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Live Indignation & Ticketmaster Slavery

Topics: Music | Add A CommentBy admin | June 9, 2010

It would be nice if the cost of live music were to enjoy the same market adjustment that recorded music has over the last decade, but things will probably get worse before they get better with the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

Few things have made me more ecstatic than the explosion of indy music over the past decade. But I still have one complaint. Ticket prices. While the average pop song has settled nicely at a price of about a dollar, and the artist generally takes a bigger slice of that dollar in spite of the lower unit price, concert tickets rose in price by over 80% between 1996 and 2003, and have continued to rise consistently since then. What’s behind this insane inflation of concert prices? Well, everyone’s pointing fingers, but most agree that it began over a decade ago with the aggressive and monopolistic practices of Clear Channel, who devoted most of their energy to decimating the diverse network of venues and promoters that used to exist. But as easy as it is to place ALL the blame on them, the fact is that “premium artists”, i.e.: dinosaur rock baby boomer idols like the Rolling Stones and the Eagles – are just as much to blame in many ways, by charging upwards of 300 bucks for shows, in order to offset their lousy album sales and still be able to stay in $2,000 a night hotels while on tour. Even a next generation act like Green Day can be accused of this greed, if you believe the numbers in this infographic; Green Day’s 65% cut makes the promoters and venues look like they’re being reasonable. It’s rough enough out there that even a well-established artist like Imogen Heap had to throw in the towel recently. And it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better, in light of the DOJ’s recent approval of the monster merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster. I think it’s time we started to practice some asymmetrical warfare techniques against the concert ticketing industry. It would be amazing if a network of non-ticketmaster promoters and venues could pull it together. I personally would be out every night of the week if I could catch a decent band for ten or fifteen bucks on a regular basis. We’ve done it with record labels, lets change the game with radio and live music too.