What do you get when you merge the country’s two biggest concert promotion/ticket sales companies? While only time will tell for sure, you can imagine the resulting corporate Frankenstein — a music industry behemoth, devouring every small promoter in its path and muscling ticket prices even higher into the stratosphere.
With a merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster looking increasingly likely, we may have to contend with this monster in the near future. The concentration of power (we won’t use a dirty word like “monopoly” until antitrust authorities review them later this week), wielded by the firm would allow them to bypass primary ticket sales and make concert goers bid against one another for spots at shows. In fact, Ticketmaster recently pulled a shady move that resembles this strategy while selling tickets for the latest Springstein show. When the concert sold out, tickets immediately appeared on the company’s resale site, sometimes marked up to $2,000.
This, understandably, rankled The Boss to his core.
But, don’t throw your hands up in despair just yet. Stubdog, a Texas-based discount ticket site, has an alternative. According to their website, most events do not completely sell out (they’re referring to the types of events they promote which, fair warning, are not the next Madonna tour). The company uses this as leverage to reserve a portion of tickets to sell at half price. Not only does this guarantee a full house for the events, but it lets underfunded culture mavens get out of the house once in awhile.
Fine. You are more likely to score tickets to “Ragdoll Burlesque Presents: Spangled” than coveted seats at the upcoming Phish tour. But, it’s certainly better than spending $4,200 a ticket once a dark force called Live Nation Ticketmaster — who we’re imagining as a cross between Darth Vader and the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters — starts to take over the world.