Ticketmaster CEO Azoff On Scalping, Er, Dynamic Pricing

Having lost our Worst Company in America contest to AIG, Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff today accepted as his consolation prize an on-stage interview with The Wall Street Journal’s Kara Swisher at the annual D conference. A long-time talent manager, Azoff was introduced via video by Eagle Joe Walsh who joked that Azoff has “a beautiful house that we bought him.” Then things took a turn for the worse.

Azoff reiterated his oft-quoted comment that he wouldn’t have purchased TicketsNow if he had been CEO at the time of the deal. His rationale: Artists don’t get any money from resellers like TicketsNow. As Azoff sees it, “dynamic pricing” of tickets is fine, as long as musicians (and, presumably, their managers) are able to share in the take.

The CEO brushed aside complaints from artists such as Bruce Springsteen that Ticketmaster abuses its near-monopoly power over the concert-ticket business, saying that “everything we do revolves around what’s good for the artist and what’s good for the fan. That’s our new model.” Pushed for more details, Azoff made it clear who he thinks is really the boss: “I would say that Bruce is uninformed about the potential of what this could be for him.”

“We haven’t done enough dynamic pricing for tickets, and we should, and that will help make people happy,” he said. We assume those happy people will include Irving Azoff and, oh, Irving Azoff. And, conceivably, anyone willing to pay a premium for tickets. The rest of us may just have to face a Tenth Avenue freeze out. Or worse. In response to one audience question, Azoff warned that “we have to keep the press from chastising artists that use dynamic pricing.” Good luck with that.

Irving Azoff, CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment [All Things D]
D7 Video: Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff and Kara Swisher

RELATED:
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Ticketmaster Tries To Evade California Law By Calling “Gift Card” A “Discount Card”
Who’s Scalping Those Concert Tickets? Artists And Agents, Frequently
Ticketmaster Agrees To Stop Linking To TicketsNow

(Photo: nerdy girl)

Comments

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  1. emmpee9 says:

    What’s wrong with paying market price for tickets, exactly? Capitalism and all that. If you don’t like it, vote with your wallet.

    • xoxor says:

      @emmpee9:

      Absolutely nothing. Just don’t bitch when it happens to your gasoline, prescriptions — err — nevermind. Already happening.

      • emmpee9 says:

        @xoxor: Surely you see the difference between price controls on prescription medications and concert tickets.

        • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

          @emmpee9: Does that have anything to do with what goes on backstage off a mirror and/or hooker’s ass? Oh, wait, PRESCRIPTION medications. Nevermind.

        • DanielleTexodus says:

          @emmpee9: Surely you see that a monopoly is a monopoly and it doesn’t matter what industry it is in.

    • Darrone says:

      @emmpee9: Capitalism only works in a fair market. Ticketmaster (and to some extent LiveNation, yay merger) have a stranglehold. You don’t want to use them? Your band can’t go on tour.

      • TheFlamingoKing says:

        @Darrone: You’re not serious, are you?

        I saw a band last week without having to pay Ticketmaster or LiveNation a cent. Therefore, bands can tour without these companies’ permission.

        • Shaggy says:

          @TheFlamingoKing: Where did you see that band? At a bar, or small, out of the way venue? I know it wasn’t a large venue, because almost all of them have exclusivity deals with Ticketmaster/LiveNation.

          Ticketmaster has locked up all the most profitable venues and events. So, yeah, a band can tour without Ticketmaster, just like it’s possible for me to walk from my home (near Detroit) to Florida. Just because it’s possible doesn’t mean that it’s viable, or even a good option.

          • TheFlamingoKing says:

            @Shaggy: Oh, I’m sorry. That was unclear. Darrone asserted that “your band can’t go on tour” because of the Ticketmaster “stranglehold”. That statement was proven false.

            Now, if you want to put limits that say “If you’re a top 50 RIAA artist and you want to play in specific large venues that are part of Ticketmaster’s network” then you may be correct.

            Also, at no point to you explain why the band must perform at the “most profitable venues and events”, unless the whole thing is just to maximize profit – in which case, offering a band “dynamic pricing” is perfect. The band just wants to sell each ticket for as much money as they can because it’s about the money, not the fans or the show.

            • Shaggy says:

              @TheFlamingoKing: Also, at no point to you explain why the band must perform at the “most profitable venues and events”, unless the whole thing is just to maximize profit – in which case, offering a band “dynamic pricing” is perfect. The band just wants to sell each ticket for as much money as they can because it’s about the money, not the fans or the show.

              And that would work if the band was the one in charge. It isn’t that Ticketmaster is “offering” the bands anything; they tell the band what they’re going to do. And if the band wants to make a living, they’ll comply.

              It’s becoming clear that you don’t really understand the situation, or how the music industry works. I was a professional musician for almost 10 years; dealing with venues and playing shows was how I put food on my table. Ticketmaster is a monopoly, pure and simple. They don’t operate in the bands’ best interest, nor in the venues’ best interest; in fact, most of the time, they’re screwing over both to put a little more money in their pocket.

        • Darrone says:

          @TheFlamingoKing: Where did u see them, a local bar? Ticketmaster has exclusivity deals with most major venues. If the venue is big enough for a national tour, then you can’t play there without wetting Ticketmaster’s beak. You’re a stadium owner that wants to avoid Ticketmaster? well then, they won’t let the bands they do business with play your venue. A fan who doesnt want to deal with TM? you’re shit out of luck.

          • lvhotrain says:

            @Darrone: I have been discovering some of the local music as well as once in a while going to see some past their prime artists that I loved 10 years ago. I don’t mind paying $20 – $30 / ticket for 3+ “name” artists and a 3+ hour show. See TM, some of us do vote with our wallets!

        • Megalomania says:

          @TheFlamingoKing: @TheFlamingoKing: What Ticketmaster does is that they sign exclusivity contracts with VENUES. You are locked out of hundreds of halls and stadiums if you do not agree to sell your soul to ticketmaster and screw your fans. Then the proceeds are split between the venue owners and ticketmaster leaving the fans and the artists out in the cold.

    • GenerousHelpingOf_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @emmpee9: The problem is that you can’t pay market price if the tickets aren’t there. If the artists reserve a block of tickets, then turn around and sell them after all the others have sold out, which they did quicker due to the diminished supply by reserving them, how is that “fair”?

      • emmpee9 says:

        @GenerousHelpingOf_GitEmSteveDave: Market Price != “Price printed on the ticket”.

        As far as I’m concerned, the band/venue/ticketmaster (basically whoever is running the concert) can sell tickets in any quantity, manner, timeline, etc they want. After all, it’s THEIR concert. Not yours. Don’t like it? Vote with your wallet.

        • bearymore says:

          @emmpee9:

          Ticketmaster is a monopoly. If a band doesn’t want to follow Ticketmaster’s dictates, it won’t find a venue in which to play simply because there is no alternative.

          You can’t vote with your wallet in a one-party state.

    • nakedscience says:

      @emmpee9: There isn’t any competition, though. And most people can’t or won’t pay tons of money to go to a concert. Only rich people. So basically us normal folk will never get to see concerts. Yay. Not.

      But, again, no competition means it’s not capitalism.

    • Elcheecho says:

      @emmpee9: natural monopolies should be regulated when prices are much higher than average cost. err, or something…

    • kmw2 says:

      @emmpee9: Nothing’s wrong with paying market price. The problem is that a monopoly (like TicketMaster, which sells all tickets for basically every large venue and a high proportion of smaller ones, and which also controls a good portion of the secondary market through StubHub) is nothing like market pricing in the first place. Market price isn’t just whatever the seller feels like charging, it’s the point where as many people want to sell tickets as want to buy them. Ticketmaster sets their prices higher than this point, then tacks on fees on the top of that. That means that fewer tickets are sold at a higher price than would otherwise be sold. Except for a few top acts, that means that bands play to half-empty halls and fans can’t afford tickets. (Well, with top acts fans still can’t afford tickets.) Bad for the bands, bad for the fans, good for TicketMaster though!

    • Raiders757 says:

      @emmpee9:

      I do vote with my wallet, and hardly ever go to concerts anymore. It’s a shame others won’t do the same.

      What’s the problem with paying “market price”?!!! The problem is by paying that price, one helps contribute to the greed that has all but destroyed the concert industry and kept ticket prices so high.

      No concert, by any band, should cost as much as what’s being asked these days, and the excuses by the industry aren’t adding up to the price of the ticket. They haven’t for over a decade now.

      The only way to stop it, is to somehow convince the morons who have no problem blowing over $100 a ticket for a concert, to stop. Sadly these people are just way too dense to see the logic behind such things.

    • etru says:

      Pure monopoly. I have studied the Sherman Act more than I care to remember (Antitrust was a bitch). And to add insult to injury we have this pretend company to artificially raise the price, as if the monopoly were not enough. This is criminal — and I mean that literally. Someone above made a free-market statement along the lines of “if you cant afford a BMW don’t get one.” At least I have the option to price a Benz or any other car – not so here.

      • razremytuxbuddy says:

        @etru: Great comment. Additionally, it seems to me that most concert venues are public property, built and paid for by local taxpayers, often through a special tax levied on top of the other taxes consumers pay. Government officials then contractually delegate venue management responsibilities to private management companies, who then grant an exclusive ticket distribution deal usually to Ticketmaster. Every key figure in this chain of responsibility somehow makes a “determination” that this is all in the interest of the community and the venue. The rewards and compensation structure for this network of relationships is not always transparent to the taxpayer.

        As for those who say let ticket prices and resale opportunities be dictated by the market, I can point to a variety of items that are sold with restrictions on resale, ranging from certain securities to bulk-packaged items that are marked “not to be sold separately.” The fact is, when a monopoly such as Ticketmaster is in the driver’s seat, controls are necessary to make it fair.

    • Framling says:

      @emmpee9: You know what? I AM gonna vote with my wallet!

      In fact, you’ve inspired me! I’m also going to tell all my friends about how vile of a company TicketMaster is. And maybe if find an article or news story about some vile thing they’ve said or done, I’ll send it to some sort of pro-consumer blog or something! And then many people from all over the world can discuss the vile actions of this vile company!

      I’m sure all those people, being upstanding and intelligent folk, will understand that even though the industry in which a vile company builds and enforces a tyrannical, sociopathic monopoly that hurts everyone who interacts with it in any capacity isn’t an industry that people need for their basic survival, it’s still reasonable to call that company out for being a poxy, seeping sore on the face of one of the most culturally significant industries in our society.

    • David Mobley says:

      @emmpee9: When the ‘market’ is a monopoly, there’s something very wrong.

      Who’s setting the prices? The consumer sure isn’t and that’s when the market price discussion works. If it’s a single company monopolizing a venue and setting these prices… you’re not winning. You’re never winning.

      Combine that with the concept that scalping significantly reorganizes the market into something that doesn’t resemble actual sales and actual market prices you end up with a very cloudy, very complicated picture that nobody can reliably say actually reflects market “value” since supply is sketchy at best.

      There’s no competition to drive prices to a negative level, only artificial scarcity to drive them up. Ever been to an actual concert? Where I’m at, most of the bigger shows are around %75 of capacity when sold out because the “market” (scalpers) bought the venue out and then failed to re-sell the tickets even at sub-face values.

      Who won? The consumer sure didn’t because plenty of people didn’t pay market price, they paid inflated monopoly prices because of the artificial lack of supply created by the secondary market. Unfortunately for everyone, scalping prices are often such that even if a scalper only sells half his inventory it makes a profit. scalpers win, venues win, ticketmaster wins… consumers ultimately lose.

      Go ahead vote with your wallet and stay home from the concerts that you could otherwise have afforded if things weren’t completely fucked in the market of ticket sales. You’re not actually doing anything at all to help anything.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        @David Mobley:

        Interesting, because I’ve been to a whole bunch of concerts where the cheapest aftermarket tickets were $200, and the house was packed. I can only remember being at one “sold out” show where I saw more than a handful of empty seats, and I guess the scalpers took a bath on that one.

  2. Nighthawke says:

    Oh, and a Boot To The Head prize for Azoff too…

  3. GenerousHelpingOf_GitEmSteveDave says:

    I just heard something on the local radio about either Springstein’s or Jovi’s concert at Giant Stadium already having HUGE ticket prices, due to the “expected demand”. Makes me feel dirty thinking about it.

  4. sweetnjoe says:

    Ticketmaster does NOT set the prices for events. Nor is it responsible for what people do with them once they are purchased. Ticketmaster also does not make set the amount for the fees per ticket, the artist does and the venue does. Regardless Ticketmaster DOES have to make money, its a business after all. They have employees to pay and costs to run it. So all this hate seems ridiculous to me. If someone doesn’t like their “monopoly” they can go to the boxoffice directly or start their own ticket company. It’s not TM’s fault.

    • GenerousHelpingOf_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @sweetnjoe: So how do you explain TicketMaster selling tickets to “sold out” events on a site they owned at inflated prices? Where did they get the tickets from?

      • TheFlamingoKing says:

        @GenerousHelpingOf_GitEmSteveDave: Um, the artists…

        Check the links in the article above.
        [consumerist.com]

        To be more clear: The artists are holding thousands of tickets and then selling them on ticket websites for more cash. Not really Ticketmaster’s fault – more like they’re helping the artists deceive the fans that love them so.

    • TheWillow says:

      @sweetnjoe: 1) many (probably most) venues don’t have their own box offices anymore, and if they do, they are run by ticketmaster and you pay TM fees.

      2) Many (most) venues have deals with ticketmaster so if your band wants to play a venue without ticketmaster, you are going to be playing at your friend’s basement – and you may not be able to play a ticketmaster venue in another city later on.

      3) Many (most) venues have a deal with ticketmaster so if you want to start your own ticket company, you are going to be selling tickets to your friend’s basement.

      Certainly, there are a few alternatives to Ticketmaster out there, but none of them are really feasible for a big name artist. And none of them ever will be, as long as Ticketmaster has a stranglehold on the available product.

    • gtrietsc says:

      @sweetnjoe:

      Uh, explain this to me then. Why do I have to pay a fee to print out my tickets to U2 on MY printer using MY paper and MY ink, but they will mail them to me for free? Shouldnt it be the reverse, if its about covering their costs?

      • sweetnjoe says:

        @gtrietsc: That’s another story entirely, and an actual business practice of theirs. I’m sure they know by now most people are NOW NOW NOW people and want their tickets ASAP, so, yes, of course they’re gonna make money off of idiots that way.

        You would do it too if you had a business, and if you said you wouldn’t, you’d be lying.

        Barely anyone uses mail anymore when they have their own printer to print tickets. People that do use mail are the smart ones.

    • secret_curse says:

      @sweetnjoe: If you walk to the box office of the venue, you’re still buying tickets from Ticketmaster. And you can’t start your own ticket company. TM has exclusivity agreements with all of the major venues in the country. You can’t mount a national tour in venues that hold more than about 2,000 people without going through Ticketmaster. It’s simply not possible because TM has exclusive contracts with every single venue. Look into the Pearl Jam lawsuit in the last 90s. Pearl Jam, one of the biggest bands in the world at the time, tried to mount a national tour without Ticketmaster and couldn’t do it. I honestly don’t understand how they lost their suit, but I’d imagine it goes back to the money and power that TM has.

      @TheFlamingoKing: It’s not the artists selling the tickets on StubHub just minutes after the tickets go on sale. Google “Bruce Springsteen ticketmaster” for more info.

      • sweetnjoe says:

        @secret_curse:

        @secret_curse: Not every venue… where are you getting your facts? That’s complete bull that’s coming out of your ass. You really have no clue.

        And yes it IS the artists selling tix minutes after the onsale – and promoters – and management. We’re not idiots. Bruce can say whatever he wants to say, but it’s true that artists can make a killing off of scalping, and they do. How everyone manages to back up their favorite artists instead of seeing the light is completely beyond me. It’s a deceptive practice when artists KNOW what they can make with customer and deliberately decide to lower their own prices to gauge the market scalping their own tix.

        Are you really that dense?

        • veronykah says:

          @sweetnjoe: Not sure if this is part of everyone else’s point but I honestly don’t care what an artist wants to charge for the ticket. Its their commodity, they can choose the price. What has made me quit buying the tickets is the FEES ticketmaster and livenation charge on tickets that work out to sometimes 50% of the cost of the original ticket under the supposed guise of “convenience” fees.
          I find nothing convenient about paying for a ticket and waiting for it in line at will call. If I could save the fees and buy a ticket without them, directly from the box office I would. I’m happy to give money to my favorite artists, but ticketmaster? No thanks.

          • NeverLetMeDown says:

            @veronykah:

            If you don’t want to pay the fees, don’t. If enough people won’t pay the fees, the bands won’t sell out Ticketmaster venues, and they’ll start to avoid them, and the venues will pressure Ticketmaster to either change their fees, or the venue will switch to another provider.

            That’s completely your right. It’s NOT your right to say “I don’t want to pay the fees, and I’m going to prevent anyone else who’s willing to pay the fees from doing so.”

        • secret_curse says:

          @sweetnjoe: Okay, first, I don’t even like Bruce Springsteen. But I appreciate that he’s trying to do something about Ticketmaster moving tickets to his shows from ticketmaster.com over to TicketsNow where $95 tickets were selling for up to $700, with the extra $800 in profit going straight to Ticketmaster. Fans were even being directed from ticketmaster.com to Ticketsnow when they were trying to log into ticketmaster.com and tickets were still available at face value on ticketmaster.com(here’s another link about it).

          As far as Ticketmaster having exclusivity agreements with just about every venue in the country, you’re the dense one if you don’t believe it. Look to the 1994 case when Pearl Jam sued Tickemaster for charging absurd convenience charges but the band was unable to mount an arena tour without Ticketmaster due to exclusitivity agreements. There was also a 2003 suit that Ticketmaster settled with the String Cheese Incident over the same issue. There have been several lawsuits filed against Ticketmaster this year for deceptively redirecting people to ticketsnow Source.

    • Framling says:

      @sweetnjoe: Brown Paper Tickets charges 99 cents plus 2.5% on every ticket. That’s all their fees. That’s all of it. Nothing else to the customer, nothing else to the producer, nothing else to the venue.

      99 cents plus 2.5%.

      They have employees to pay and costs to run their business too. But they’re doing pretty well for themselves.

      (Full disclosure: My wife works for BPT. That’s how I know.)

  5. Darrone says:

    Screw the guy that told these people “Hey, stubhub is selling it for twice as much! They are taking away your money!”

  6. logicalnoise says:

    did no one even bring up the sometimes 120% convience charge?

    • mac-phisto says:

      @logicalnoise: no kidding. nothing like seeing an $8 show for $20. WOOHOO!

      still worth the $20 though. max cavalera & soulfly + 4 other bands (necrosis, hatebreed & 2 other not-so-known) – one of the best shows i’ve ever been to.

      • nybiker says:

        @mac-phisto: Either you and I have really, really different tastes in music or you are much younger than me as all of the groups you mentioned are unknown to me, let alone, not-so-known. But that’s ok, variety is the spice of life.

        • mac-phisto says:

          @nybiker: lol. yeah, it’s death metal. i’m not even a big fan of the genre, but there was a lot of energy at that show. it was fun. you might recognize max cavalera as the former frontman of sepultura – started them back in the mid-80’s. he left them in 1996 to form soulfly.

          metal fan or not, it’s fun to see live music so cheap. i saw a lot of great shows at that venue that ranged from jazz to bluegrass to virtually every form of rock you can imagine. & i don’t think a single show was more than $20. they made all their money on $7 watered down drinks & $5 stale beers.

    • sweetnjoe says:

      @secret_curse: Not every venue… where are you getting your facts? That’s complete bull that’s coming out of your ass. You really have no clue.

      And yes it IS the artists selling tix minutes after the onsale – and promoters – and management. We’re not idiots. Bruce can say whatever he wants to say, but it’s true that artists can make a killing off of scalping, and they do. How everyone manages to back up their favorite artists instead of seeing the light is completely beyond me. It’s a deceptive practice when artists KNOW what they can make with customer and deliberately decide to lower their own prices to gauge the market scalping their own tix.

      Are you really that dense?

    • sweetnjoe says:

      @logicalnoise: damn broken comment system. stupid consumerist.

  7. NumberFourtyThree says:

    I think that if ticket scalping is a serious problem, that’s a good sign that they aren’t charging enough for the tickets in the first place. If they charge enough that some people decide it isn’t worth that much money, thus the amount of people trying to buy the tickets equals the amount of tickets available, then there would be no profit in ticket scalping, and it should not be so common.

    Trying to get rid of ticket scalping by going after the ticket scalpers only changes the situation so that getting a ticket depends on luck and being among the first to try to buy it, thus making many people who really want to go simply unable to obtain tickets.

    • thefncrow says:

      @NumberFourtyThree: And if the band decides that they’d rather play a concert in front of the sort of rabid fans who’d camp out for days to get a ticket, who are you to tell them “No, you should instead play to this crowd of monied jerks who paid 10 times face value”?

      Bands on tour can actually have motives beyond just ‘extracting the maximum profit possible’. Things like ‘growing their fan base’, for example, which isn’t done by catering exclusively to people who can afford to pay $500 for mediocre seats.

      And even if the idea is to extract the maximum profit possible, massive ticket prices can still hurt their bottom line. Consider that you’re a venue owner and Metallica is coming to play your venue. You’ll get some cut of the gate, as will the band and their record company. However, as the venue owner, you’ll be selling concessions, and Metallica will be selling t-shirts, DVDs, CDs, and all sorts of other merchandise, some of them at incredibly marked up prices. Maximizing both your revenue stream and Metallica’s revenue stream involves getting people to come to the concert with money in their pocket as they walk in the door.

      And yet, the more expensive tickets are, the less money those consumers will have. So they decide not to drink your $8 beers, or to just have a bottle of water instead, or that they really don’t need another Metallica tour t-shirt.

      So, no, completely soaking the consumer for the maximum ticket price he’s willing to pay is not always an optimal strategy, and by attempting to drive the market towards this, ticket scalpers can do damage to the business plan of the band and venue while adding absolutely no value to the experience.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        @thefncrow:

        “And if the band decides that they’d rather play a concert in front of the sort of rabid fans who’d camp out for days to get a ticket, who are you to tell them “No, you should instead play to this crowd of monied jerks who paid 10 times face value”?”

        If the band wants to put such a restriction in place, they’re welcome to – they can sell tickets, and require people to show ID at the door to get in. That’s their right. They don’t do it, because the logistics of implementing it would be incredibly expensive.

    • NumberFourtyThree says:

      @NumberFourtyThree: @thefncrow:
      But what you describe of concertgoers being mostly composed of the most rabid fans who camped out, with the way ticketmaster works that’s not what’s happening now. What’s happening now is that for shows people think will be sold out, scalpers buy up most of the tickets, so the audience is composed of mostly the people who were willing to pay the most to buy tickets off of scalpers.

  8. shadax says:

    Let’s not forget that many concerts don’t even sell at the box office anymore. That’s how I used to score my tickets in the 90’s in SoCal. I had like 10th row center Weenie Roast tickets because I had a rockin’ wristband. Now they sell them through TM ONLY. Burn in Hell TicketBastard!!

  9. henwy says:

    @emmpee9:

    It’s just the same old whiney class warfare angle again. Some people never get tired of it.

    If there were no demand for the tickets, then ticketmaster couldn’t sell them for the prices it asks. If oodles of tickets were unsold at the very end, that I would find troubling but as long as it’s a packed house, market forces worked it out. Seeing as concert tickets might fall into the very definition of discretionary spending, it’s almost obscene to see how much people whine about it.

    • kmw2 says:

      @henwy: From an economic point of view, all spending is “discretionary”. That doesn’t make a difference. A surprising number of bands go on to half-full houses because their tickets are priced too high for their fans, and concert attendance has been falling steadily since the 1980s as ticket prices rise.

      • henwy says:

        @kmw2:

        That’s just idiocy and a poor attempt of sophistry at that. There’s a clear difference between discretionary and non-discretionary spending, though the edges might blur. Think of your classic Venn diagram if it helps. There’s a good reason to keep some price controls on staples like say, course flour or milk, in order to avoid periods of glut/famine. To argue that concert tickets are in the same category is asinine.

    • Raiders757 says:

      @henwy:

      That’s just it. In most cities, larger tours aren’t “packing the houses” anymore, but are still bringing just enough people in to justify putting on the tour, as well as give a reason why the tickets cost far more than they should.

      A few major acts only truly “pack them in” anymore in the U.S., unless it’s a show played in a major city. Sadly the major bands and promoters are reaming the fans. Look at the U2 arena tour. In Virginia, they are asking $250 a ticket for the floor. If anyone on this forum thinks that it’s “o.k.” to charge that much, I’ll show you a sucker, or someone who is full of $hit.

      It’s obscene that anyone would defend these high prices and then clammer on anout how obscene it is that people “whine” about it. The backlash has to begin in some form, and it isn’t “whining” for some, as much as it’s trying to get more and more to understand and get involved with a full on boycott.

      If “oodles of tickets” went unsold, it wouldn’t be “troubling”, it would be a thing of beauty. Consumers finally using their own power for a change, can never be “troubling”.

      This isn’t “class warfare” either. Some of us are far more passionate about music than most of you are, and it’s people like you that make us sick. I can afford to go to these overpriced shows, but I am just not that friggin’ stupid, nor am I dumb enough to try and justify that it’s right to ream the consumers who will pay the price all in the name of our corrupt capitalistic system.

      What IS obscene, is the high cost of entertainment these days, and even worse, those who defend the cost as well as those who support it due to a lack of self controle. By some of your reactions towards the high price of concerts and such around here, it makes me wonder if I’m really at a consumer blog, or at a convention for media industry ball washers.

      • rainbowsandkittens says:

        @Raiders757: :) !

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        @Raiders757:

        So, you say you really care about music, but you’re not willing to put your wallet where your mouth is. Other people obviously care a lot more than you do, since they’re willing to buy those tickets.

        Honestly, I have zero problem with you refusing to pay ticket prices you deem too high. I have zero problem with you trying to convince others to boycott the show. I have a HUGE problem with you telling me that I’m not ALLOWED to pay whatever price I see fit to see a concert.

        You don’t get to decide for me how much I want to see a particular concert.

      • Outrun1986 says:

        @Raiders757: 250$, that is absolutely insane, even a show for the most popular band in Japan does not cost that much, maybe about 170$ and that would be from a shop that is selling the ticket on the secondary market (I explained Japan’s concert ticketing system in a post below). The ticket retails for probably about $60-70. If they are asking $250 non-secondary market price then that is just insanity. The US must have the most expensive concert tickets in the whole world thanks to the Ticketmaster monopoly!

      • xenth says:

        @Raiders757: Bah Ticketmaster may be trying to bleed fans dry but we’re not required to give them any of our money. I passed on an MMA fight I’d been looking forward to because the only way to purchase tickets was to go through Ticketmaster and pay their ridiculous fees.

        If you don’t like Ticketmaster, don’t deal with them. There are plenty of smaller performances Ticketmaster doesn’t touch and I’ll continue to go to them rather than enduring the gouging and whining about it instead of actually DOING something else.

      • TheFlamingoKing says:

        @Raiders757: “What IS obscene, is the high cost of entertainment these days, and even worse, those who defend the cost as well as those who support it due to a lack of self controle.”

        1. It’s entertainment. As someone else mentioned, the very definition of discretionary spending. Find cheaper entertainment, tens of thousands of us do.

        2. Unless we live in totally different worlds, a library card is still cheap/free. The park is still free. There are tons of free/cheap activities in every city all the time – check with your local city organizers.

        Oh, you meant the specific entertainment of seeing top 40 bands is too high?

        3. As I’ve mentioned earlier, there are plenty of bands in your area probably struggling to make a name, lucky to charge $2 at the door or get a piece of the bar total for the night. Maybe playing for drinks. If you care about music, spend the money to support them. If you care about superstars, then prepare to pay superstar money. This sense of entitlement has got to go.

        “By some of your reactions towards the high price of concerts and such around here, it makes me wonder if I’m really at a consumer blog, or at a convention for media industry ball washers.”

        Cute. But I put the emphasis on consumer.

        Consumer: (n) (economics) someone who trades money for goods as an individual; a person who uses goods or services.

        Yes. I’m a “media industry ball washer” because I believe in trading goods and services for fair market prices. The fair market is set based on supply and demand. And, would you believe it, bands with hundreds of thousands of fans demanding tickets to a show with only room for thousands might find that the price goes up. Basic economics.

  10. I Love New Jersey says:

    The only thing that will make people happy is for them to go out of business.

    • nybiker says:

      @I Love New Jersey: And for me, I’ll be happy when the naming rights johns go away too. No more PNC Bank Arts Center. Back to being Garden State Arts Center. No more IZOD …, back to Brendan Byrne Arena.

  11. TheFlamingoKing says:

    If I read correctly, artists are holding the tickets for their own shows, and then selling them via ticket websites to increase their income from each show.

    If true, then Azoff is only stating that with enough PR, people can learn to like this behavior if they legitimized it rather than let it continue in the darkness.

    In which case, commenters would be better served to bitch at the artists that rip off their own fans than the company that sells them the ticket.

    But no one wants to believe their favorite band is trying to screw them out of money or only allow those rich enough to attend. Instead, it’s the evil corporations fault! Let’s get ‘em!

    • sweetnjoe says:

      @TheFlamingoKing: Everyone on this damn site doesn’t get it except for a few smart people.

    • secret_curse says:

      @TheFlamingoKing: Not all artists are doing it. Look into the Bruce Springsteen issue where Ticketmaster took a bunch of tickets without his blessing and moved them over to StubHub just moments after the tickets went on sale. The extra margin from the StubHub sales went straight to Ticketmaster. It’s some shady, shady shit.

      • sweetnjoe says:

        @secret_curse: StubHub is not owned by TM, and whatever you’re trying to say is bullshit, as you have absolutely no evidence to back up your bull.

      • nybiker says:

        @secret_curse: Actually, IIRC, it was LiveNation where the tickets were shifted to and LN _is_ a TM-owned company.

        • sweetnjoe says:

          @nybiker: wrong again. Jesus… Where are you all getting your misinformation??? Live Nation and TM are two completely separate companies even if their merger goes through, they will still be completely separate actual companies, so stop spreading bullshit. TM is a ticketing company, LN is a promoter.

          • secret_curse says:

            @sweetnjoe: Actually, I meant TicketsNow, not StubHub. My mistake. TicketsNow is a scalping site that is owned by ticketmaster, and they were the ones with all the Bruce Springsteen tickets on sale just after the tickets were available on Ticketmaster. If you’d like evidence, google “Ticketmaster Bruce Springsteen” for lots of articles, and here’s a link to a Rolling Stone article about the fiasco. Fans went to buy Bruce Springsteen tickets on Tickemaster.com and were redirected to the TicketsNow webpage. How’s that for “evidence backing up my bull?” Ticketmaster took tickets from the pool of publicly available tickets and moved them to their auction site. The artist and promoters of the concert didn’t get a dime from the scalping of those tickets.

            • sweetnjoe says:

              @secret_curse: I don’t need your idiotic links. There is absolutely no evidence to support your claim other than your opinion.

              Yes TM’s website functioned in a way to allow people to get tickets from TicketsNow when tickets were unavailable in the show you were looking at, but in no way did TM ever “move” seats to TicketsNow. They are two complete different entities. There is no way for that to occur through Ticketmaster, and Irving has said this before.

              “The artist and promoters of the concert didn’t get a dime from the scalping of those tickets.”

              Yes, they did.

              While I don’t fully agree with TM’s acquistion of TicketsNow in the first place, they were NEVER in the wrong here, so stop fucking blaming them.

              [mediacenter.ticketmaster.com]

              “Since that time, additional questions have emerged regarding Ticketmaster and TicketsNow which we would like to address directly: Ticketmaster does not set ticket prices or control ticket availability – those decisions are made by the artist and the venue. Ticketmaster sells tickets directly to fans and does not divert tickets to brokers or others reselling tickets, including our affiliate TicketsNow. TicketsNow does not receive any preferential access to tickets that Ticketmaster is selling on behalf of its clients. Effective February 5th, TicketsNow no longer accepts ticket postings for events that have not yet gone on sale, and we have urged other ticket resellers to adopt the same consumer-friendly position. Consumers searching for tickets for an event on Ticketmaster.com are never, and have never been, offered the option of searching for available inventory on the TicketsNow secondary marketplace if the specific ticket request they submitted could be fulfilled in the primary on-sale through Ticketmaster.”

              • RandomZero says:

                @sweetnjoe: Wait, wait, wait. Let me get this straight. You demand evidence of this practice, and when it’s provided, you claim it doesn’t exist because… it’s an offsite link (to a major industry news outlet with direct statements from both the artist and Ticketmaster)? What?

                And then, to top it off, you cite as your rebuttal a bald-faced PR piece from Ticketmaster… that explicitly states that this WAS going on? Take a look at your own quote:

                “Effective February 5th, TicketsNow no longer accepts ticket postings for events that have not yet gone on sale…”

                Exactly how was TicketsNow getting them before they went on sale if it wasn’t from the only distributor selling them? I suppose you want us to believe some nefarious employee of the evil artists was whipping them up in his basement?

                • RandomZero says:

                  @RandomZero: Oh, and then there’s the “Effective February 5th…” part of that. It’s highly worth noting that the Rolling stone article linked above dates to Feb 4th, and the article linked from that one citing the same problem is even earlier. So they officially stated that they would stop the worst and most obvious part of this gouging – after they got caught red-handed and publicly called out by a huge name.

  12. Karl says:

    Why shouldn’t they be able to do dynamic pricing? What they’re usually selling is a rare product whose demand exceeds the supply. Why shouldn’t prices adjust so that the supply and demand are balanced?

    • Charles Duffy says:

      @Karl: But they aren’t balancing supply and demand — bands are playing to half-sold shows which wouldn’t be half-sold had the price been allowed to “float” to its natural (lower) level.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        @Charles Duffy:

        Do you have evidence that ticket prices are at overly high levels, such that the total ticket revenue is below what it could be if ticket prices were lower? I’m skeptical.

  13. Jesse says:

    Fleetwood Mac came to Omaha a few weeks ago. Initially when the tickets went on sale, Ticketmaster priced them at like $150/piece.

    The concert didn’t sell out and as a result a couple days before the show Ticketmaster was unloading them at fire sale rates as low as $76/pair.

  14. Outrun1986 says:

    Need to have a balloting system as there is in Japan for the really big concerts. First you have to be a member of said artist’s fan club (which some require a Japanese address), then you can enter your name for ticket balloting, if you get picked you can buy your ticket. This helps a bit however you can still buy tickets through second hand shops on the street and through online auction sites! But at least it ensures true fans have a fair chance at getting tickets.

  15. Happy13178 says:

    What this means, that nobody wants to say, is that the average joe is going to walk away from the only other mode of support some artists have. A lot of artists could bear the loss of CD sales due to downloading because the amount they made off of them was largely negligible. Personally, I’d always rather see an artist live, but if I don’t do that, it’s possible the recording/music industry will never see a dime from me again. Most of the music I listen to I’ve already paid for, and new music I listen to on the radio. I don’t buy overpriced merchandise, and now if I want to see an artist live, I’ll watch a video of it if its available. Way to go, TM…help piracy along.

  16. katieoh says:

    i would love to see bruce [or another artist of his magnitude] try to work out a deal with the venues directly, and sell the tickets through his & the venues’ websites.

    although i don’t know if it’s at all possible, being as that most large venues seem to be under ticketmaster/livenation’s lock and key.

    tell you what, though, he’s pretty good about ticket prices. i saw simon and garfunkel a few years ago–$110 for tickets. identical seats for bruce? $60. nice.

  17. trujunglist says:

    If I were an artist like the Boss or anyone with any pull, I’d tell Ticketmaster to go fuck themselves. But then again, I don’t make my living doing that sort of thing, while they do.
    Blame the artists. They’re just as responsible. No one is forcing them to do anything, they just do it anyway. That’s why artists that do this need to be called out. The only way they’ll know it’s a problem is if their fans say it is, because let’s face it, they’re rolling in dough and don’t give a shit. Hey, they should run for some sort of political office!

    • mac-phisto says:

      @trujunglist: yeah. ever hear of a band called ‘pearl jam’? been there. done that.

      realistically, most bands aren’t handling their contractual obligations or concert scheduling – their handlers are (be that a band manager or a record label or both). even if a band was adamant about not dealing with TM, they’d be locked out of most venues in the US. the truth is that most bands simply aren’t in a position to make that demand. their contract stipulates a certain number of shows in a certain number of cities or they’re in breach – they lose what few rights they have to their artistic creations.

    • LegoMan322 says:

      @trujunglist: I think you could blame you…and me…and everyone else who has PAID this high ass prices and then bitched about it later.

      If you do not like the prices, do not go. I have been to many and have paid out the ass for shitty shows. I will never buy anything again from them.

  18. Bs Baldwin says:

    There is no such thing as market pricing for tickets. The only reason people are spending 200% – 1000% over face value is because they think they need to go to some event. Scalpers play off these feelings. You aren’t missing anything by missing a hannah montanna or lady gaga concert. The recession should put a lid on people paying these prices.

    • XTC46 says:

      @Bs Baldwin: but you ARE missing something. I LOVE live music, and I happily pay to see my favorite bands. For example, ive been listening to NIN for years, ive heard their music on vinyl, on CD, MP3, FLAC, on headphones, in clubs, etc etc etc. But Until last year, I had not heard them live. When the chance came, I jumped at it, and it was well worth the $60 I paid for a ticket.I would paid 200 for a ticket if that was the cost.

      Ive seen dozens of my favorite bands live, and every time I go to a concernt, its a new experience, even if its the same band. The energy from the crow, the emotion from the band is all there if full force. It cant be imitated on a record or DVD.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      @Bs Baldwin:

      Absolutely absurd – there is clearly a market price for those tickets – it’s what people are willing to pay. You may think that other people are willing to pay more than you are, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a market price. There’s a market price for Ferrari Enzos – just because I couldn’t imagine paying more than a million bucks for a car doesn’t mean there isn’t a market price.

      YOU wouldn’t be missing anything not going to see Lady GaGa or Hannah Montana – it’s incredibly arrogant for you to decree that nobody else is allowed to disagree with your opinion.

      • Bs Baldwin says:

        @NeverLetMeDown: there is a difference in a market price and a price people will grudgingly play. Paying 10% over face the day of the event is closer than a market price than paying 500% over face. The high prices are caused by people taking advantage of the system and people’s emotions.

        People can disagree with my opinion, but my opinion is on the side of common sense and fairness for consumers.

        PS Lady Gaga is not worth 200 or 300 dollars to see, and Hannah Montana isn’t worth more than $50.

    • bibulb says:

      @Bs Baldwin:
      The question of “market price” would be more realistic if TM (and independent scalpers, and evidently some bands in collusion with TM) didn’t create artificial supply shortfalls.

  19. Omar Elizondo says:

    I like the way the Dave Matthews Band gives out tickets to their fans via the Warehouse fan club. You have a few days to request tickets for all the venues and you can have up to 4 tickets per venue. A sort of lottery is sent out and everyone gets their results a few weeks later telling you if and where you got tickets. Almost everyone gets tickets, there is no fighting online for specific seats, and almost everyone is happy. The Warehouse even has special lawn section for members. It’s alot easier than TM, however of course, you need to pay for the membership to the Warehouse.

  20. anduin says:

    its prob why Ive ever been to 1 big stadium concert in my life…AC/DC, we had mediocre seats but still paid through the nose but whatever, it was a once in a lifetime thing…literally. I feel bad for the people who go see pop stars perform like britney spears where she’s lip syncing throughout the show and you paid what? 300$ for that ?

  21. nacoran says:

    The monopoly part of the equation is how they lock up venues. Artists work hard to put on a show. They should get whatever ticket price the market can bare. A real auction for tickets could actually mean really cheap tickets at shows that aren’t selling out.

    Here is a thought though…

    There is a limit to the size of a show. That limit may be a stadium or a lot smaller if you are trying to put on a more intimate show. The artist can’t afford to price tickets too high, or they won’t sell enough tickets. (Without an auction it can actually be worthwhile to not sell out. Selling 50 tickets at 100 dollars makes more money than selling 90 tickets at 50 dollars, at least for the ticket price part of the equation. Concession sales change this equation.)

    Once an artist can sell out a venue there is only so much of an incentive to get more fan interest. If they get more popular they can get bigger venues and charge higher prices, but with the limitation that eventually you get to the biggest venues and you can’t raise the prices without lots of people not being able to afford to buy tickets. An auction partially solves this problem, which means that the incentive for the artist to get even more publicity. No longer is selling out the arena enough. They can make more money if they can get even more fan frenzy than what it would take to sell out the venue.

    What is the best way to get that frenzy? Free music! Giving away free music, particularly right before you show up in a particular city, means more ticket revenue. Small bands already do this because they can’t get anyone to their shows if they don’t get publicity. This would encourage big bands to do it too. Giving away free music has virtually no inherent cost. What the band loses in record sales it makes up for in ticket sales, and we all get free digital music.

    Of course, the RIAA and Ticketmaster have different stakes in the equation that are in direct conflict. One of them has to go.

    (Game systems should be sold like this too! No tramplings at Walmart and all that money that goes to people scalping Atari-Sega-Wii-Xboxes ends up going to the companies that actually make them.)

    • sweetnjoe says:

      @nacoran: I’m pretty sure TM has auctions, and auctions that include stuff like you mentioned included… Soooo yeah. I think that’s all up to the artist if they want to do that. I know No Doubt gave away their entire music catalog as a digital download for every single seat (minus cheap lawn seats for obvious reasons), but AGAIN, that is all up to their management, promoter, label, etc. Most bands don’t even bother, they just allow TM to take the shitstorm press even though it’s not TMs fault.

      Research, people. It’s easy.

  22. IT-Chick says:

    I have bitched about this for years and I first noticed it while buying tickets for family shows. My most recent purchase was for Sesame Street Live earlier this month. The best seats were all 3-4x the regular price on their “sister site”. I didn’t bite and we got seats near the stage off to the right.

    What was interesting to note was that there was a huge section of those seats that were completely empty, a good 50 seats. No one benefited from that “dynamic pricing”.

  23. RichasB says:

    If you want market prices, go to eBay. :D

    Example A: A pair of Paul Rodriguez NIKE SB Shoes. The MSRP is $110. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t going to pay $110 for shoes made by underpaid Asian workers.

    Instead, I paid the price that I thought was fair to me, which was $30 on eBay ($15 auction, plus $16 S&H). I love the shoes but I wasn’t going to pay that much for them. It’s $30, or nothing (and yes, for years I have never bought Nike shoes at their MSRP).

    Of course, I know Nike & TM aren’t going to sell their stuff on eBay (or any other Auction Styled website) but at least prices are fair for those of us pinching pennies there.

  24. seamer says:

    SOmeone should tell ticketmaster that ‘dynamic ticket pricing’ also allows the price of a ticket to go down in regards to demand as well as up.

  25. Pizza Club says:

    As someone who has studied economics, I understand where they are trying to do. As a frequent concert-goer and a human being, Irving Azoff is a scumbag.

  26. P.T.Wheatstraw says:

    When you want to go see one of your favorite artists, there is a whole huge set of heterogenous transactions going on–financial, social, etc.

    When you argue this issue with an economist, they only see one angle, while you as the potential concertgoer see the entire process in which you will be taking part. This is why it’s impossible to come to terms: they only see it as a set of financial transactions and in doing so have reduced the activity to an absurd level.

    From an economic perspective, there is absolutely nothing wrong with scalping (although in the long run I suspect that exorbitant pricing will lead to people attending less often). From the perspective of the artists and their fans, there is absolutely something wrong with it because in reducing the whole set of interactions to one type, you eliminate the significance of the others and fail to account for the vast range of things going on.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      @P.T.Wheatstraw:

      Well, the thing is, just as someone else doesn’t get to say “you need to wear one earplug while listening to the concert, and you can only talk to fans in odd-numbered seats,” you don’t get to say “you can’t buy that ticket for more than I think it should sell for.”