Instead of the concerts I went to last week, I would like to talk with you this week about two companies we all deal with, Live Nation and Ticketmaster, which are actually one company called Live Nation Entertainment. The two companies have merged and are owned by Liberty Media, whose CEO also also owns Formula One, SiriusXM and the Atlanta Braves.
This conglomerate has interests in or owns many venues around the US and has contracts with many others limiting them to Ticketmaster as a ticket sales outlet Some artists complain that Tiketmaster’s exclusive contracts exploit venues and artists, but Ticketmaster denies this. And of, course there is no shortage of complaints about ticket prices and scalpers for concerts under Ticketmaster.
According to TicketNews, concert ticket prices for top artists have risen up to 20% since the end of Covid restrictions, with floor tickets for some top artists going for up to $900, plus fees. Fans are not happy about the prices and they are not happy about dynamic pricing which can change minute by minute while you are buying tickets. It is no mystery why the billion-dollar Live Nation Entertainment is taking in record profits.
So what does that mean on the ground? High prices and incompetence in my experience.
The International Mariachi Festival is coming soon in Guadalajara. This is a big deal with 10,000 people, 500 Mariachis from around the world (Japan has mariachis – who knew?), folk dancing, and mucho parties. My wife and I go, but usually don’t buy tickets in advance. We get in line for box office sales and if there are tickets, great, if not, we go to the free concerts in the Plaza. This time we decided to splurge and buy VIP seats in the Teatro Degollado, one of the most beautiful of Guadalajara’s concert venues. But tickets were only available from guess who, Ticketmaster.
First, Ticketmaster wanted me to sign into to my account. Do I have an account? I guess I did from years ago because it would not let me create a new one. But I didn’t know the password, so several try’s, and two-factor authentication texts later, I got into my account, ordered my ridiculously expensive seats and went to checkout.
Not so fast; there are fees. Fees for using Ticketmaster, fees for telling Ticketmaster how I wanted to get my tickets, fees for getting my tickets, and a mystery fee just because they could. Ok, so it is only this time, I will do it. On to payment.
I put in my credit card information and….Sorry we only take US credit cards and US addresses..
But it is a US credit card; my delivery address is in Mexico…. Sorry, no can do.
This is an international event designed to attract people from around the word. What genius decided that they all had to have US credit cards with a US address? That is incompetence.
I found a work-around in an obscure little button for a non US address (I will bet most of the people attending have non US addresses since they live in Mexico). I clicked on the non-US address button and it took me back to a payment page. I started to enter my information again and a message popped up : Sorry you took too long to give us your money. Start again (not quite what the message was, but you get the idea).
Well, screw Ticketmaster. I did not start again. I found two free local mariachi concerts which I will attend and use my press pass to get up front to shoot good video to show you. And I will never use Ticketmaster again…really.
by Patrick O’Heffernan