The cost of efficiency

Graphic+by+Aaron+Newman
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The cost of efficiency

Graphic by Aaron Newman

Graphic by Aaron Newman

Graphic by Aaron Newman

Graphic by Aaron Newman

Chris Henn

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Graphic by Aaron Newman

The average reaction to Ticketmaster’s fees is something along the lines of “Where the eff did all my money go?!” Concert-goers have come to despise the service, which sells tickets exclusively for most concerts, imposing different fees along the way.

It’s not uncommon for a ticket to nearly double in its price when using Ticketmaster, and there’s no option but to pay for the pricy service if you just want to rock out to your favorite live act. It’s 2011 — many are wondering why there’s still no alternative for buying concert tickets.

The master of service fees goes way back. In 1982, Ticketmaster had the most advanced ticketing system, allowing hundreds of fans to buy tickets at once. They had also just hired Fred Rosen, a lawyer who saw the importance of the venue over that of the artists or fans. Rosen made deals with all the large concert halls.

This strategy proved to be beneficial for both Ticketmaster and venues alike; they both made money through Ticketmaster’s huge fees. And Ticketmaster diverted all the hatred of high prices towards itself.

$40 is a lot to pay for just one night of entertainment. On the other hand, concerts and live perfomances are an important part of the music industry because artists make very little out of selling records. To most, music sales are a novelty payment — performances are where the real money is. And some don’t sell music at all, like DJ’s.

Though Ticketmaster has long since moved past large-scale arena shows, they have yet to enter the market of clubs and very small venues, where tickets are still sold at the door. As a result, the tickets at these venues are significantly cheaper, turning concerts into something you can afford every weekend.

Yet Ticketmaster grows bigger and bigger, and they have already taken over some great small venues like the Fox in Oakland and the Fillmore in San Francisco.

Unfortunately, Ticketmaster doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Alternative services like InTicketing and Veritix are available, but they aren’t used nearly as often. Ticketmaster is still profiting from long-term venue contracts. They also recently merged with LiveNation, the country’s largest concert promoter, in 2009.

Even with all the flak it takes from diehard concert fans, Ticketmaster is a very stable business. The importance of concerts cannot be stressed enough when it comes to supporting your favorite artists.

There is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to the ticketing issue — fans would love a new service that isn’t so blatantly obnoxious with it’s ridiculously pricy cost. A cheaper option would be ideal, but even folding the fees into a straightforward ticket price would be a vast improvement. We can only hope a better competitor becomes available in the near future so that they can truly fight on the same scale as Ticketmaster.

 

Written by Chris Henn. This article was originally published in the June Issue.


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The cost of efficiency