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

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(Photo: nerdy girl)