Live Nation To Challenge Ticketmaster, Sell Fans More Junk

The nation’s largest concert promoter, Live Nation, is ditching Ticketmaster to build its own ticketing system. Live Nation may not be as soul-crushingly evil as Ticketmaster—we hear they issue refunds!—but their goal in breaking away is to squeeze more profit from customers by hawking “additional merchandise.”

Live Nation, like other concert promoters, receives a part of the service charges added to tickets sold through Ticketmaster: that money added roughly $90 million to Live Nation’s books in the last year. In the Eventim deal, Live Nation would have the right to set — and keep — virtually all fees added to tickets in the United States, a person briefed on the deal said. The two companies would operate under a more traditional revenue-sharing deal in certain international markets.

Live Nation has long pushed to take a bigger role in ticket sales, and recently told investors that such a move could bolster profit. The company’s concert promotion business has thin margins. Live Nation could add $25 million by taking the ticketing process in-house, according to an investor note last month from John Blackledge, a JPMorgan analyst.

Live Nation’s chief executive, Michael Rapino, has also sought tighter control over the relationship with fans. In particular, Mr. Rapino has pressed for Live Nation to control customer data from ticket buyers as part of a strategy to sell fans additional merchandise.

Ticketmaster’s godless 30% markup leaves plenty of room for competition, but we are wary of any company that feigns interest in a relationship. Those scoundrels, they all want the same thing. Still, a ticketing company that issues refunds would be a welcome change of pace. Live Nation’s ticketing system is expected to come online at the start of 2009.

Top Concert Promoter Sets Up a Challenge to Ticketmaster [NYT]
Live Nation to Team with CTS Eventim for Ticketing [TicketNews.com]
PREVIOUSLY: Wolfmother Won’t Rock, But Live Nation Will Refund
Live Nation Continues To Rock!
(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)