanigans. You have to know who you’re going with when you buy the tickets. And you can’t change the name. You can sell your ticket back to the promoter for face value, but you got up at 10 AM, you got the code in advance, you verified your fandom, you’re entitled to that ticket!

The only way around all this is to charge what the tickets are worth.

But they’re worth so much the fans will still bitch. They bitch no matter what!

As for Ticketmaster taking all the heat… They screwed up with their algorithm, but they do nothing, NOTHING without Bruce and Jon’s approval.

The fault lies at the feet of Bruce.

And all he can do is stay silent and hope it all blows over. It’s killing him not to say anything, but in a world where people are unaware of mass events, almost everything fades away, like school shootings. Name the last three big shootings, I dare you. Sure, you can, but most people? They don’t even know who their Senators are!

This is not the seventies. Music is mature. Bruce and the rest of the aging boomer superstars mainly go on the road to get that hit, have that wave of applause roll over them when they take the stage. You can’t get that anywhere else, and they NEED IT! Otherwise they would not have pursued this line of work to begin with.

As for the money…

As they say in the music business, it’s not about the money… IT’S ABOUT THE MONEY!

This won’t happen again. Not for Bruce, probably not for any other act. Bruce was the guinea pig. He is suffering the losses.

Do I think Bruce is evil? No. I don’t even think that Ticketmaster is evil. The company is just providing a service.

Bruce just wants what he’s entitled to. He’s giving so much, multi-hour shows, with around a dozen people on stage. What more do you want?

In an era when many people his age are already retired, living a life of leisure, Bruce is out on the road, working for YOU! And I don’t care if you take the private jet and stay at the Four Seasons it’s still a slog. And by time you hit your seventies the women and booze are deep in the rearview mirror.

It’s a job.

Are you willing to leave any of your salary on the table, for the good of those less wealthy?

Are you willing to pay more taxes?

Most people want every single buck they believe they’re entitled to.

But when Bruce does this, feels the same way, NO, HE’S NOT ENTITLED!

So, Bruce made a mistake. Steve Ballmer bought Nokia for Microsoft and brought it down to near zero and still had enough money to buy the L.A. Clippers with billions left over. Believe me, Bruce doesn’t have anywhere near the money that Ballmer has. Or Bezos. Can Bruce afford a yacht that big? No, he has to sail on David Geffen’s, he’s a guest, which means you’re automatically a second-class citizen, paying fealty, you want YOUR OWN YACHT! Which is why you want all the money, you don’t want others making bank on your hard work.

Welcome to America. Welcome to capitalism.

You only want to go to the show because Bruce slaved for years to hone and sustain an act that interests you. No one is forcing you to buy a ticket. This is not a gulag, you have freedom of choice.

There are so many questions, so many avenues of discussion. If Bruce says one word it will be endless, and he can’t win. Think of OAN. Think of the crackpots asking presidents questions. Same deal with Bruce.

This was a learning experience. It won’t happen again. You can’t enter the future unless you take a risk and try. This is the history of rock and roll, innovation. Did Bruce blow it here? Of course! And believe me, he’s paying the price, not in dollars, but reputation. I’m sure he’d like to give all the money back and start all over if he could.

But he can’t.

And neither can you.

There are lessons to be learned here, stop complaining and pay attention.

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