Fee Free Friday - Start of Summer Edition
Memorial Day is the traditional start of Summer. That means the Summer concert season is just around the corner and so are unreasonably high ticket fees and service charges. This week Fee Free Friday shouts “Get out of water!” to a crowded beach full of hapless ticket buyers.
The Fan Freedom project tweeted a reminder on Thursday that their invitation to the three leading ticket companies ( Ticketmaster, Paciolan and Veritix ) has gone unanswered for 88 days.
In February of this year Fan Freedom asked that the companies join them in the fight against so-called "scalper bots" ( malicious computer programs written to buy up event tickets, forcing people to then buy from scalpers ).
The invitation asks that the three leading companies support federal legislation to make scalper bots illegal. The law would be under the jurisdiction of and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. From the letter:
That all resale exchanges include in their Seller Terms of Service: A) an explicit prohibition against reselling tickets that have been obtained with bots; B) a requirement that resellers permit anti-bot audits by exchanges when the reseller posts for sale more than 30 tickets to an event within 24 hours of the public onsale; and C) a requirement that resellers cooperate with government inquiries of alleged bot purchases.
You can read the entire formal invitation letter asking the respective CEOs to join the fight here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/82975338/Bots-Letter [pdf]
It has been three months since the invitation was made, yet a response is yet to be received. Such illogical lack of action on the part of Ticketmaster, Paciolan and Veritix is not in line with the actions of leaders in other industries. Wall Street banks fully support and cooperate with the FTC to prevent malicious hacking.
But where Wall Street gets it right here, they have gotten it oh so wrong elsewhere....
Concerts are sexy
A titan of Wall Street, Liberty Media, announced this week that it has increased its ownership percentage of Live Nation Entertainment to 25% and that it has received permission to raise it to 35% later this year.
Liberty's diverse holdings, which include baseball teams, book publishing companies and satellite radio, are seemingly all over the map without any apparent strategy.
Eric Volkman at Motley Fool sees a method to Liberties madness:
There's a determined strategy behind the apparent randomness. Witness its recent moves with Sirius XM. In 2009 it had a 40% stake in the satellite-radio broadcaster; it was only a few weeks ago that it unveiled another 6% or so of ownership. That's probably the same pattern it'll follow in its stalking of Live Nation.
Volkman speculates that lucrative tickets fees are the core reason for Liberty's ever growing stake in Live Nation:
Concerts are sexy. It's easy to see why Live Nation looks pretty in the eyes of a potential acquirer. It's far and away the top live-entertainment producer, and it also has a complementary and formidable command of event ticketing following its 2009 acquisition of Ticketmaster.
With the collapse of the recorded-music industry, live concerts are an increasingly popular and lucrative business, as is that extra cut of revenue from the ticket segment, particularly considering that Ticketmaster charges hefty "convenience" and "processing" fees that can add nearly 20% to the cost of a ticket.
It seems the allure of unreasonably high tickets fees is enough for Liberty to overlook the fact that Live Nation has been posting posted net losses in its most recent fiscal years and quarters. This does not bode well for the grass root momentum to put legislative reform into place.
Speaking of ticket fee legislation,the war on high fees continues in Arkansas....
$12.25 fee per ticket
The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected a petition to reconsider their original ruling against Ticketmaster, saying that both Ticketmaster and Live Nation Entertainment, must adhere to the state's Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The Consumerist's Chris Morran reports:
The Arkansas Supreme Court has issued a legal kick to the gut of the fee-happy folks at Ticketmaster and Live Nation, confirming that the ticket seller is bound by the same state laws that prevent scalpers from piling on fees and charging exorbitant prices. The perennial Worst Company In America contender argued that the law is intended to regulate scalpers, and not licensed ticket sellers like Ticketmaster.
The ruling was issued in response to the judge presiding over the lawsuit brought against Ticketmaster by Corey McMillan. In the suit McMillan says that Ticketmaster charged him $55 each Jason Aldean tickets though the advertised ticket price was $42.75
...That's $12.25 per ticket, for a total of $49 in fees!
As always, your ThunderTix account gives you total control over per ticket fees including the option to go fee free. Patrons love venues that don’t add fees. It’s that simple. Lower ticket costs through no added fees translate into higher sales and greater patron satisfaction.
Have a safe Memorial Day weekend and please take time to honor those who have served. Fee Free Friday will be back next week after we accumulate more wins and losses from the front lines. Until then, be sure to take a look at our other features and sign up for a free trial today!