new york daily news tries to expose ticketmaster for RCMH

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sharong
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:58 pm

new york daily news tries to expose ticketmaster for RCMH

Postby sharong » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:40 am

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2009/03 ... eged_.html

Fans furious over Ticketmaster's alleged scalping of Leonard Cohen Radio City Music Hall tickets
BY HELEN KENNEDY
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Tuesday, March 10th 2009, 4:47 AM

Fans furious with Ticketmaster . . . again
Would you buy a ticket from a 'legal' scalper if it was the only way to see your show?

Yes. My loyalty is to seeing my favorite artist, whatever the means.

No. Fans need to take a stand against unscrupulous business practices.

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Just weeks after Ticketmaster was smacked down for pushing resold Bruce Springsteen tickets at inflated prices, furious music fans say the company is back to its old tricks.
Tickets went on sale at 10 a.m. Monday for a pair of Leonard Cohen concerts in May at Radio City Music Hall. They were listed as soldout within seconds.
Would-be buyers were told they could visit a Ticketmaster affiliate called TicketExchange, where ducats were going for nearly $1,000 apiece - roughly four times the face value of the best seats in the house.
Meanwhile, TicketsNow, a controversial subsidiary of Ticketmaster, was selling tickets for up to $1,884 each.
"This seems to be the kind of sleight of hand we have come to expect from Ticketmaster and it cannot be allowed to continue," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
"Time and again, Ticketmaster appears to be going out of its way to prevent concertgoers from paying face value for tickets."
Ticketmaster is in trouble in Canada for fleecing fans: The Canadian culture minister is tightening anti-scalping laws and a $500 million class-action suit has been filed against the company.
Fans of Cohen, the gravelly voiced 74-year-old poet and ex-Buddhist monk most famous for writing "Hallelujah," were uncharacteristically up in arms.
"Ticketmaster? Their heads should be on pikes in the town square," said Bryan Brown, 53, an editor at Scholastic.
"I logged on at the precise moment when tickets were supposed to go on sale only to be told there was nothing available at any price," he said.
"Somewhere, something in the system is corrupt. They couldn't have sold out in under a minute."
That's just what happened, says Ticketmaster.
"It happens with such blazing speed these days," said Ticketmaster spokesman Albert Lopez. "There was a lot of demand. There was a huge profile piece [on Cohen] in the Sunday Times a few weeks ago, and he hasn't toured in forever."
Lopez insisted the pricey ducats on TicketExchange are kosher because he said they were not originally offered for sale at a lower value.
That's what got the firm in a jam last month, when 2,000 Springsteen fans complained they were diverted to TicketsNow to buy tickets at steep markups.
The company hastily settled a suit with New Jersey for $350,000, reimbursed the fans and promised to stop linking to TicketsNow for a year.
The controversies come as Ticketmaster tries to get a government okay for its proposed merger with Live Nation.
Schumer, a leading opponent of the merger, said the Cohen debacle shows Ticketmaster's quasi-monopoly must not be allowed to grow further.
"It raises serious questions that a company which already controls the vast majority of the nation's concert ticket sales might get bigger by swallowing up one of its competitors," he said.hkennedy@nydailynews.com
sharong
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:58 pm

Re: new york daily news tries to expose ticketmaster for RCMH

Postby sharong » Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:08 pm

http://www.pollstar.com/blogs/news/arch ... 53624.aspx

POLLSTAR RESPONDS ticketmarket place is marked up Platium seats
honeyrose
Posts: 162
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 4:46 pm

Re: new york daily news tries to expose ticketmaster for RCMH

Postby honeyrose » Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:51 pm

This line is interesting:
"Lopez (TM) insisted the pricey ducats on TicketExchange are kosher because he said they were not originally offered for sale at a lower value."
So who hived off a large number of tix for sale at the higher price? the promoter, the artist's management, the theatre?

Meanwhile in another part of the forest:

"Recently reunited No Doubt are taking a note from The Boss and are attempting to cut out ripoff-extraordinaires Ticketmaster from their tour!
Tickets went on sale for the band's upcoming tour last Saturday, but the group gifted fan club members with first dibs on the best seats in the house!

No Doubt were granted 10% of the tickets for each show and sold them directly through their website, completely bypassing Ticketmaster's outrageous service charges. "The impetus is to have people who want to be in the building to be the people buying the tickets — not speculators," Jim Guerinot, No Doubt's manager, tells reporters. "We've done it before and it works."
pizmo
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:56 am

Re: new york daily news tries to expose ticketmaster for RCMH

Postby pizmo » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:00 pm

Perhaps we should look to Leonard and his management team for answers as to any involvement and/or profiting from these odious tactics -- please see the article below from March 11 2009 Wall Street Journal:

* MARCH 11, 2009, 9:53 A.M. ET

Concert Tickets Get Set Aside, Marked Up by Artists, Managers

By ETHAN SMITH

Less than a minute after tickets for last August's Neil Diamond concerts at New York's Madison Square Garden went on sale, more than 100 seats were available for hundreds of dollars more than their normal face value on premium-ticket site TicketExchange.com. The seller? Neil Diamond.

Ticket reselling -- also known as scalping -- is an estimated $3 billion-a-year business in which professional brokers buy seats with the hope of flipping them to the public at a hefty markup.

In the case of the Neil Diamond concerts, however, the source of the higher-priced tickets was the singer, working with Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., which owns TicketExchange, and concert promoter AEG Live. Ticketmaster's former and current chief executives, one of whom is Mr. Diamond's personal manager, have acknowledged the arrangement, as has a person familiar with AEG Live, which is owned by Denver-based Anschutz Corp.

Selling premium-priced tickets on TicketExchange, priced and presented as resales by fans, is a practice used by many other top performers, according to people in the industry. Joseph Freeman, Ticketmaster's senior vice president for legal affairs, says that the company's "Marketplace" pages only rarely list tickets offered by fans.

The vast majority of tickets are sold by the artists and their promoters with the cooperation of Ticketmaster. In fact, he says that for any concert to which Ticketmaster carries so-called platinum seats, the Marketplace sells only artist-sanctioned tickets, not those resold by fans.
[neil diamond and ticketmaster] Getty Images

Neil Diamond approved premium ticket sales on a Ticketmaster site.

Though scalping tickets is legal in most states, the spiraling prices for tickets sold in the secondary market are frequently the target of ire from consumers, Congress and artists, all of whom say the practice takes advantage of fans while enriching third-party speculators.

Ticketmaster Chief Executive Irving Azoff said in an interview Tuesday that when ticket brokers resell tickets without permission from artists or promoters, it "drives up prices to fans, without putting any money in the pockets of artists or rights holders."

But Ticketmaster facilitates the secondary ticket market and profits from it. According to several managers of top artists and Ticketmaster executives, the company routinely offers to list hundreds of the best tickets per concert on one of its two resale Web sites -- and divides the extra revenue, which can amount to more than $2 million on a major tour, with artists and promoters.

These platinum seats are sold on Ticketmaster's TicketExchange, which describes itself as a marketplace for "fan-to-fan" transactions, using the slogan "Buy tickets. Sell tickets. It's that simple."

In addition to being Ticketmaster's CEO, Mr. Azoff also oversees the company's Front Line Management division, which handles the affairs of more musicians than any other competitor in the U.S. -- and represents Mr. Diamond. Ticketmaster is in the process of being acquired by concert promoter Live Nation Inc., an all-stock deal that is under intense regulatory scrutiny in part because it could affect competition in the music business, including the secondary ticket market.

Secondary ticket sales are viewed by Ticketmaster, concert promoters and artists as one of the biggest -- yet thorniest -- sources for revenue gains. In 2006, Ticketmaster launched TicketExchange in response to pressure put on its profit margins by secondary-ticket sellers such as StubHub. But in doing so, it opened the company to criticism by ticket brokers, fans and politicians, who accuse the ticketing giant of profiteering and obfuscation.

Ticketmaster is moving to distance itself from some parts of the secondary ticketing market. It is in the process of hiring an investment bank to try to sell another resale service, TicketsNow, according to people familiar with the matter.

Virtually every major concert tour today involves some official tickets that are priced and sold as if they were offered for resale by fans or brokers, but that are set aside by the artists and promoters, according to a number of people involved in the sales.

That includes recent tours by Bon Jovi, Celine Dion and Van Halen, and a current tour starring Billy Joel and Elton John. Spokesmen for Bon Jovi and Ms. Dion had no comment. A spokesman for Van Halen said that the band could not be reached. A booking agent for Messrs. Joel and John did not respond to requests for comment.

Tickets for a March 27 Britney Spears concert at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh were priced earlier this week at $39.50 to $125 apiece on Ticketmaster.com. But some of those same classes of seats were being offered at the same time through the "TicketExchange Marketplace" for as much as $1,188.60. The link to the Marketplace page was marked, "Browse premium seats plus tickets posted by fans."

Ms. Spears' spokeswoman declined to comment.

The ticket listings are offered in small batches, each at a price, such as $1,164.01, that mimics prices set via online auctions. After inquiries from The Wall Street Journal, the "tickets posted by fans" message was removed from the TicketExchange Web site. Prices also fell, narrowing the gap between Ticketmaster and TicketExchange Marketplace.

Tickets that do not sell at the inflated platinum prices can also be moved between TicketExchange and Ticketmaster's lower-priced main inventory, without any signal to consumers that the ticket's status has been reduced.

Ticket brokers complain that artists sell their own tickets for inflated prices but rarely admit doing so, thus avoiding the appearance of gouging fans. "It's not fair for artists to hide behind Ticketmaster-TicketExchange," said Paul McCann, a broker near Baltimore. Ticketmaster says it is working to clarify the origin of tickets on TicketExchange. "It's cloudy and has to be cleaned up," Mr. Azoff said.

Bruce Springsteen recently decried a recent incident in which his fans were directed without his permission from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow.com, which caters to ticket brokers.

"As a matter of policy we do not ever release tickets to the secondary ticket market nor do we ever accept payment from them," said his manager, Jon Landau. Ticketmaster has said the incident was a mistake.

Ticketmaster says TicketExchange shouldn't be considered scalping. It says the site's "goal is to give the most passionate fans fair and safe access to the best tickets."

In a meeting last May with more than 100 ticket brokers, Ticketmaster's then-chief executive, Sean Moriarty, acknowledged that the ticketing giant had used TicketExchange to sell 160 Neil Diamond tickets over two shows at marked-up prices.

"That's a choice up to Neil and management," Mr. Moriarty said. He did not respond to messages left on his cell phone requesting comment.

"It's our job to make our clients aware of every opportunity that exists," Mr. Azoff, who is Mr. Diamond's manager, said in an interview last year.

Testifying before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy last month, Mr. Azoff said he believes the secondary market is currently flawed. "We agree that this model is broken," he told the panel, "and it needs a solution."

Write to Ethan Smith at ethan.smith@wsj.com
Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page B1

Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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