Ticket Sales Move Online, Get More Expensive

Monday, April 26, 2010 - 12:40 PM

Once upon a time (when I was in college), the best way to get good tickets to a hot concert was to bundle up, sit outside the theatre overnight and wait for the box office to open. There was almost always a line of like-minded (or out-of-their-minded) souls, ready to share donuts or coffee or a cigarette of whatever vintage--we passed the time playing cards, flirting with cute boys ahead of us and angling to keep scalpers away from the front of the line.

That was then. This is now, and that in-line experience has largely been replaced by an online one. One with fees that can double the face price of a ticket. The biggest name in ticketing, Ticketmaster, has merged with concert producer Live Nation. What does this mean for the concert going public?

The New York Times had an article both fascinating and enraging this past Sunday. It described the rise of Live Nation's chairman Irving Azoff--a man credited with, among other things, forcing concert promoters to pay upward of 90 percent of the gate to musicians playing in places like Madison Square Garden. His company now controls, for all intents and purposes, the live music industry in the US. All I could say when I put down the paper was, "I guess I'm never going to see a big-time concert again."

How do you get around this? Do you pony up the convenience fee, the print-at-home fee, the facility fee? Have you changed the way you see live music, or is this just another one of those things you sigh about and pay? More importantly, can this be changed?

PLUS: See WQXR's Top 5 @105 suggestions for ticket Steals and Deals in New York City.

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Comments [3]

Kenneth Bennett Lane from Lake Hiawatha, NJ

Each era has its own mores, its own priorities, its own modus operandi. When opera and concert going did not have to compete with the sophisticated technologies that now give the "presence" of a performance visually and aurally better than even front seats at the venue itself. Then the prices of tickets, more or less, vindicated the cost. Today's performances in drama, opera, symphony and concerts, nothing personal, do not reach a tenth of the cost demanded. Their recorded versions represent the artists ideally and their cost to their audience is never out-of-line. Maybe, online (sic!)

May. 03 2010 11:54 PM
Jamie from Brooklyn

Once upon a time - 20 or so years ago - I would go to the Met on Saturday mornings to wait on line for that week's standing room tickets. There was certainly a sense of community and shared anticipation of the performances we'd be seeing in the coming days.

These days I buy most of my concert and opera tickets on craigslist.

Apr. 28 2010 09:09 AM
George Damasevitz from New York

I am a firm believer in attending live performances. True, I am priced out of many venues due to the various fees but there are still many other performances that are given by fine musicians that are within reach. In these large, well heeled houses, modern marketing has taken a beautiful, innocent and sincere performance and converted it to banal exercise in conspicuous consumption.
I seek out smaller and less costly venues where the music is just as good and the people seem to enjoy it more.

Apr. 26 2010 10:15 PM

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