I got your convenience charge right here

When Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged, they promised to use economies of scale to serve the customer base.  This is what the asshat of a CEO, Barry Diller, said about service fees and their impact on ticket prices.

Ticketmaster does not set prices. Live Nation does not set ticket prices. Artists set prices. Everyone else is just a distributor or service provider to artists and content owners.

Barry Diller is an asshat, and the reason why Pearl Jam took these crooks to Congress years ago.  Ticketmaster has a HUGE impact on ticket prices.  A lawn ticket is $18.50 before Ticketmaster, $36 after.  That is a pretty big impact.  Double the price.  I can’t conceivably think of a bigger impact that doubling the goddamn price.

Indeed, Ticketmaster does not set prices.  However, their impact is felt.  Here are some examples of the service fees, which now stretch to well over 100%.  I will only reference Denver ticketing experiences, because I am in Denver.  So, these are personal experiences with , and actual figures.  Last summer, Ticketmaster sold tickets to Motley Crue’s big tour.  They were playing a ‘shed’, which every big city has.  It’s outdoors: half seating and half lawn.  Ticketmaster and the venue (Fiddler’s Green) were offering $10 lawn seats.  That is a crazy good deal.

Problem is, the tickets actually cost $25 each after fees.  Yes.  That is a 150% service fee mark up.  “Convenience” indeed.  I went this weekend to buy Iron Maiden tix (for the same venue).  Those lawn seats were $18 each face value.  Online, those $18 tickets were $32 each.  So, I decided to wait and drive to the venue and buy the tickets directly from the venue box office.  It used to be that these tickets didn’t have fees.  Wrong.  Since the merger with Live Nation, it now costs MORE to buy tickets directly at the box office.  The $18 tickets cost $36 at the box office.  That is a 100% service fee.

Where the hell are the tea party folks on this?  Ticketmaster is a monopoly.  I can not buy tickets through any other avenue, I have tried.  They are more expensive at the theatre, and the band’s website directs me to Ticketmaster as well.   Could you imagine if you went to Burger King and you ordered the #1 combo?  It says $4.99.   Now, imagine if they told you that would be $10.  You would laugh and tell them to kiss your backside.  Guess what, imagine there is no competition.  The only restaurant that is open is Burger King and they charge a 100% convenience fee for heating and distributing your burger to you.

Now that Ticketmaster and Live Nation have merged, all consumer choices are out the window.  I just want every consumer out there to know what is happening.  If you are going to a concert, expect service fees to be between 80 to 100%.  I had also heard that Creed was selling $5 lawn seats to their shows, which were costing $30 after fees.  However, I can’t substantiate this because Creed sucks.  So, I would never buy a ticket for them.  The ticket prices referenced above were done by me… this isn’t ‘friend of a friend’ data.

* Here is something funny.  Right here at this site, two years ago, I was railing against 40% service fees.  Read here.  Read my prophetic words:

Live Nation will now monopolize every aspect of the business, one can only hope they will pass on a modicum of the savings to us.

I was super correct on that one.  Want to know what ‘every aspect of the business’ means?  Google the term ‘360 deal’.  Wait, I have done it for you.  I have started a Facebook group to protest the fee escalation.  I know it won’t do shit, but it we can get it up to a million or more, it might send a lesson to the greedy suits.  Here is the name of the group, please join us, and forward it around.   Stop Ticketmaster’s 100% service fees

* update Oct 2010

I was… er… Correct.  Ticketmaster is being sued now for their bullshit service fees. The chickens have come home to roost.  I sure would like to go back to seeing concerts.

Update Nov 2011

I was right.  I was correct.  They were wrong, and guilty.  They were caught stealing and lying about service fees.  Guilty guilty guilty.