Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why Direct Ticketing Is A Tough Sell

Louis C.K. image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
I think if you asked 100 concert goers if they liked using Ticketmaster to purchase tickets you'd get at least 99 "no" replies. After all, we all hate convenience fees and the fact that the ticket brokers get all the good seats first (not to mention the ridiculous service charge for printing your own ticket). So why can't acts just do direct ticketing themselves, and bypass the electronic ticketing services?

It turns out that's not an easy thing to do, as outlined by Louis C.K., who after some tribulation, seems to have pulled it off.

It turns out that most of the really prime venues have deals already in place with Ticketmaster, so they're contractually obligated to use them for every event. Louis found a way around it though, and found a number of theaters who would play ball, so they effectively are taking a chance on each other.

The next thing is that the secondary ticket market (meaning ticket brokers) is thriving and no one wants to upset the applecart. LCK once again tries to get around that by setting a flat rate of $45 for each ticket that can be purchased by a credit card directly from his site. What is new is that LCK holds the right to cancel any ticket if it's found that it's been resold, which could leave the secondary market dead in its tracks. In effect, he's just trying to cut out the middlemen who buy the tickets with the express idea of flipping them for a profit, maybe even from thousands of miles away.

That said, it's a tough way to do business by bucking the system. Being an artist is tough and most don't want to add another layer of complexity to their already complex lives. You have to hand it to Louis CK for looking out for his audience and trying his best to do the right thing though.

On another closely related subject, after much complaining about $13 beers, LiveNation has instituted a new $5 beer policy. As with everything in the concert business these days, it's important to read the fine print before you purchase.

* it's only good for certain shows
* it requires a $13 purchase with an $8 rebate
* it requires purchase of Miller Lite or equivalent
* it requires pre-qualifying $40 premium parking pass

It's too much to expect any kind of deal from a big faceless corporation like LiveNation. Unfortunately, this is what the live music business has become.

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