Your new friendly concert ticket seller/promoter

June 8, 2009

The proposed merger between Ticketmaster, the world’s largest ticketing firm, and Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, met with huge uproar when it was announced back in February and is still being examined by federal regulators.

Most of the uproar was prompted by fears the combined company would have too much power and be able to control (read ‘raise’) concert ticket prices whenever they want. There were also separate complaints about Ticketmaster’s use of a secondary ticketing company (read: scalper) to sell tickets such as Bruce Springsteen’s at exorbitant prices.

Perhaps with one eye on getting the merger past regulators, both companies are this summer trying new ways to win over music fans. Live Nation, for instance, said it is expanding its “No Service Fee Wednesday” program to include every single ticket in each of its amphitheaters this summer.

Fans often complain about the ‘convenience fees’ when they buy tickets. Such add-ons to the ticket price can sometimes significantly increase the final bill. Live Nation said last week’s debut of No Service Fee Wednesday generated a sales spike 500 percent higher than the average number of tickets sold on  a Wednesday.

Meanwhile over at Ticketmaster the company is hoping to “thwart scalpers” by introducing paperless tickets according to this Wall Street Journal story. Ticketmaster will launch its first major trial with teen pop star Miley Cyrus’ 45-date tour later this year (Cyrus pictured left).

The Journal said the technology is meant to make seats impossible to sell or transfer because they can be redeemed only at the concert, using the credit card with which they were bought.

Ticketmaster’s plan makes sense.  It brings parts of the company’s operations into the 90s — when many airlines first started selling paperless tickets. And like the airlines we should necessarily expect an improvement in service just because there’s been a cut in costs (not having to print and send out tickets to fans).

That said, paperless tickets might also do away with one of Ticketmaster’s more unpopular surcharge practices. Ticketmaster has charged fans extra for the convenience of printing off their concert tickets at home rather than having them sent out in the post.

Keep an eye on:

  • Boston Globe workers to vote on costs cuts (NY Times)
  • Some Americans are still not ready for digital TV switch (WSJ)
  • Viacom launching Epix movie channel in online beta (paidcontent)

(Photo: Reuters)

One comment

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And after the merger and the paperless tickets will create one company that controls all access to the tickets and can charge whatever they want to without any competition.

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