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Strike Against Ticketmaster/LiveNation and Sing “Freedom!”

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A dark cloud has rolled over the cultural landscape with the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation into one massive lord of the overpriced ticketing realm.  Ticketmaster is already infamous for its hefty “convenience fees,” but its clout is such that even when bands like Pearl Jam have tried to take a stand, they always have to come crawling back, because there just was not enough room for them to negotiate.  The merger with their only remotely similar competitor, however, brings the price-gouging juggernaut too far. I am a fan of tunes, and even more of a fan of seeing live music.  I also believe that the apex of artistry comes from live performance, and that musicians ought to make their real earthly treasure from performance, not selling canned music.  This merger unfortunately backs performing artists into a corner: if they grow successful enough to play larger venues, they almost certainly will run into the LiveTicketNationMaster cartel. Those musicians who make their fame and living by touring hard and letting fans tape their shows to trade freely ought to join together in the name of music as a form of cultural expression and do something about this.  What if a critical mass of performing artists said “no way” to performing in venues paying tribute to the ticket giant?  I read an interview with virtuoso guitarist Derek Trucks some years back in which he predicted this exact same problem arising, and said something like “but if we have to play in people’s back yards to keep live music going, then that is exactly what we’ll do.”  Unfortunately Derek has not yet taken a stand on that claim. This must happen.  Content and media conglomerates have already fenced off whole cultural pastimes that used to be a free, shared part of the human experience.  If those artists who truly drive musical innovation and command a large and dedicated fanbase took a stand in partnership with smaller community venues, we could see a serious alternative arise to Ticketmaster.  It could start with actual people with (big) backyards hosting bands for concerts with minimal overhead, while bands refuse to play at “compromised” TicketNation venues.  While that movement takes off, community venues can negotiate together to offer attractive, low-cost packages to sidestep Ticketmaster-LiveNation and provide a space for a new community that celebrates the best part of the old music culture: affordable concerts, good places for artists and fans to develop something together, and ultimately a higher proliferation of musical acts that are able to draw a higher number of fans. Music makers of the world unite!
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Written by Preston

February 8th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

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One Response to 'Strike Against Ticketmaster/LiveNation and Sing “Freedom!”'

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  1. Another thing I agree with you on, Preston. I think we’re up to two.

    But the tactics you propose will never work.

    Musicians and venues will not organize to battle Ticketmaster because they have more to lose than to gain.

    Fans could organize by simply not buying tickets, but fewer fans buying tickets, for what would only be a short period of time (a la “nobody buy gas for a day to stick it to those oil companies) will hardly make a scratch in ticket sales. It will only mean fewer people who are willing to buy tickets not getting a hold of them. And again, fans have more to lose than gain, in the short run, from boycotting Ticketmaster events.

    The only realistic way to combat the Ticketmaster jerk-offs is by adding value in areas they are unable or unwilling to do so, ie a new business model for ticket sales that Ticketmaster cannot compete with. Its the mom-and-pop vs. Wal-Mart problem. Competitive contracts with venues, more efficient ticket delivery systems, exclusive contracts with bands (which is problematic because Ticketmaster has exclusive contracts with many large venues, which would mean bands who have exclusive contracts with PrestonTickets would not play those venues. Another problem is that bands do not book venues, venues book bands. Reducing the number of possible venues bands are willing to play draws less competitive offers, and hurts the musicians. Why would musicians give up their groupies and free drugs to make tickets for fans $10 cheaper?), and most of all, balls. As aggressive as TM is toward their customers, I am sure they are much more so toward their competitors.

    The only way the TM problem can be solved is from the business side.

    Or, perhaps, universal ObamaAudio concert-going legislation.

    Sean

    15 Apr 10 at 00:17

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