How Live Nation Can Avoid the Ticket Price Raise They're Considering

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Isn't it just the worst when you have to pay more for something you already pay too much for? Ticketing and promotions monopoly Ticketmaster/Live Nation is, via the LA Times - who headlined their piece "The marriage of Ticketmaster and Live Nation: Say hello to the $400 ticket?" - considering raising their ticket prices. Why?

Well, part of the problem had to do with those times Ticketmaster made money off of scalping their own tickets, which the law then took care of by making Ticketmaster step away from their own scalper. Cut to a conference call today, when an exec answered a question about how they're going to make more money:

"Our fundamental belief at Ticketmaster/Live Nation is the answer to grow our business is less about trying to make $5 or $6 million in service fees off secondaries and much more important to figure out how to capture that $1 billion in up-sell on the face value of tickets," [Live Nation Entertainment Chief Executive Michael] Rapino said during the conference call.

Upsell? That sounds like how you get people to buy extra stuff at the register that they don't need (or even worse, charge them for things they should get for free). And he's going to do that to tickets? Which is in strong contention, the LAT points out, with something Rapino told them in a profile last year:

"In my business, the cheaper the ticket price the better. I'd love for more consumers to walk into an amphitheater, park, have a beer and eat a hot dog. There's no advantage to me to have anything but sold-out shows."

Well, that sucks. Because now your ticket prices - on the "upsell" - are possibly going to go up. LA Times' blogger Todd Martens explains:

To compensate, the face value price of the concert ticket will likely change, and notice it's not for the cheaper. To be fair, Rapino was speculating about possibilities and not stating any absolutes. But suddenly, the face value of a front row ticket at a concert jumped a whopping $300.

Uh oh. Well, here's an idea for how to keep those prices down:

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Don't let angry moguls with compensatory issues scare you out of dynamic advertising buys that help get the word out on your less popular, inherently less profitable enterprises that need a little leg-up! Because then you're shooting yourself in the foot, and that...can't sound good to your shareholders, who aren't enjoying the way this conference call is going, either.

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[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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