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Excuse me while I vomit.

4 Feb


Seriously?  It’s come to this.

The latest news from the Wall Street Journal is that Live Nation, the great hope to save the music industry (insert eye rolls and hearty laughter here) is going to merge with my arch nemesis Ticketbastard.  I mean, seriously.  How long is this going to continue?  For me, this falls right in line with Digital Rights Management (DRM) as far as things that are killing the music industry.  Isn’t there a way to stop this madness?

Adding all these ridiculous charges deters people from going to concerts.  On a daily basis I get phone calls from people trying to avoid these fees.  Many of them tell me if they can’t get them through an alternate source, they won’t attend the concert.  This means one less fan paying for a ticket, buying a t-shirt, buying a beer, etc.  If the fees continue to increase, this will only get worse.  People just don’t have the money to throw away.  Where I work we charge 50 cents per ticket.  That’s not a lot, but it’s a huge service to our customers when they are able to avoid paying $7 in convenience charges on a $10 ticket.  Even smaller companies like Brown Paper Tickets (99 cents and 2.5% of their ticket) or Indie Tickets ($1.75 to $3.00 a ticket) charge fees, but at least they seem more reasonable.

Case in point – The “convenience fees” for my Bruce Springsteen tickets were around $17 PER TICKET.  I know I’ve said it before, but exactly who is this convenient for?  It sure the fuck isn’t me.

Let’s take a look at the breakdown:

Tickets
ALLTIX Tickets
Total Convenience Charge(s)
US $95.00 x 2
US $11.15 x 2
Total Building Facility Charge(s) US $2.00 x 2
Additional Tax US $1.62
Order Processing Charge US $3.87
TOTAL CHARGES US $221.79

Now it’s enough to give me small heart palpitations that the ticket price was $95 for a GA ticket. But it’s Bruce Springsteen and my CakeIn15 cohort Alexa assures me that $95 is a teeny tiny price to pay for the enjoyment I’ll get back.  However, I start to feel like I’m having a stroke when $190 turns into $221.79. You cannot tell me that cost of that ink and paper is $31.79. I mean, technically I can print tickets myself, but that adds another $2.50 charge.  Wait… another charge for my own paper and ink?  I assume this fee is given to TicketFast – although Ticketmaster owns TicketFast… so there’s that.

Hopefully someday the music industry will learn that bigger is not necessarily better.  We’ve already seen the major labels start breaking down and smaller labels rising up.  We’ve seen the DIY attitude bands have work for them instead of against them.  Giving away music can create new fans and increase ticket and merch sales.  It’s all supposed to be about the music, but it’s all about the business.  To be fair, that’s understandable, and it has worked in the past.  But maybe now’s the time for change.  To give people the chance to experience art and reclaim their souls without having to choose between a bag of groceries and supporting a ridiculous conglomerate like “Live Nation Ticketmaster”  with insane fees tacked on to a piece of paper.

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