My History Of The Beatles-Part Two-SiriusXM This Week

Tune in tomorrow, Tuesday December 10th, to Volume 106, 7 PM East, 4 PM West.

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Aspen Live 2019

Actually, for twenty attendees, the conference is still going on, they couldn’t get out of town because the airport closed.

That’s Aspen.

And speaking of Aspen, yesterday Rich Burkley, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Business Development for the Aspen Skiing Company, sat down for an interview.

He said Aspen was a destination. And eighty percent of visitors are returnees. So it was about treating them right, saying yes if they complained, even if they were wrong, the key is to maintain the bond.

But the real issue is the IKON Pass.

You see there’s been consolidation in the ski business. There are now two rival companies selling cheap passes, IKON and EPIC. And as a result, more people are skiing and they’re going to dream destinations and the locals are PISSED! They want the mountains for themselves.

But Aspen is limited by its twelve thousand beds.

And the difficulty in getting there.

So why go to a conference that’s a glorified ski vacation?

Because it’s not about the panels so much as who you meet that makes conferences worthwhile. And when you ski with them…my whole social life revolves around people I’ve met in Aspen at Jim Lewi’s conference. Which used to be called the “Aspen Artist Development Conference,” but that was back in the nineties, when labels still had money to spare. So, over time it’s shifted to the live side, where all the action truly is.

That’s what I learned. There are two businesses. The label one that gets all the ink, and the live one.

Bob Roux, President of Live Nation, said his company does seven thousand shows in the U.S. a year. Sounds like a lot, and it is a lot, but there are thirty thousand shows in the country a year. Do you think they’re all from the Spotify Top 50?

No, as a matter of fact, these chartbusters are a disproportionately smaller part of the live business.

So who can sell a ticket? And who controls the ticket? Those are the two big music business questions today.

The promoters pay the artists, far more than the labels, it’s the promoters who build acts, especially those not Spotify Top 50/radio-friendly. Anybody can look at the chart and tell you what’s hot. But what is developing, what has buzz under the radar, that’s a completely different discussion.

So let’s get to the ticketing. Dave Marcus of Ticketmaster warned us about the BOSS act. Never forget that the government can’t understand ticketing, hell, even the fans can’t understand ticketing! So the brokers got in Congress’s ear and want to protect their advantage. They’re like the anti-abortion crew, they never sleep and are always pushing their cause, and if you’re not battling them each and every day, you’re gonna lose. So Marcus is trying to round up people to protect the industry’s interests, contact him, this is important.

But the dirty little secret is while the industry kicks and screams, hates the brokers, they also love them. Yup, sell them some inventory and you’ll protect yourself against loss. Cut a deal for some free inventory and offload the tickets on the brokers. It’s kinda like paperless, it turned out when the whole venue went paperless, the show didn’t sell out. So there’s a mania surrounding ticket prices, and despite all the data, a lot of guesswork is still involved.

So Ant Taylor, CEO of Lyte, is trying to beat the scalpers at their own game.

But I’m wary of outsiders gaining traction in the business. The industry does not want them to. The dirty little secret is the only profit for the promoter is in the ticketing. So…

The acts want a huge guarantee and ninety eight/two. In other words, the promoter gives the act almost all of the face value and makes it up on the ticket fees, and the ancillaries. And the fees are a way to keep money out of the artist fee, you see the artists are greedy, they want a piece of everything, which is why I’m skeptical of Lyte.

So here’s the story with Lyte… You sell your ticket to them at face value, and they have a waiting list of guaranteed buyers. The buyers cough up their credit cards for a guaranteed price, and if tickets are available, they get them.

So, Lyte monitors the brokers. For the first two weeks, prices are inflated, these are the ones you read about in the media. So Lyte waits two weeks and says it then undercuts the brokers. Yup, Lyte says its tech is better than the brokers’, but no one’s beaten the brokers’ tech yet. Try selling a ticket on StubHub, the brokers’ software will immediately underprice it. If you’re buying tickets to resell…DON’T!

But what is the incentive for the fan to cough up their ticket for face value, especially when the show is hot. Maybe a small percentage will go to charity, but…in a world of greed, where everybody’s trying to get rich, there’s no money for nothing, there are no chicks for free.

But let’s say it all works out. The uplift goes to…THE PROMOTERS! Do you think those representing A-level acts are gonna go for this? The promoters say to trust them, that the revenue will show up in the settlement, you’ll get your share… HUH? When did an act ever trust the promoter?

So Lyte had a deal with Goldenvoice for Coachella. I applaud where Lyte’s coming from, but we don’t live in a kumbaya world, and really, since the only money is in the tickets, the promoters, and Ticketmaster, do not want to give up control.

So Michael Belkin interviewed Greg Harris, CEO of the Rock Hall, and he was very impressive, he made you want to get on a plane to Cleveland.

However, we all know the nomination/election process is screwed up. I think they should have closed the doors years ago. We all know the limited number of acts that truly belong in there, just not crowd favorites. As for allowing in hip-hop, I hate the rationalization. Sure, R&B was a huge part of rock, that should not be denied, but now, as rock has essentially died, we have a new starting line and… Shouldn’t there just be a Hip-Hop Hall of Fame? Look at it this way, classical art, pre-nineteenth century, does not go into the Museum of Modern Art, it’s in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s the ROCK Hall of Fame, not the MUSIC Hall of Fame…not only keep out hip-hop, and the undeserving rockers, but the popsters too!

Then again, being an inductee has lost all credibility. Kinda like music in general, as opposed to those classic acts I referenced above.

Now this woman Becky Gardenhire, one of the heads of WME Nashville, was extremely impressive. She was interviewed by Jamie Loeb and suddenly, males felt like they were looking in as opposed to the reverse. Women talk to each other differently than they speak to men. A lot of issues were covered, Becky is making a difference.

As for Marc Ruxin, of Mixhalo…a slam dunk. You get clear sound no matter where you sit. This is happening now, at Staples, at the Park in Vegas with Aerosmith. Come on, unless you’re up close the sound in most venues is…awful. To be able to have a stream sent to your phone, the one the musicians hear? GENIUS!

As for the skiing…

It was a weak year, up until two weeks ago. But Aspen is almost completely open. On Thursday, despite the fog, we banged the powder bumps on the Back of Bell, up by Bonnie’s on Red’s.


Stop railing about exclusion from radio, from streaming services, if you’ve truly got the goods, if you can build an audience, promoters are hungry for you. Not everybody can play, but those left out make all the noise, just like those who believe they should be able to pay ten bucks to sit in the front row for Post Malone.

We’re trying to make sense in this world. Especially in an era where those invested are proffering untruths in order to protect their territory.

But they do call it the music BUSINESS!


“Buttigieg Struggles to Square Transparency With Lack of Disclosure on Consulting”

Raise your hand if you know what McKinsey is… It might as well be Blackwater!

This is what it’s come down to folks, whether you want business as usual, rule by the monied elite, or a revolution.

The Republicans had a revolution. The RNC lost control of the party. Trump won the nomination, and except for a few Never Trumpers, who don’t hold elected office, the whole party has gathered together under King Donald.

You see the rich wanted more and the poor wanted change, they were sick and tired of paying for everybody else when they couldn’t make ends meet.

Meanwhile, the Democrats argue amongst themselves, paying attention to identity politics more than big issues. That’s how Elizabeth Warren got traction, by issuing policies, by being for the little guy. Sure, she used to be a Republican, she grew up in Oklahoma for godssakes, isn’t it a badge of honor to change your mind? She saw how medical bills and bankruptcy ruptured families and she wanted change.

And the Republicans and many Democrats hate her for it. You see the ruling party, the elite, the rich, forget whether they’re on the left or the right, don’t want to lose control.

But they should.

As for Elizabeth Warren, she lost all credibility during the second debate, when she wouldn’t answer the question about how her medical plan would be paid for, suddenly she looked like every other political weasel.

So now we’ve got Mayor Pete and Bloomberg.

Last I checked, Bloomberg was a Republican, changed the law so he could serve another term as mayor and supported stop and frisk. Is this the guy you really want in charge? If he weren’t rich, would you support him? And where in his platform does it say he supports the little guy.

And make no mistake, this election is about the little guy, because he or she has no future.

Come on, did you read the story in the “Guardian” about the two Ivy League graduates who don’t have health insurance?

“We’re broke, not poor: how I became downwardly mobile – We have educations, credit cards, were raised with privilege and access – but our lives are filled with financial uncertainty”

But the papers in the U.S. don’t print these stories, because they too are part of the establishment. Believe me, the writers would rather hang with the billionaires, the powerbrokers, than the hoi polloi. The owners and publishers too!

So Buttigieg ran to the center. Did Trump run to the center? No, he ran to the edge, he was all about excitement, change, whereas the Bush anointed by the RNC barely left the starting line.

So what is happening in America today?

Most people have no idea. Because so much news has an agenda and they don’t know where to go for information anyway. And it’s worse, they’re too uneducated to understand the concepts.

But the elite, those who come from “good families,” like that rapist at Stanford who got off with barely more than a slap on the wrist, go to prep schools, go to elite universities, their parents get them jobs and we have a self-perpetuating elite that the Trumpers hate, but so many of the Democrats do too!

Who is paying for your education? Who is paying for your college applications? Does your guidance counselor even know about anything other than the state school?

So this is what the Democrats want to preserve, and this is why they’re in trouble.

We don’t want to go back to normal, we don’t want to go back to the Obama years, they weren’t that good to begin with! Yup, under Obama the Democrats lost a ton of statehouses, and allowed the Republicans to make inroads against abortion. Did you read the “New York Times” cover story about this? Absolutely horrifying.

“How a Divided Left Is Losing the Battle on Abortion”

Unless a Democrat proposes serious change, focusing foremost on income inequality and work opportunity, they’re just gonna kick the ball down the field. They’re just gonna be further behind in the next election cycle. We need change NOW!

So stop being afraid of someone moving your cheese. You went to streaming after physical, right? You gave up your landline? And if you didn’t, you’re probably supporting old Joe and his malarkey, someone most people make fun of.

So Mayor Pete can’t run his own city, the Republicans are gonna have a field day with this if he’s the nominee, never mind the issue of exciting African-Americans. But the truth is, despite being gay, despite being young, he’s truly one of them, yup, the privileged elite, who went to Harvard and became a consultant for McKinsey, which has been caught self-dealing.

It can’t be a personality choice folks. Now, more than ever, this election is one of ideas. 2016 was about pushback, now we want to move forward.

As for these vaunted centrists… Does anybody want new material by the classic rockers? Doesn’t Post Malone have his finger on the pulse more than Gene Simmons, never mind Mick Jagger?

Stop living in a fantasy. Look at your life, look at your privilege. Don’t deny it, just ask whether others should be able to become members of the club, or whether you might be able to stomach being slightly less rich.

But no, that’s anathema, you can’t sacrifice. You studied hard, you worked hard to make it, screw the opioid-addicted. But now the opioid-addicted have contempt for the elite, and the Sackler family…no one will even accept their charitable donations, that’s how fast the screw turns, and most people are pissed the bankers did not pay for breaking the economy back in 2008.

So ask what the country needs, what you truly want. If it’s business as usual, you’re part of the problem. If you believe there can be mutual agreement, you haven’t paid attention to the Republicans’ squealing about impeachment.

The times have changed. Either you’re part of the solution or get out of the way.

Sure, everybody has the chance to be on reality TV, to be a rapper, but that’s not where the money or the power is anymore.

This is war. We’re on the precipice of a changed society. Either we tackle the big issues now, or forget it, hope that your money will carry you through.

Meanwhile, better have a wall around your property.

It takes only one match to start a conflagration. Look at the Arab Spring, started by a fruit vendor!

It can happen here. You want to get ahead of the people, or else you’ll have a disaster, like the record labels disrupted by Napster.

So the media said there can be no Medicare For All, that Warren is too out there, never mind Bernie. And just like fake ads on Facebook, this message has impact. I was out with family and they supported Biden, because Warren was too extreme. Did they want cheaper and better health care, did they think the rich should pay more taxes? OF COURSE! Welcome to 2019, where not only Republicans vote against their own interests.

Just like Trump, the Democrats have to turn over the table, think about the rank and file.


They’re history.

Tom Corson-This Week’s Podcast

Tom Corson is the co-chairman and chief operating officer of Warner Records. Listen…