Monday 6 April 2009

Ticket market needs change

The power of the internet has opened new opportunities for musicians. Bypassing the big record labels with their killer contracts they can bring their music directly to the fans. Declining record sales make live performances more important to generate revenues. However this part of the market is also dominated by a few money hungry companies.

When I was a young boy my first big stadium concert cost me the equivalent of $20. This was in 1990 and I was watching U2 play live. Now I pay at least over $100 dollars to see the same band play live. That's a steep inflation. It is also hard to see upcoming bands for a friendly price. Nowadays you don't want to check out an unknown band for $30 unless you know it's gonna be good.

The declining record sales have made live performances much more important to generate revenues. However only a few companies seem to hold the right to initiate the ticket sales. Since concert tickets are becoming more scarce ticket prices go up and black market prices are exploding. Ticket companies don't seem to mind since they almost hold monopoly positions and are benefiting from rising prices. Musicians only get a small part of the revenues. Sounds familiar?

And nowadays the black market is turning to the internet as well. Many websites with names close to official sales sites offer concert ticket for double or even higher prices. How on earth are these sites able to get their hands on so many tickets? The official sites are only increasing scarcity by introducing horrific ways for buying tickets online and putting up ridiculous queue pages. And the recent issue with tickets to Bruce Springsteen concerts show that official agencies may even be linked to the secondary market. So in the end only companies selling tickets are taking advantage of this situation both official and black market. Don't expect them to change this profitable situation soon.

Maybe it's time for government regulation to step in and put a hold to this since the market itself never will. The initiative by NY senator Schumer doesn't seem really righteous. But it's time to cut out another middle man and bring musicians and fans closer together.

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