Ticketmaster

Some things erk me, and some really piss me off.  The monopoly power in the ticket distribution business is something that has been under my skin for the last year or so, after trying to buy concert tickets on multiple occasions at the moment they went on sale only to be forwarded to Ticketmaster’s own ticket scalping service.  And why is it within moments of a new concert going on sale, StubHub also has hundreds of tickets at a major premium.  For example the Dave Matthews Band concert at Madison Square Garden coming up had nearly 2,000 tickets listed on StubHub the day after they went on sale.  I am posting the article below from Bloomberg today in its entirety.  Afterwards I am posting a link to Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.’s website so you can offer your support for his initiative to investigate Ticketmaster.

Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) — A lawmaker from Bruce Springsteen’s home state called for an antitrust investigation of Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc.’s handling of ticket sales for the musician’s sold-out tour after fans complained.

U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., a Democrat of New Jersey, asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department yesterday to investigate Ticketmaster’s relationship with its reseller, TicketsNow. Fans who couldn’t buy tickets for the Springsteen shows in New York and New Jersey were instead steered to the reseller’s Web site, where prices were hundreds of dollars above face value, he said.

Complaints also came from fans looking for tickets to shows at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in New York and Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, who received an error message at the close of their online purchase, he said.

“I am troubled by how quickly tickets priced exponentially higher became available on the secondary market to thousands of rejected fans, many who also endured unfortunate technical problems on Ticketmaster.com,” Pascrell said in a letter to U.S. investigators.

Ticketmaster spokesman Albert Lopez declined to comment about Pascrell’s call for an investigation. He said the company is trying to contact the “very small number” of fans who encountered the technical glitch to complete those transactions. He wouldn’t say exactly how many fans this involved.

Three Hours

Springsteen’s North American tour sold out in three hours at some U.S. venues, Ticketmaster said. More than 200,000 tickets were sold Feb. 2 for the 17 shows in 13 cities handled by the West Hollywood, California-based company. The world tour begins in San Jose, California, on April 1 and continues in Europe, ending on Aug. 2 in Santiago, Spain.

Ticketmaster usually collects a 15 percent commission from sales on TicketsNow, Lopez said.

Ticketmaster and concert promoter Live Nation Inc. are discussing a combination that would join the two biggest companies in live music, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday citing people familiar with the matter. Live Nation was Ticketmaster’s largest customer before an exclusive contract expired on Dec. 31.

Lopez declined to comment on the report. Live Nation spokesman John Vlautin said the company doesn’t comment on speculation.

Springsteen built support for the concerts with televised appearances at the National Football League championship game Feb. 1 in Tampa, Florida, and at festivities before President Barack Obama’s Jan. 20 inauguration. The 59-year-old Freehold, New Jersey, native won a Golden Globe for “The Wrestler,” a track from the album “Working on a Dream,” released by Sony Corp. on Jan. 27.

Concert Grosses

Springsteen and the E-Street Band will headline the eighth annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee in June. The band’s last tour in 2007-2008 grossed about $235 million, second to New Jersey’s Bon Jovi, according to Billboard Boxscore.

The 47 performances for the world tour will include stops in Los Angeles, Atlanta and East Rutherford, among 20 other U.S. cities, according to the band’s Web site. In Europe, the band will perform in 11 countries and has sold out tickets in Stockholm and Bergen, Norway.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Satariano in San Francisco at asatariano1@bloomberg.netGreg Bensinger in New York at gbensinger1@bloomberg.net;
Last Updated: February 4, 2009 08:35 EST

If this get’s to you as much as it gets to me, please paste the text below, or a similar note into Rep. Pascrell’s contact page: http://www.pascrell.house.gov/contact/ .

Dear Bill,

Thank you for surfacing the issues surrounding Tickemaster.  I have been noticing this problem for some time now and am delighted that your office has decided to escalate this problem.  While I am not in your district, I wanted to offer my support and encouragement.  I would be happy to send an additional note to my representative if it would be helpful to your efforts.
Thanks again,

Sources:
Springsteen Sellout Leads to Call for Probe of Ticketmaster
By Adam Satariano and Greg Bensinger, Bloomberg, February 4, 2009
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&sid=ayD73kINfON4&refer=muse#

Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr.
http://www.pascrell.house.gov/contact/

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