Live Nation has been on a tear over the past few years, shaking things up first with music deals (like Madonna’s), second with announcing that they were going to sever ties with Ticketmaster and create their own ticketing service, and third, this week they reversed that previous announcement and said they were merging with that ticketing warhorse, creating arguably the most powerful company in live entertainment marketing and production.
While I’m always fearful whenever competition falls away, I’m also a big believer in bringing systems “in-house” to allow other ancillary forms of revenue to offset costs of production (do you know how many more Broadway productions would recoup if they were able to reap some of the benefits of ticketing fees, concession fees, etc. . . . and more shows recouping, would mean more people investing, which would mean more productions that could take more artistic risk).
Live Nation is primarily a Producer, and I’ve gotta believe that they will tackle the revamping of the ticketing industry from that perspective, rather than the former TM perspective which was to make as much money for the ticketing transaction as possible.
So, I’m bullish that the merger could be good.
What does this mean for the Nederlander Broadway houses that currently use Ticketmaster?
Do I expect service fees to drop? Not likely. But I do expect the customer service experience (and the website) to improve (LN has already committed to a more transparent ticketing fee structure with no “nibbling” fees for print-at-home tickets, etc. that get tacked on at the end of transactions.
There is one thing that does make me nervous. One of the other things that Live Nation did over the past few years to shake things up . . . was sell off their Broadway biz.
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