Ticketmaster Blues: The past (and future) of the Live Music Industry

Ticketmaster Blues: The past (and future) of the Live Music Industry

It can feel hard to believe, but it seems like live music in the US might be coming back (finally). Which also means that bands and fans are getting ready to line up and spend a LOT of time and money with the concert behemoth that is Live Nation / Ticketmaster, a massive public corporation with a lock on the American concert industry. But how did these companies achieve their position? What exactly does a promoter do anyway? And what was the deal with that whole Pearl Jam vs. Ticketmaster thing? Sam and Saxon celebrate the return of the road with a deep dive into the touring industry—from the secondary-market-formerly-known-as-scalping to the unexpected heroism of Garth Brooks. Turn the page, baby. Turn the page.  


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Time Stamps

0:20 - Live music is back and the economy of music gets rolling.

2:10 - Sill work to be done: Small indie venues haven’t re-opened, Save Our Stages still hasn’t paid their government bail out money  and the behind the scenes jobs are yet to be filled.

4:30 - Rewriting the Pearl Jam vs. Ticketmaster narrative.

8:30 - The most popular rock band in America tries to go on tour without Ticketmaster.

11:00 - How event ticketing originally work and why it was a mess.

12:30 - Ticketmaster changes the game on the back of new technologies and becomes central to the music industry.

14:30 - The rise of the “service fee.”

15:15 - Breakdown of where  the money goes in the price of ticket.

19:40 - How Pearl Jam  wanted to lower ticket prices without putting a dent in their cut.

21:00 - Was Pearl Jam full of sh*t??

24:00 - The tension of what live music is worth, who should get paid and the difficulty in assessing what is appropriate price of a ticket.

28:30 - Are Pearl Jam and Ticketmaster on the same side of the coin?

30:50 -There are endless shades of grey in the big complicated machine that is the music industry. 

32:00 - Beavis and Butthead interlude.

33:25 - How today’s ticketing industry became the monster it is.

37:30 - How Live Nation changed the game  and started throwing its weight around.

43:00 - An elite class of venues and bands develops.

44:30 - As the biggest artists begin to squeeze Live Nation, the company looks elsewhere for profit in ticketing.

46:30 - How the industry that Live Nation built out is deleterious to music and monopolistic.

49:00 - Is the current state of the music industry unsustainable, even for Live Nation?

50:30 - The rise of festivals.

52:00 - How the price of the ticket can reflect on an artist’s brand and its relationship with fans.

55:10 - The development of the secondary ticket market and Live Nation’s move into this market to supplement a lack of profit.

59:30 - The inefficiencies of an industry focused on extracting profit in new ways might be its dead end.

01:01:00- How big artists have reacted to keeping tickets at a fair price.

01:04:00 - The stakes at play and is there a more fair and livable alternative?

01:05:15 - Understanding the complexities of this live music industry and its inequalities.


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