All-In Ticketing

Ticketmaster is committed. All dates that play after January 1st will be all-in. This will end customer confusion. They will only see one price. The main reason Live Nation is doing this is to cut the FTC off at the pass. Michael Rapino learned this from Daniel Ek. You get ahead of the customer, that’s the only way to win. Rapino offered Ek a board seat, but Daniel refused it, he’s fighting his own battles of misinformation.

As for Robert Smith… Like a typical artist, he doesn’t know his own business. Acts can always negotiate the fees, not down to zero, but if you can sell tickets, you have negotiating power. Why he and his manager didn’t know this is beyond me. But this is what happened with Springsteen, he tours infrequently and he and Jon Landau were not up to speed on managing ticket prices and they got caught with their pants down. However, the Boss seems to have dodged a bullet, his fans are going to the show and are happy.

As for Cure tickets for $20. In the big city that’s how much it costs to go to a movie, and if you want to pick your seat it’s even more. Kick back, should you be entitled to see the Cure for twenty bucks? What next, a pastrami sandwich for $1.95? That’s the seventies man, and concert tickets were twenty bucks in the eighties. But rationality…how can we get it in ticketing when we can’t even get it in politics? What we need are ticketing schools. Or maybe even a ticketing Zoom, which will live online forever, informing the public how ticketing really works. Congress can watch too!

Not that Congress is really a factor here. It investigates, the elected officials grandstand and do nothing. But the FTC, led by activist Lina Khan, that’s a worry to Live Nation, which of course owns Ticketmaster. Like I said above, Ticketmaster wants to get ahead of the game.

Right now it’s about public image. Because image is more important than reality in today’s market. So Daniel Ek may not have taken a seat on the board, but Robert Smith was offered a chair and he has taken it. As for the rumor there’s also going to be a public citizen on the board…this is a good idea, but it was nixed by Greg Maffei, chairman of Live Nation.

So how is this going to work?

Well, the window is shortened too. Ticketmaster will not sell tickets for any dates that play more than six months out. So fans won’t complain about the interest on their money. And this shortened time period is a benefit to them, because there are better odds they will know their schedule.

As for pricing ceiling… No ticket outside the first ten rows will sell for more than $500 for five years. I know that sounds high, but think of those Springsteen tickets that were listed for thousands. Maffei got this idea from SiriusXM, where he is also chairman. During his tenure running the satellite radio company Mel Karmazin guaranteed there would never ever be commercials on the music channels, so the ticketing plan was based on this. As for scalpers…

Five percent of tickets for every show will be sold directly to scalpers. They will be numbered and easily identifiable. There will always be people who want to overpay just to be in the building and they must be satisfied. The scalpers will do this. They also take the risk of ending up with worthless tickets, but that’s the game they’re in. If the scalpers sell any ticket that is not connected directly to them, they will be kicked out of the system. Yes, every scalper will be licensed, and their books audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

As for the rest of the public… All tickets will now be digital, attached to your phone. And you can resell them on the Ticketmaster site for the exact same price. No fees will be attached to resale, Ticketmaster gave in to the acts on this.

The acts are not happy with all-in ticketing. But Live Nation keeps them alive, it pays much more than record companies, so the promotion company has leverage. The acts like fees. The acts take essentially all of the ticket’s face value, the promoter making his money up on the fees, and everybody blames Ticketmaster. That’s now history.

As for AEG… If you noticed, AEG didn’t sign on to the Fair Ticketing Act. And AEG is not going all-in right now either. AEG is having such success with the Zach Bryan tour ticketing that it is going to continue down that path.

As for Verified Fan, that goes by the wayside. Ticketmaster has partnered with TikTok to verify the address and phone number of each and every potential concertgoer in the United States, the data will be crunched and it will be known exactly who ticket purchasers are. You will not have a chip under your skin to get in, but Jim Dolan’s facial recognition software will be employed at tight gigs. If it can keep lawyers out of Madison Square Garden, it can keep out bad acting concertgoers using illegal tickets too.

So how can you break up Live Nation and Ticketmaster when the company is the only one being proactive and actually trying to solve the problems in the ticketing world?

But enough is never enough. For every sold-out show there will be a lottery, enter your name and you might win a free ticket to the gig. This is kind of like the fan vote in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. People are constantly bitching they can’t get in the building, never mind at a fair price. This solves that. And the seats will always be good, because they will be made up of artist holds. As for how many tickets will be given away… Negotiations between Live Nation and the acts has resulted in the guaranteed number of four. But you’d be surprised, shows that are supposed to be sold out are not, and this will be a way to paper the show if in truth all tickets have not been sold. Of course you’re going to have to cough up your data to participate in the lottery, you pay for everything in the digital world, and if it’s not cash, it’s with your personal information. Everybody’s going to sign up for the lottery and the phone numbers and addresses as well as photographs will ultimately allow Live Nation to cut down on ticketing shenanigans.

But to truly satiate fans, Garth Brooks has convinced Rapino to lean on his clients to do residencies, until demand is satiated in every market. Superstars are biting, because they hate the travel. Although it is a lot of work.

So what else do you want? Scalping is limited, and works for those who want to overpay, and not only are hidden fees eliminated, but you even have a chance of getting in free! Even the most vocal superfan can’t complain, and it’s always a few nuts making the most noise anyway.

So hate on Ticketmaster no more. Ticketmaster is your friend, Ticketmaster is making change, to your benefit. The acts can no longer blame the ticketing company. Hallelujah!

Maybe… Because there is the issue of Ticketmaster paying buildings for exclusives. Competitors don’t like this. But it looks like a deal is being brokered. Wherein Ticketmaster will have exclusives, but there will be no guarantees and limited fees. The numbers haven’t been revealed, but they’re coming.

All on a Friday night no less.

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