Tag Archives: Ripoffs

Today’s News: Amphitheaters in Trouble

12 Aug

This week’s Rolling Stone reports that large outdoor venues are having an awful summer.  It’s not the god-awful heat (here in Chicago, the heat index is over 100 degrees yet again), or the pigeons that crapped all over the the Kings of Leon at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in St. Louis on July 23rd.  The problem? It’s the economy, stupid, experts say.  Of course people facing unemployment and struggling to make ends meet aren’t going to be spending as much to go see shows.  But there’s more than just the general economic malaise crippling major tours such as Lilith Fair, the Jonas Brothers, and Rihanna.  The major concert promoters, Live Nation and AEG Live, have been alienating fans with high ticket prices and excessive fees.

“As overall ticket sales have decreased 10 percent so far this year, Pollstar reports sheds in particular have suffered a ‘huge drop-off.’ ‘It’s just the way [promoters] operate that kills the sheds,’ says Doc McGhee, manager of Guns n’Roses and Kiss. ‘There’s a tremendous backlash this year.’

A lot of it is simple economics: Live Nation, the world’s largest promoter, owns or controls 40 of the nation’s amphitheaters.  Saddled with these properties – which each hold around 20,000 fans – the company needs to book enough summer tours to keep them open during the short season they’re open and often ends up overpaying in bidding wars with competitors like AEG Live, which specializes in arena shows.  That leads to ever-higher ticket prices, which are a tough sell in a down economy.

And because top artists often receive the vast majority of ticket revenue, Live Nation makes much of its money nickel-and-diming fans for ancillary revenues – $44 million annually from parking and $223 million from food and beverages.  Last year, two fans at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J., filed a class-action lawsuit against LiveNation because they were charged a $6-per-ticket parking fee whether they intended to park or not. (Live Nation filed a motion to dismiss the suit, but a judge denied it in June).”

The dirty secret here is that everyone knows what’s going on, but nobody is doing anything about it.  Artists are stuck working in a broken system, and fans don’t have an alternative if they want to see their favorite acts.  “I don’t think the amphitheater thing is dead, it just needs a price correction – they need to make it user-friendly,” according to Bert Holman, manager of the Allman Brothers Band and no stranger to the amphitheater circuit.  “They’re gouging everything – the food is high, the parking is high.”  John Scher, co-manager of Simon and Garfunkel, has a similar take in the article: “The original concept of the lawn being a place that was casual just became very expensive, unaccomodating, and just uncomfortable.”

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Today’s News: Ticket Prices Deter 72 Percent of Concertgoers

5 Aug

According to a Billboard.com poll released this week, price is the main deterrent for fans for live concerts.  They haven’t released full results from the online survey, which had 642 respondents from July 19-26.  This shouldn’t be a shock to most people: especially as the recession has stretched budgets, rising fees and surcharges have made live music prohibitively expensive for many people.

Other reasons for skipping a favorite band’s live show included not knowing about the event (15 percent), poor choice of venue (9 percent), or having recently seen the artist in concert (4 percent).

Similarly, a poll by Rasmussen Reports in late July found that 67 percent of adults who attend at least one professional music concert a year think tickets in general are too expensive.  Women are more likely than men to feel priced out of concert tickets, with 73 percent of female concertgoers saying tickets are too expensive, compared to 60 percent of men.  However, men are more likely than women not to attend concerts at least once a year.  Those in their 30s are the most critical of concert ticket prices than any other age group, even though they’re the most likely to attend rock or pop shows.  The nationwide telephone poll of 1,000 adults was conducted in February, and a follow-up poll of 5,000 adults found that concertgoers were even more price-sensitive, with 70 percent saying concert tickets were too pricey for them to attend shows.  The result: tours are struggling, and most adults (62 percent) have not attended a concert in the past year.

According to Pollstar’s mid-year report (PDF), the average face-value ticket price for the first 6 months of 2010 for the Top 100 national acts was $60.77, down 6 percent from last year’s record average of $64.61.  These prices don’t include “convenience fees,” which for some shows can be more than half the face value of the ticket.

Whose fault is this?  Well, 42 percent say performers most influence the price of concert tickets.  Twenty-one percent think the venue is to blame, and 17 percent blame the ticketing service.

This is a lot of data, and it all all points at the same thing: something needs to change in the live music industry. The fans are being priced out of their favorite shows, and while the biggest acts are still able to pack arenas, a lot of mid-tier concerts are struggling.  FanFueled aims to change that — keep checking back here, and on our Facebook and Twitter, in the next month for more info and exclusive pre-launch offers.

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Who’s paying for this?

9 Jul

From TicketNews: “DOJ recommends Ticketmaster/LiveNation merger receive final approval”

“Having weighed written testimony from several industry professionals but ultimately deciding their arguments were unpersuasive, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) this week submitted its last report to the court recommending the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation receive final approval.
The move was not entirely unexpected, considering the DOJ spent months negotiating a deal with the two companies in an attempt to make the merger more palatable to consumers, promoters, venues, artists, brokers and others who often fiercely complained of the partnership.
Ultimately, those complaints, including accusations that Live Nation Entertainment – as it is now called – would have an unstoppable monopoly, were brushed aside by attorneys for the DOJ, who believe the conditions they imposed on the merger will adequately address those concerns. The DOJ’s filing goes before U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer for the final approval, but a time frame for when her decision will be rendered is not known. Live Nation Entertainment has been operating as a single entity since late January of this year.”

This is another blow for music fans and consumers, since the merger gives this giant company control over both ticketing and booking for most of the nation’s biggest live music venues. Ticketmaster has more than 80% market share; LiveNation’s ticketing platform controls another 15 percent or so. The conditions the government has imposed on the merger seem pretty weak, and creating a pair of rivals to ensure competition in the market for ticket sales is basically admitting that the new behemoth entertainment company will be too big to operate fairly.

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