Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Lefsetz Readers on the Concert Biz

On Saturday, music-industry guru Bob Lefsetz wrote a short piece about the implosion of the concert industry.

The wave of responses it's received have been the reading highlights of my week.

Some amazing, amazing emails from insiders and fans.

Do me a favor and read these messages. If you care about concerts, I promise it's worth your time.

The responses just keep getting better and better.

Readers' emails after the jump.

You can subscribe to Bob's letter here.


Hey Bob,

As for the summer concert season tanking try the following on for size:

Aerosmith couldn't sell out Comcast Mansfield (Boston) their homebase even with DropKick Murphy's on the bill, interesting that the show was announced with ZZTop and priced accordingly, yet last minute it's Murphy's.......interesting that folks bought seats for Aerosmith and ZZ Top and got Aerosmith and Dropkicks...........if I'd bought a ticket I would have felt ripped off

Jimmy Buffett barely sold out his Saturday show at the same venue and the thursday show was undersold that to placate Buffetts ego LiveNation had folks working the parking lots offering FREE upgrades from the lawn to great seats down front

AC/DC is stiffing big at Gillette Stadium, tix down to 29$ to move seats

McCartney isn't close to selling out Fenway Park and tix to his show are being used as an added attraction to attract biz for other LiveNation packages

AND OHHH woe is poor Springsteen, Comcast Mansfield isn't close to selling out either of his 2 shows

I've been to a dozen or so shows this summer at Comcast Mansfield this summer and very few have sold out, when talking with folks that usually don't care what the ticket price is I find that it's not just the economy sucking but the feeling that the last few years the acts and promoters have soaked the market so badly that it's not ticket price that are killing attendence IT IS A REVOLT over fans being treated like ATM machines for so long.

Brad Paisley had a great crowd, maybe it's because he prices fairly, keeps the merch reasonable, and appears that he's actually enjoying the gig;

So maybe it's time for new promoters, those not burdened with insane debt, to start bringing along some new talent, play the good guys like John Fogerty and Cheap Trick........ every time I've seen either they delivered some new tunes, some hits and just got the gig nailed. They delivered

Just random thoughts



After writing yesterday my phone rang and it was my contact at LiveNation Mansfield with an incredible offer;

"hey ___, if you know anybody that will actually attend Tuesday 7/28 AC/DC at Gillette we can comp you whatever you might need", so I asked what's the deal.....?

"it's selling so bad we're comping our season seat and box holders on this one to try to fill Gillette'

I called my kids, my wife called her kids (all 5 kids in their late 20's / early 30's) NO INTEREST even for freebies.

"why bother to drive to see AC/DC dad when we can buy the DVD for less than the cost of gas to the show."

tells me that having hit this market hard last fall at the Verizon and this winter at the TD BankNorth that this market is satuarated for AC/DC, even though they do put on a great show.



Hey Bob,

just an update on the giveaways re LiveNation Mansfield (BOSTON)

So after telling my LiveNation/Comcast contact last week "thanks but no thanks" re the AC/DC freebie offer guess what showed up via FedEX Monday July 27 ???

4 seats for AC/DC Tuesday(yesterday) !!!!!

quick call to my contact, thanks but c'mon. I can't use them..........................So it gets better, "___, any chance that if we sent a bunch more you could give them to your employees, etc etc etc."


So yesterday afternoon I'm having a slow day, too hot/humid for doing much of anything so in a flash of genius(????) I decide to walk downtown to see if I can GIVE AWAY 4 tix to AC/DC to the kids that hang out in the square/park.


Gets better,

A friend of mine went to the show last night and called this morning. He'd gotten some comps from the sponsorship folks at LiveNation Mansfield. 4 seats in the 300 level, not great not bad, BUT after the opening acts went off Live Nation folks went up to the 300 level where all the comps were and walked them down to loge seating, not just my friend but at least a couple of hundred people Rob said. The house was maybe 2/3 full.....................

So today I get a call from Live Nation asking me if I'm ready to renew for NEXT YEAR if they hold the box price !!!!!!

huh ???

"we're trying to get a jump on next year renewals and we can avoid a price increase for those box holders/season program folks if you renew NOW"

Price increase ???? I don't know if Live Nation is taking a page from GM / Chrysler / Ford about how to piss on the clients but asking for renewals for the 2010 season seems to indicate that their model just isn't working.

Now comes the truly stupid part: prior to this week there was an offer that if somebody purchased 3 individual show packages that Live Nation would throw in McCartney at Fenway, well today the deal is buy TWO(2) packages and you can get great McCartney seats as the throw in.............

And with less than a month to go before Springsteen the unsold season box inventory that had previously been priced at $2,000.
and the dropped to $1000. is NOW BASICALLY A NAME YOUR PRICE DEAL if the buyer will commit to purchasing season seats or a box for next year.

Bad economy, sure; BUT this national booking nonsense, inflated expectations on Live Nation and the act's part, and truly insane pricing has killed Live Nation here in Boston.

Try this: want section 2, 3rd row for the Pretenders at Harbor Lights (I think it's now Bank of America Pavillion) on the Boston waterfront ?????

still unsold..........

We have 8 seats for the show and it is selling so slowly we're wondering if it will be cancelled, ask Live Nation why Tom Jones was cancelled............ illness ???? c'mon maybe he'd sold out house of blues this past spring but to hit the same market again so soon?


You are correct on many points, it is not all doom and gloom. Today in chicago warped did over 23,000 without resorting to discounting, it will be our biggest show here ever.

You could walk up today and for $40.00 enjoy 70 bands and 9 hours of music. People will pay for value, we just have to go back to delivering it.

Take care,

Kevin Lyman
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


I went to Depeche Mode last night in Mansfield, MA (Boston) and there were 7,500 people there in a 22,500 shed.

Steve Leward


Of course there are some exceptions, namely Nickelback. With a reasonable ticket price, they are selling 18,000 - 22,000 tickets per night. They have three active rock singles still in heavy rotation off the new record, Dark Horse and plan to be on the road through next year. The show includes and exudes the greatness of the "forget about your problems and come see a true arena rock show". The band worships their fans and crew and makes friends with their industry peers. They've sold over twenty million records, blah,
blah, blah.

They'll be around for awhile. Check out the new live video that was shot at the sold-out 02 in London.

Please withhold my name if published in your mailbag. I enjoy your



From: megaboylv

Bobby boy the answer is simple
When you squeeze a lemon you get lemon juice; when you squeeze the lemon dry you get nothin
Don't lament don't predict the end the beginning is just around the corner and it will be the techies that get it right: why? Cause they are inventing culture not sucking it dry:)

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


I think what big acts like Madonna and U2 should do is downsize just a little bit. Don't go so crazy on the big stage and spectacle, play some hockey arenas, and deliver the music. They could charge you your first born and people would be breaking down the doors to do it. If Madonna didn't do all that retarded dancing, toned it down, and SANG HER SONGS, I'm sure it would be killer! Her Hard Candy tour sucked balls because we couldn't see her, and what we saw on the jumbotron was the poor sweaty old thing working far too hard to actually sing! Totally forgettable!

Neil Brock


Dan Millen:

I got 7 'friends and family' comps in the fidelity club section for ACDC at Gilette.

A very competant show in an endless victory lap that didn't really belong in a football stadium.

I got a little melancholy though when they flashed the cameras to the audience in the front few rows and it was all polo shirt white guys and their perfectly made up collegen implanted wives / girlfriends, certainly not the domestic beer swilling common man - the real fan who blasted ACDC out of their Camaros all summer long growing up - those people could barely afford the nosebleed seats...

Sent from my BlackBerry(r) smartphone with SprintSpeed


I went to the AC/DC show at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. For free. Live Nation contact offered freebies (very similar to the description below). I asked how many tickets I could get...and the response was "seriously? 20 or 30. Whatever you need." I requested 16 tickets, invited a bunch of people. Show was fun, although 2/3 full at best even with the papering. BUT-$40 to park at the stadium. Fucking ridiculous. No wonder people don't want to go anymore. You're ripped off at every turn. (And yes, I realize the irony of bitching about parking when the tix were free-but imagine the ire of those people who paid a small fortune for tickets and THEN got fucked on the parking!)

Keep on preaching,
David Ginsburg


Don Sullivan:

I thought you could buy a meatball sandwich at subway and see a live nation concert this summer for $5

Sent from my iPhone


Weren't the agents and concert promoters the ones clapping themselves on the back a year ago during the worst of the recession, stating that the concert business was "unaffected"? Sure - because people were going to see shows that had been on sale for 8 months! Fact of the matter is, with social media the way it is now, people are catching onto the fact that these companies are fucking consumers up the ass. $16 for a beer. $20 for parking. Facility fees. You name it, they've been doing it for years, and now it's finally coming home to roost.

Probably the worst offenses that I can imagine are in the ticketing department. Holding back the best seats in the house so that the consumer who gets up early, waits online or IN line to get a ticket is rewarded by getting mediocre seats. Thats the surest way to ensure that people will just wait for the DVD - going to the gig is NOT WORTH IT!

Stephen Tatton

SureFire Media + Promotion



Back in the brief golden era when the music still came first, I saw Mountain with T. Rex at Bill Graham's Fillmore East for a whopping $3.50. They both blew any of today's bands away. Three months later, the Fillmore closed and a new era of musical asphyxiation began - tons of hype, big promotion, even bigger ticket and album prices and - with all of that - less real, quality music. I can't see it ever going back.

Bob Brennan


Hi Bob,

You are so on target here! It would be great if the American public would actually boycott concerts for a season... or a year. Send a message to the blood sucking vampire artists and promoters that , "We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore!"

Unfortunately, it's not just the music business that needs to get that message. The leaders of our nation, with very few exceptions, have drifted out of touch. And what generation is to blame... why it's the "Baby Bummers", you know "The Greediest Generation". Somewhere along the way we decided that love was not all we needed... we also had to have that SUV and that boat and that house... the big one we really couldn't afford... unless... we overpriced our products or services just enough to cover our bets.

I'm sad to say that I fall right smack dab in the middle of the"Bummers". It's my generation... shame on us!

But that's just my opinion...

Jim Bacon



Normally wouldn't bother with you but this is ridiculous
_Be honest with your readers -you didn't really bother to check any facts regarding the sales on the u2 360 tour did you

__If you have been following the box scores or in fact if you had called and asked me you would have discovered that this is indeed on track to be a record setting tour on every level_
Most tickets sold in history for a tour_
Highest gross in history for a tour_
Sales records in virtually every venue played

__So far 15 shows played and 15 sellouts__

97 percent of capacity sold so far for a stadium tour with the largest per show capacities in the history of our business_
Come on bob stay with me here -you need to pay attention

__Are you familiar with the production and what It achieves
_Take a look at sales numbers
_Barcelona -2 shows 180300 sold_
Milan -2 shows 151000 sold_
Paris -2 shows 184000 sold_
Zagreb 2 shows 120000_
Amsterdam 2 shows 122000 sold_
Berlin 1 show 88000 sold
_Dublin 3 shows 240000 sold_
On and on

___Let's keep going because I know you -you will start to backtrack in the face of the facts -you will say well ok I get europe but.....__

Let's look at upcoming NA sales_
Chicago 2 shows 128000 sold_
Toronto 2 shows 108000_
Boston 2 shows 127000 sold_
Nyc-160000 sold
_LA 1 show 94000 sold
_Washington 1 show 72000 sold_
Tampa 1 show 61000 sold
_Dallas 1 show 63000 sold_
On and on___

Inevitably you are going to look dumb again

__The show is brilliant, the production is revolutionary,reviews incredible
_and the success is well deserved_
you see you have it ass backwards-it is called show business
_Unlike the shit you think is happening-real concert fans want a show, a spectacle, an experience and great songs_
And that is why u2 is the biggest band in the world

___Ps thought you had learned your lesson on madonna
_You know the "spectacle" sticky+sweet which has grossed 415m on 79 shows
_I thought you said a woman pop star couldn't do business in stadiums -_
You know- oseary and fogel crazy_
you know what she said -he must have a really big pen because everything else is likely very small______

Arthur Fogel_
CEO Global Touring and Chairman - Global Music_
Live Nation


From: Bob Lefsetz
To: Arthur Fogel

I'm addressing a different issue.
One of demand, not grosses.
Used to be, you just couldn't get a ticket. I agree, most U2 tickets sold, but not all.
So, with Madonna and U2 you report big grosses, but there are cracks in the edifices. Smaller in the case of those two, but they're representative of the whole.

And, meanwhile, the album was still a stiff. And you would have gone clean in moments if it wasn't.


From: Arthur Fogel
To: Bob Lefsetz

you are making yourself look more foolish with an answer like that
It is not a different point at all_
You don't check your facts _


And Bob, for the first time ever you could buy U2 tickets here in their hometown on the day of the show (last week's dates). Unheard of. Usually all sold out in Dublin in 5 minutes, 6 months ahead...

Dermot Hanrahan



Just saw U2 at the Three Croke Park concerts in Dublin. 80,000 plus fans, three nights not one person sitting everyone singing at the top of their lungs. Lots of scalpers giving tickets away 10 Euros I heard. Great shows but you are right a formulae that needs to change.

Ken Seider


Heya Bob

live nation does NOT want to sell out shows. if they do sell out a show the ticket price was to low. it's like with the $1.29 on itunes: sell 15% less but chrage 30% more and you are still on top.
u2's tour is some 90% sold as far as i know, and all the cheep tickets are gone. so i guess the ticket price was right this time...

Greetings from Switzerland

Olivier Schonbeck


Very interesting. I won tickets to the AC/DC Foxboro show but decided not to make the 2 hour drive from New Hampshire vacation because while AC/DC is great, going to Foxboro, paying $30 for parking to my free show, seeing the show and driving back is an 8-9 hour, go to bed at 3 am with my ears ringing ordeal I didn't want to deal with for almost the exact same show I saw 10 years ago.

It's very hard for me to enjoy super mega stadium shows. Maybe because I am 45 and jaded. I am going to U2 next month, but that will probably be it for my trips to Foxboro.

But in the past couple years, I went to see Rickie Lee Jones and Thomas Dolby at small clubs in Boston at a very reasonable price and volume level, and left feeling moved and thrilled at their talents and not gouged at all, and that got me thinking that was the kind of concert experience I'll seek out in the future.



I think you are looking at a small segment of the concert industry. I am agent for the Randy Rogers Band, and tonight in Austin we had 4500 people (a venue record), Earlier this week, over 2000 (sold out) in Corpus Christi. This is only 2 weeks after we opened for Corey Smith in Atlanta, where he had 6500 people. It is true that our tickets are around the $20 mark, but maybe bands like these are whom the people are spending Saturday nights with.

-Henry Glascock



Arco Arena, thru Ticketmaster, is selling tickets this weekend to Wednesday night's Rod Stewart show for 20 BUCKS (plus fees) thru a special email sent to folks who receive updates about events at Arco.
I've never seen Rod, and had been checking back now and then to see if any good seats were released. I kept getting section 101 (opposite side of the arena from the stage) Row D - and there was no way I was paying $120 plus fees for that. So when I clicked thru the email from Arco, I tried for one seat, and got it AGAIN. I thought, COME ON! So on a whim, I tried for 2 tickets, figuring my buddy might go if I got some good seats. I got the same section, same row, but now 2 seats. Jeezus! So I gave it one more try, using "best available" (vs. "lower level") - to my utter shock, got Section 1, FOURTH ROW on the FLOOR, seats 9 & 10 (which is towards center stage).

I jumped on those tix, and convinced my buddy to go. Including fees, I paid 66 dollars total for tickets that were normally priced at $120 (plus fees) EACH.

To bad Sleep Train in Wheatland is Live Nation... With a deal like that, I'd go see Def Lep and Cheap Trick (and suffer thru Poison).....

jj in sacramento


UK isn't too bad but we saw writing on the wall 18 months ago. As a result in most cases prices are reasonable - problem is when acts tour too much therefore the show isn't special and people won't go even when price is fair. The ticket price is only one cost of an evening at a gig._Take That did fantastic business but kept prices low and the least good seats were only £25 for a fantastic evening of entertainment. We did over 50k sales for both AC/DC and Springsteen in Glasgow but neither had played Scotland for a long time and prices were reasonable._ Festivals are great value in UK and on the whole continue to prosper - they are the I-pod of live music. T in the Park has already sold 50% of its tickets for 2010. Don't fleece them and they will come back!

Geoff Ellis


Hi Bob,

Concert ticket prices are stupid. It's because the promoters forgot what ONCE in a lifetime means. It doesn't mean twice or three times.

And the 'specialness' of the 'once' in a lifetime shows is over. Which is why the shows are not filling up. Oh, and did I mention there's a recession on?

When the Eagles started this crazy run-up, most of their true fans had never seen them live and were willing to pay a lot just to see them. For a 'once' in a lifetime experience.

Then Paul Simon, McCartney and others jumped on the bandwagon. Set a high ticket for 'once' in a lifetime.

Well, the hard core fans have now had the 'once' in a lifetime experience. And, they don't have the money for a second.

I love Van Morrison. I saw him do Astral Weeks - what I thought would be a 'once in a lifetime' experience - $125 plus another $20 in 'fees'. If, I'd had the money for the $375 front of the house seats I would have bought them for the once in a lifetime experience.

Now, he's back (3 times in the NY, CT area in the past 6 months). Thrice in a lifetime! I have a wealthy friend who sees him everywhere he plays. He wants me to see Van at the Palace Theater in Waterbury.

Wish I could.

But, with a $205 PLUS fees ticket price (for a mid-theatre seat), there's no way I can afford it. I already had my once in a lifetime for Astral Weeks.

I don't think I'm alone.

I love Leonard Cohen. I saw him at the Palace ($157 PLUS fees) and it was phenomenal. Once in a lifetime. But, now he's coming back to MSG. I'd like to see him but that would mean close to $200. I'd be there in a heartbeat for under $75 all in.

We have a local theatre near me that books some great acts. 250 seats. Tickets around $50 to see artists like Richie Havens, Jewel, Levon Helms, Earl Klugh or Rufus Wainwright. It may not be once in a lifetime, but the shows are great, you are up close, the price is right, the parking is free and there are no FEES.

That's where I'm putting my concert money these days.

John Parikhal
Joint Communications Corporation


Perfect example is Cold Play coming to Tampa next week and it crossed my mind to go but then I remembered that when I saw them in LA last yr I was Pissed that they only played like 1:35 and felt massively ripped off.. Once burnt twice shy !



It's not the concert business that's dying.
It's the audience for all these acts.
Specifically, all the boomers who would be at these shows if there portfolios hadn't disintegrated last year.
Quality acts with a younger demographic and a 20 - 30 dollar ticket price are doing well. At least up here in Toronto




Excuse the bad picture on the link below. I've had to review a few shows this summer at sheds around Chicago. As I have gone to will call for each of these shows, there are announcements to which shows they are offering discounts to and this is what I saw at two different shows over the last few weeks:

One comment I received from a music industry veteran who saw my post was "What's the gag? Parking to your average Aerosmith show costs more than $15".

As I walked into the venue, you are barraged by people trying to sell you tickets to not just ampitheater shows but to other Live Nation shows at smaller venues. The average ticket prices (all in) were between $5 and $10 for most of these acts. The irony is that the overwhelming amount of people I spoke to are just tired of the business and didn't want to be harassed. An ongoing comment I heard was "They have enough money" (referring to the acts and the promoters). The overwhelming feeling is that people do not want to pay more than $25 (all in) for cheap seats/lawn tickets and they don't feel like paying more than $75 for the best seats. A broker I spoke to recently told me that when Britney Spears was here, he sold the $65 face-value balcony seats for face but the $150 lower level seats they had to sell 2-for-1 and he told me that it took him until 7:30pm to get rid of them at that price.

People are tired of being taken advantage of and when they see these acts report their yearly earnings in Billboard and Rolling Stone, they don't congratulate their heroes, they realize how badly they have been taken advantage of. When they see Bon Jovi and Springsteen making $200+ million for a years work, they become bitter because what goes through the average fans head is "Couldn't they cut their ticket price in half and still be happy with $100 million?". When they look at the Billboard Boxscore and see that U2 make $55-million from six concerts, they wonder why with even a $100-million stage, that they can't charge a little less? In a nation where people are struggling to make mortgages, are losing jobs left and right, they are now beginning to look upon many of these rock stars in the same light as CEO's from financial instituions. In my humble opinion, this will haunt the concert industry for decades.

Tony Kuzminski
antiMusic Network-Special Features Editor


Hey Bob,

__There is something redeeming about the general public finally waking up to the crap that's been being rehashed for the last 25 years. Yeah, I'd rather watch a 1982 ACDC video than to go see a bunch of sweaty pre-senior citizens creek around on stage. It would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic. Then there's the issue of absolute crap concessions and their ridiculous prices. $12 for an 18-oz watered-down Miller beer? $5 for a bottle of water that everyone knows costs 49 cents. People feel insulted. They are over the corporate greed machine.

Tony Ferraro



I don't understand how artists can demand fees that don't allow their promoters to break even. Promoters have to rely on beer sales and sponsors before they can think about making a profit. It doesn't seem to matter if the band is a local or national act. Bands typically demand more money than ticket sales can support even if the show sells out and then when you consider rental fees and production costs... How can the independent promoter break even let alone turn a profit?



Keep this anonymous but live nation also just cut their money they pay theIr affiliates down to 1.5% from 3%.


if live shows are the bread and butter of a bands income, how is it that they are so desperate to pad seats that they just up and give away 60$ (at least) tickets yet and 99 cent download "thieves" are being sent to jail and sued for millions?




Toby Keith & Trace Adkins only sold 5200 tickets out of 12,000 capacity then the show got cancelled due to severe weather the day of and now they have a month and a half to try to push it through. They were even doing 2 tickets for $40 and $15 lawn on certain days/weekends.

Tim Jones


Hi Bob,

This off twitter 10 mins ago!

"For 20% off tickets to see Oasis at the I-Day Festival in Milan on 30th August, go to"

Also, there are promoters out there selling well, one of them is these guys: - and the reason it's probably working is because of the things you mention in your mails. They're providing a great, civilised experience for punters who are engaged in intelligent music. They've been slow and thorough on their journey (10 years) and punters, promoters and artists respect for each other is mutual. They are succeeding and growing. More of these guys, less of the other guys.

Louis Warner


Those big Rock and Roll Hall of fame shows went on sale to the general public this morning at 9 after being on Amex Pre-sale for a week.

I was curious about grabbing a ticket to the second night with U2 Clapton and Metallica. It is 1:40 PM EST and I was able to purchase a ticket in section 83, in the loge right above the floor.

One would think that level of talent could sell out the Garden pretty quickly even at a $2500 top ticket price.

Seth Diamond


Couldn't agree with you more, Bob. I've always been a huge Aerosmith fan. A mere ten years ago I would get a $40 ticket through the fan club, drive up to 8 hours to each venue, pay for a hotel room - for less than $200 bucks. I did this five times on the Nine Lives tour alone. FIVE TIMES! Back then the fan club was worth something and they gave you a payback for loyalty - usually a 2nd row ticket. Fifth row at worst.

Now, Aerosmith is coming an hour from my home and I'm refusing to see them. $250 for a ticket to be guaranteed a coveted seat in the first 25 rows???? I don't think so. Why am I in the fan club again? What is my reward for loyalty? Oh yes, if I want to be guaranteed in the second row I have to buy the platinum package that gets me two minute meet and greet with Steven and Joe. Only $1,200!!! What a deal!

And big acts don't understand why their tickets aren't selling?? WAKE UP! The most unfortunate part is that they are screwing their long time, and most loyal fans the most. All for the all mighty buck.

They lost this fan. Sad that they can't see beyond their own asses.

Rose Triebner


Here's news flash: baby boomers don't like sitting on the lawn or standing up in an old venue that's had the seats ripped out. I should know; we had folks from Atlanta make the 3-hour drive to Tuscaloosa to see Aimee Mann at my theatre because - their words - they "didn't want to stand up for two hours at the (venue) in Atlanta." I hear this from a lot of people. At 57 years of age, I feel the same way. Just saying.

David Allgood
Bama Theatre
Tuscaloosa, Alabama


Guess this show can't sell out without 50% off sales either. Great pieces from you about this concert industry.

Saw Steely Dan Friday, cost me $4 to buy Dasani, water from the tap so to speak, if I wasn't desperate they wouldn't even get that from me.

I never buy anything at a show at the prices they charge and frankly, tomorrow's Depeche Mode show might be my last concert experience ever. I'm so done with the rude fuckers outside searching me. What gives them the right to give me attitude? Who's paying whose salary here?

And it's just no longer fun listening to people talk behind me while the others next to me text their friends. No one's even tuned in to the music they spent money to attend.

Bill Cason
VP Media & Artist Development
Shanachie Entertainment


"Now the concert business is imploding."

Now? It was in serious trouble two years ago... only now has the mainstream caught on... late as always...

"Ticket sales are not in the dumper because of the economy."

Seriously? That is a strange conclusion... considering that the common fan was all to happy to pay exorbitant prices to see over the hill acts as recently as a year ago... Or did you not notice that about a year ago more and more shows were going on sale earlier and earlier? It was all about getting that last buck before the shit hit the fan. Maybe the folks running things aren't as stupid as you think. They certainly still live in nice houses and drive expensive cars.

They saw the coming storm and got all they could while they could. And you know what? They are still making money playing to half empty buildings. They were smart enough to get in bed with brokers and form alternate income streams. Did they fuck over the fans? Of course... after all, who cares about the fans or the music. Turn and burn. It's over anyhow. We're all whistling past the graveyard.

As for newspapers... let's see where everyone gets their (for the most part) accurate and responsible journalism once newspapers are dead and buried. Or do you think TMZ is going to open a Baghdad bureau soon? Be careful what you wish for... I guess serious journalism is no longer needed in a country where Britney's shaved pussy is considered "newsworthy"...

Get in the starting blocks, it's a race to the bottom and we've got a long way to go before we get there. You think it's bad now? Another wave of foreclosures, 25% unemployment (the real number, not the bullshit government statistic), the collapse of commercial real estate and massive credit card defaults should have us good and buried by this time next year.

But at least we can print more money, right?

Roy Jurgens


Hi Bob.

The reason that Live Nation is offering no service charge Wednesday's, 2 for 1 tickets and the other packages is not because they care about the fans and the economy, like they have been saying, it is because they don't have enough money to pay for the artist deposits for the summer season and they desperately need to have more income to pay the artists deposits.

The booking agents and managers are very nervous right now. They do understand that Live Nation may not be able to pay them if their acts don't sell enough tickets, but this is not changing the way they do business.

The agents are asking substantially more than their acts are worth in most situations and won't accept reasonable offers from promoters. If the promoter doesn't give the agent whats he asks, they don't perform in that city or market.

Agents and managers do not feel the need to have their acts perform if they don't get the amount of money they think they are worth, and now agents and managers believe their acts are worth what the highest fee paid has been, and with the big festivals paying stupid amounts of money to acts, these huge amounts are what the agents and managers believe their acts are worth almost everywhere.

The Grateful Dead book, A Long Strange Trip, by Dennis McNally is a must read for anyone interested in rock music and the concert business. From their inception in 1965, the Dead were apolitical, yet played at just about any rally or event they were asked to. A large part of their shows between 1965 and the early 1970s, were free shows to the public and they didn't get paid. So why did The Grateful Dead play political events that they had no direct interest in and why did they play hundreds of parties, events and concerts if they knew they would not be paid? BECAUSE THEY ARE MUSICIANS AND MUSICIANS PLAY MUSIC AND BECAUSE THEY ARE A ROCK BAND AND WHAT GOOD IS A ROCK BAND WITHOUT A PLACE AND REASON TO PLAY!!!.

The Grateful Dead played because they loved to play, for themselves and for the fans. An act is only as good as its fans and the Grateful Dead were a great band with great fans and their decisions to play for anyone who asked them to, and for little or no money, directly related to their ability to sell huge numbers of tickets, wherever they went, for the rest of their extremely long and successful career.

The concert business is currently being run by people who don't give a shit about music, the fans or the acts. It is only and solely about the deals and making as much money as possible while doing as little work as possible. The acts keep playing shorter and shorter sets, in fewer cities, while asking more and more money each time and we wonder why people aren't buying concert tickets?

Nothing short of a complete and total meltdown of the concert business is going to have any real impact on the people who are currently operating the concert business. The concert business will be completely destroyed by the short sightedness and greed of the agents, managers and acts, and hopefully some kinder, enthusiastic, music based people will step up and care for a once great business that meant so much to so many people for such a long time.

This thing that is currently called the concert business bears no resemblance to the business I knew and loved as a kid going to concerts in the 1970's and as a businessman that operated a successful concert company until 1997.

The short version is Fuck Robert Sillerman, Fuck Live Nation, Fuck Clear Channel, Fuck WMG, Interscope/A&M/Geffen, Fuck the major agencies, management companies, record labels and Fuck all the other corporations and greedy people that forgot about the art and magic of music and who sucked the life and excitement out of music and trashed a beautiful business, society and culture.

The thing that still gets me is that before Clear Channel gobbled up the majority of the radio stations, before Robert Sillerman, before Vivendi, before all the big companies merged and conglomerated the different areas of the music business, these pre-merger businesses were very profitable, exciting and vibrant and after the merging and consolidation (which was meant to drastically increase profits), all these companies have lost more money than most people believed possible and are currently and consistently losing huge amounts of money, with no real plan to turn it around while continuing to alienate the remaining music fans.

The merging and conglomerating of the music business has not worked for anyone, except the few superstar acts, their managers and agents. They have hijacked all of the music fans' disposable income for their few, already established acts and have laid waste to, what was once the most relevant art form on the planet earth. They trashed a beautiful culture for the sake of making more money for the already extremely rich, to the detriment of music fans everywhere.

Tom Bunch
TAB Management

Lyman had one of the biggest stars in the world in 1998 that would of treated him and his vision like kings, but he treated me like a bitch. And now he's the bitch, punk rock??? Maybe punk ass mofo!? In the immortal words of ted nugent "fuck him in the nose". I respect em, na, no I don't....he sucked "penny wise" dick and all them california bands dicks....he sucked mine eventually, but now its too late. He's one of the many that think "cool" is for sale. Its not. Ask paul allen. (But I love "vans" shoes, comfortable as hell!!!)

Kid Rock


Re-Arthur Fogel/U2

these counts are lies

I know this for a fact

one of the shows is over 20,000 short of the number Arthur says

they tell congress they're on their death bed...and just watch tomorrow's quarterly report trumpet how great things are

the news has been full of people getting in big trouble painting the wrong picture to stockholders, investors, and the public

and so will they

name withheld by request


I don't know if you knew this but, I dock my sail boat at Ontario Place Marina, directly behind the Molson Amphitheatre and can HEAR any concert I want, plain as day, and can have a conversation as well...

Best so far? Judas Priest/Whitesnake and Def Leppard/Cheap Trick (barbecued during Poison, ahem)... They're as good as they ever were.

The only show I have any interest in seeing with my own eyes is Kid Rock. I went with Karen and Sari last year (via the ss Chiquita), and he was freaking great.

Costs me nothing..... And I pay about $2 a beer from my cooler. Can't really beat that now can ya?

RJ Guha
Matrix Entertainment (est. 1992)


Metallica. Still very relevant, still touring to sold out shows. Why? Decent ticket prices and an excellent live show. Due to their ticket prices being lower, they won't be up in the top selling tour list, but if you went by tickets sold, rather than gross, they'd be right up there. Pearl Jam is the same way. They sell out shows in minutes, and keep the prices down. Amazing how both of these bands can do arena tours, sell out AND manage to keep the price reasonable all at the same time. It's nice to see that not all rock bands are greedy.



I love the comment that Madonna should play smaller venues so people can hear her sing. I thought that was the point of the dancing- no one can hear her sing.

William Nollman


The entire concert business is not imploding, you just have to look at the right shows. This morning, the AP Tour Fall Ball went on pre-sale. For 4 bands at the Avalon, service charges, and $1 for shipping, my ticket came out to $18.99. After about an hour or two of pre-sale tickets going on sale, a few venues had already sold out. True this is the pre-sale (thus less tickets, easier to sell out), but I'm sure a lot of these dates will sell out quickly once the rest of the tickets go on sale, because THEY'RE AFFORDABLE!

Feeling good about this purchase, I decided to get Rob Thomas and Carolina Liar (a group you had actually written about a few months ago) tickets, as it's Livenation's good deals day. They're playing at Gibson Aphitheatre, which is *not* doing the service fee free day. Just the tickets were about $50. I guess I'm skipping that show.

Liza Sheketoff


Man, all you have to do is watch that Nickelback video to see why these guys are killin it at the box office and still selling records, I am not a huge fan but they know their audience and have the formula buttoned down pat. Cheesy but catchy songs that let people rock out with their first pumpin, who else is giving that today?

Richard Deacon
President Saddle-Up Media



When all of the small stage (lost count of how many side stages their are) are "buy-ons" by bands and labels (not to mention how much every single tent costs to rent) and you have tons of sponsor cash, and you take 30% of ALL of the bands merch, you don't HAVE to discount...

Please don't print my name. But him writing that is pretty disgusting...


Hey Bob

I'm sure you know...but Phish just sold out 4 nights in a row at Red Rocks. Offers for tickets I heard in the lot included $350 cash, $150 cash plus weed, $150 cash plus tickets to the next two shows at the Gorge, $100 cash plus the sex act of the lucky extra ticket holder's choice from the naked chick making the offer.

Red Rocks is a special place...and Phish is still a special band.

Marty Acaster


Hey Bob,
Long time listener, first time caller.

I usually don't pay attention to the big names in touring because the ticket costs have been pretty ridiculous for quite a while. But this one caught my eye, and in case no one's emailed you about it already, I thought you'd get a laugh:

For the bargain price of $10 you get a chance to open for Creed. You also get free tickets to the show, just for submitting to the "contest." I bet they really, really hope you come. The best part of this listing? Check it out:

"Selected artists will be able to sell $10 tickets to their fans (no obligation) to see them perform at the show. Bringing fans will not only provide a better experience for the selected band but will also make a good impression on Live Nation."

Live Nation wants you to bring as many fans as you can. Oh, and do their job for them. You know, so you make a good impression....because wouldn't you want to work with a company that can't seem to sell tickets, properly promote, and successfully book a tour for a multi-platinum rock band from the 90s?



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