Home » Music, Music Industry, Rant

Tickets… tickets and another bob rant time

Written by: 28 November 2008 13 Comments
bob in drag shows off his ticket to tom jones, with some random girl

bob in drag shows off his ticket to tom jones, with some random girl

You can’t get a good ticket.  Not unless you’re an insider or you’re willing
to pay a ton of dough on the aftermarket.  To what degree is this hurting
the music industry?

There’s a fascinating analysis on ESPN’s site that claims that the luxury
box, high-priced ticket stadiums in the NFL have eviscerated home field
advantage.  The true fans just can’t get close enough to the field to feel
part of the game.  Those who talk about the team, who live for the team, who
tailgate and keep sports talk radio alive have been if not completely frozen
out, turned into second class citizens.  Made to park far away and sit down
during the game, so as to not block the view of the wine and cheese crowd.

Used to be if you were willing to camp out overnight, you could get a
concert seat right down front.  At a reasonable price.  Now you go on
Ticketmaster.com and find out mere seconds into the sale that your only hope
of getting a good seat is to pay way more than face value at TicketsNow,
where Ticketmaster scalps the act’s own tickets for them.  Concerts used to
be a tribal rite, now they’re evidence of a have/have not culture.  Doesn’t
make a difference if you played the album every night for a month, doesn’t
matter that you turn your friends on to your favorite, it just comes down to
how much money you’ve got.

Unless, of course, you’re a fan of the Dave Matthews Band.  Fan club members
get good seats.  And Coldplay upgrades those in the rafters to seats right
down front.  Hell, Chris Martin is smart enough to know you want the people
right down front on their feet screaming.  And it’s much harder to scream
from the rafters, you feel almost like you’re watching on TV.

Concerts are not only about grosses, not only about momentary profits.  A
concert tour should be another linchpin in your career, building you to a
new height.  But in the nineties, before the Net impacted the mainstream to
such a degree, the arena concert was where the flavor of the moment MTV act
appeared on maybe their one and only concert tour.  Sure, they played some
smaller buildings on the way up, but by time the second album came out, most
people didn’t even care.  Can we say “Spice Girls”?  And the dinosaurs made
you feel privileged to attend.  After all, they might die any moment.  But
Keith Richards is like a cockroach, he’s going to outlive us all.  Why pay
all that money to see him and his band ruin their old tunes and your

There’s a cost to high priced tickets and the inability of the regular fan
to get good seats.  Career momentum is dashed.  And now that the recession
has hit, people aren’t lining up to pony up the big bucks.

Concerts have to return to the people.  Concertgoing needs to be cheaper and
a regular activity.  Now, except for a distinct minority, a concert is a big
bucks affair you attend once a year.  That’s what Michael Rapino says, Live
Nation patrons average fewer than two shows per annum.  How do you grow a
healthy business when almost no one can partake?

Greed not only decimated Wall Street, it’s hurt the concert business too.
We’ve been crowing about grosses not noting that they’re propped up by
ever-increasing ticket prices.  We haven’t been developing new acts.  And
Live Nation has to report to Wall Street and AEG is perching itself at the
absolute top of the market.  Take a look at the three rows of luxury boxes
at Staples Center for illustration.  No, look at the rafter seats above
these boxes to see how bad it is to be poor in America.

But now everybody’s poor.  And a machine has been constructed that doesn’t
comport with reality.  Concerts used to be just one step above movies.
Reasonably priced nights out.  I went to the movies last Saturday, the
multiplex was packed.  Unless it’s a superstar, the concert venue is not
sold out.  And this is not good for our business.

We need new acts.  We have to stop living in a winner take all world.  New,
innovative tours, akin to Warped, have to criss-cross this nation.  At a
fair price.  With ticketing fees low and included.  Stars must realize that
hard core fans must be able to get tickets and that a certain percentage of
them must be good, up close and personal.  The fat cats with thick wallets
only come to tell everybody else they were there.  They’re not interested in
your career.  If they’ve got any cash left, they’ll spend it at the gig of
the next flavor of the moment.  Meanwhile, you’ve alienated the fan and
burned your career.

Labels care about radio, acts care about capturing the secondary market and
no one cares about the fan.  Fuck the fan.  He’s got nowhere else to go.
Well, that was true before the advent of video games and a plethora of other
diversions.  And people used to want to come, because there were seemingly
endless headliners, that’s where it was happening, at the music venue.  But
music’s been whored out to such a degree that you’ll only go to hear your
favorite.  Other than that, the average punter is giving the middle finger
to the business.  Sick of being ripped off and unsatiated.


Visit the archive: http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/


  • Mick said:

    The only ticket i didn’t manage to get over here was one to see Antony and the Johnsons. But, what are ya gonna do? If i keep my eyes peeled, they’ll be back within a few months..

    Still guttered you weren’t called down to the front row at the Coldplay gig, aren’t you Bob? Chin up bro. It’ll be ok.

  • Bob Daktari said:

    Coldplay are dead to me now

    I’m far more a Antony and the Johnsons now I have seen the light

  • Mick said:

    “Unless it’s a superstar, the concert venue is not sold out.”
    Well duh.. this is a bad thing? Usually lesser known acts play smaller venues.
    “Stars must realize that hard core fans must be able to get tickets and that a certain percentage of them must be good, up close and personal.”

    I’m really interested to know what big acts or small acts, as both statements apply here, are relevant to this rant for Auckland?

    Living in London, I don’t really understand what this guys point is!? if they’re a superstar, of course it’s going to sell out. Everything sells out in big cities… There’s no complaining if you miss out. Who’s to say you’re more of a hardcore fan than anyone else? Even if you are more hardcore, the people who got tickets got their tickets in time. So shame on you hardcore fan. Shame on you…

  • Bob said:

    his point and why I posted this is – artists must think of their fans first and foremost if they want a career

  • Mick said:

    I wouldn’t pay more than 50quid to see any band. Nick Cave was 35quid face value. They were available for several days when they went on sale. Maybe scalping’s not such an issue in London as it is with the Roling Stones selling out California?

    In any case, i still feel it’s up to the ‘fan’ to be on-to-it enough to secure a ticket. The band’s can only do so much. Like Radiohead last year selling tickets off their site and only allowing people to buy 4 max and then sending them out only a few weeks before the gig… The Ticketing companies here tend to send tickets out very late too, maybe this is to hault some scalping. You still get the people outside gigs buying and selling tickets.

  • Bob Daktari said:

    could very welle a US thing, huge profits to be had in scalping and various other practices

    of course for smaller actsnone of this really applies, except for the message – look afteryour fans for you are unemployed without em

  • Bob Daktari said:

    Gigs have been shoring up the ailing music industry – but they’re not as popular as they once were. Caroline Sullivan reports on growing anxiety in the live music scene


  • Mick said:

    It worries me that every article referenced includes the likes of Coldplay, ACDC, Take That, Oasis, Kings of Leon….

    Good music will live on! People will forever support bands and artists who are talented and if they really are talented they will succeed. Whether this is a small percentage of people or a large percentage of people is neither here nor there. I guess this is why i’ve come to enjoy people like Steve Earl, who do it no matter how shit their life is.

  • Bob said:

    from my perspective (industry wise) you need the big acts to do well so there is still the infrastructure and businesses there for the up and comers

    same with record co’s – when the majors are cranking the entire industry (and thus music lovers) benefit


  • Mick said:

    haha, ok, so there’s no problem from either article. They both state you struggle to get tickets to mainstream acts.

  • Bob said:

    yeah but the struggle is often because the ticket sellers (esp the US) are set up to push the ticket price above what it should cost, thus reducing the number of shows many fans of the bigger acts can afford and the corporate hogs now have less money to splash out on company/client outings

    or in simple terms… things are changing, possibly in a good way for fans and possibly not in a good way for some businesses

    ya done kitty & Co yet?

  • Mick said:

    Tomorrow night matey. i cannot wait!

    It’s at a Caberet club in Soho called Madame Jojos. We’re going for a pre gig bangers or pie and mash. i’ll sip a guinness on your behalf.

  • Bob said:

    don’t get eel pie or anything too british, it’ll be your undoing

    have fun

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.