After splitting with Ticketmaster and locking down massive 360 deals with Madonna and Jay-Z, Live Nation has finally launched its own ticketing service. As of right now, Live Nation tickets can only be purchased for concerts taking place in smaller Live Nation-owned venues, as the bigger amphitheatres are still locked into ticketing deals with Ticketmaster or other vendors. Still, the company's Website is vending tix for Lil Wayne, John Legend, Elton John & Billy Joel, the Pretenders and many more.
Rock Daily tested out the ticket purchasing system on the Live Nation Website — in this case, buying a ticket for the Gov't Mule concert in Denver, Colorado on February 13th — and made a frightening discovery: The $29.50 ticket carried along with it an additional $13.50 "Ticket Fee." That's exorbitant, even by Ticketmaster standards. We know their stock is landsliding but $13.50, really? We thought, maybe this is a typo or a bug in the system, to charge a third of the ticket price as a "ticket fee." So we tried buying tickets for the Pretenders' gig at New York's Roseland Ballroom on January 31st. Again, the $49.50 ticket was accompanied by the $13.50 "Ticket Charge." (Ticketmaster's base convenience charge for the Pretenders' Philadelphia show is $9.85 — but as a Live Nation rep was kind enough to point out, there are also print-at-home and per-order charges on the Ticketmaster purchase; the rep noted that Live Nation seeks to make such costs "more transparent" up front rather than at the conclusion of the transaction).
"Anytime you have a major roll-out, you hold your breath and hope there are no major glitches," Live Nation CEO of global music Jason Garner told Billboard of the launch. "We went live over the [holiday] break and I didn't hear one complaint from anybody about the system." Garner also says having control of its own ticketing will allow the company to be flexible with prices. "Our goal is always to have a system built around being able to satisfy what the artists and fans want," Garner said, adding that the company would also like to capitalize more on the secondary ticket market.
It's also interesting to note how the two ticketing giants are facing off. Ticketmaster isn't offering tickets for shows hosted by Live Nation, while Live Nation links to Ticketmaster for shows they can't sell tickets for. We'll keep you up to date as Live Nation continues to stake its claim in the ticket market, but the high price "ticket fee" definitely didn't make the best first impression.
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