Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Live Nation v Ticketmaster – the heat is on

The concert ticket business is to heat up in 2009 with the arrival of major competition for the current leader of the pack, Ticketmaster. The bad news for Ticketmaster is that their new rival is someone they know very well, …

Fri, Oct 24, 2008, 09:33

   

The concert ticket business is to heat up in 2009 with the arrival of major competition for the current leader of the pack, Ticketmaster.

The bad news for Ticketmaster is that their new rival is someone they know very well, because that company just happens to be one of their biggest clients: Live Nation.

Plans by the global concert giant, which manage the new 02 venue in Dublin, to roll out their own ticket-selling service early next year in the United States are progressing rapidly.

This follows the end of the company’s 10-year exclusive contract with Ticketmaster and the failure to negotiate a new one. Live Nation events accounted for 17 per cent of Ticketmaster’s 141 million ticket sales in 2007.

The company will be moving into direct ticket selling for their events via the livenation.com website, with German ticket company CTS Eventim AG providing the necessary infrastructure and technology backbone.

Besides selling tickets for their own events, Live Nation will also be seeking to poach clients from Ticketmaster to bolster the user base for their new service. Venue operator SMG, which manages the Odyssey in Belfast, has already signed up have many of their US event tickets hawked by Live Nation.

It is believed that Live Nation will roll out this service in other markets as current contracts with ticket sellers such as Ticketmaster come to an end. Europen territories such as Ireland are seen as lucrative targets.

However, it is unlikely that this new competition will see lower booking fees or cheaper tickets for consumers.

Aside from controlling ticket sales for their own events and building up a huge customer database, Live Nation will also be hoping that the move increases turnover on their balance-sheet.

The company are therefore unlikely to turn down a honeypot of easy dough in the shape of handling and transaction fees.

After all, Ticketmaster have done all the heavy lifting to make these fees part of the ticket-buying process and took all the flak from the public in the process.

UPDATE Since this piece went to press yesterday, Ticketmaster announced plans to buy a controlling stake in Front Line Management, the agency who represents 200 acts including The Eagles, Neil Diamond, Van Halen, Fleetwood Mac, Christina Aguilera, Aerosmith and Guns N’ Roses. The deal, which cost the ticket company $123 million and will see it change its name to Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc, means the Ticketmaster v Live Nation joust has entered a whole new phase.