If you bought a ticket through Ticketmaster to see the Wu-Tang Clan last Friday, you were helping Ticketmaster’s bottom line almost as much as you were patronizing the House of Blues.
If you bought a $42.50 ticket through Ticketmaster, you also had to pay $10.05 to cover Ticketmaster’s “convenience charge.” That’s an additional 23 percent over the ticket price, and all that money went to Ticketmaster.
In August of 2007, Live Nation announced it was ending its relationship with Ticketmaster as of January 1, 2009. Live Nation is the largest concert company in the U.S. In 2007 Live Nation concerts brought in $150 million for Ticketmaster, or 15 percent of its $1 billion 2007 income.
In announcing its separation from Ticketmaster, Live Nation said it would be selling its own tickets and in turn save its clients money.
San Diego, however, is one of the few cities where Ticketmaster will still have its teeth in Live Nation’s business throughout 2009.
That’s because when Live Nation (formerly Clear Channel Entertainment) took over House of Blues Entertainment and its quiver of four venues (HoB, Cricket Amphitheatre, Cox Arena, and Open Air Theatre), those properties came with contracts that said that Ticketmaster would be involved until January 1, 2010.
The Belly Up Tavern, Soma, and the Casbah have long since given up on Ticketmaster and use their own ticketing service.
AEG Live, operators of the Sports Arena and Qualcomm Stadium’s outdoor venue, have not announced any plans to stop using Ticketmaster.
“I wonder about Live Nation suggesting it will save people money.” said one music-industry insider. “I’m sure Live Nation will eventually find a way to get that ticket-charge money for themselves.”
– Ken Leighton