I gave my favorite ticketing whipping boy another chance this morning and, sadly, the results were mixed.

I had to go back to Live Nation to try to pick up tickets for the Phish show at Darien in August. And I’m happy to say I didn’t have to re-live my nightmare from a couple months ago — we have our tix for that trip.

All is not well with Live Nation, though … my new buddy Yohe said he got caught in the same loop I was stuck in back in January — order page, denial, waiting room, lather, rinse, repeat — and and by the time he escaped, the tickets were gone.

(Don’t feel too bad for Yohe, though — he scored tickets to the Red Rocks shows through the band’s pre-sale — and, I’ll be looking forward to hanging with him at Star Lake in June.)

It’s true I’m not feeling the same level of venom I was in January, but: Live Nation still isn’t ready for the big time. I noticed some adjustments — a 10-minute transaction clock this time instead of the absurd 2-minute clock I saw in January — but if customers — who are registered, there on time and have done everything else right — are not getting a fair crack at tickets because Live Nation’s site can’t handle the load, there is still a tremendous problem that Live Nation needs to fix.

I’m not asking for anything that’s unreasonable here. We’re aware the demand is huge, and that we’re going to be competing with thousands of other people for that pair of tickets we’re trying to buy. We understand that the tickets are going to go fast, and that we’re not going to get them every time.

But if we’re not getting a shot at those tickets because your shit isn’t working, we’re not going to be happy with you, Live Nation. Every time.


  1. Yeah, not the worst loss I’ve suffered this summer by far, I’m just glad you got your tix.
    Same thing happened to me this time as the first onsale, waiting rooms, error after error, payment page followed by error, the same old Live Nation (old meaning ?4? months of the same…).

    As far as the belly of the beast, its a problem that seems easy to solve, were it not for the greed complicit in the industry and its secondary markets… LiveNation was supposed to be the savior for fans, shepherding us from the abusive relationship we had with Ticketbastard and ushering in a “fan friendly” era of ticketing. Especially soothing considering the Hampton TM/TicketsNow fiasco (why the Boss got answers and Phish didn’t, thats a whole other matter but I digress…). With tickets being forced upon weary fans from the secondary market even before the shows sold out, Ticketmaster had laid the straw that broke the camels back. (ed. note: for those not “in the know” secondary market is a term not unlike “undocumented workers”, its a nicer term for a darker problem, call it what it is, scalping, run by a corrupt organization, not unlike a lot of other dark and dastardly deeds). LiveNation was supposed to be like the girl you settle down with after your done chasing after all the wrong women and finally let yourself meet the right one. Little did we know she was shacking up with the ex. After the Hampton shambles the LiveNation onsales are possibly even a worse debacle. Hundreds of error pages, magically changing wait times (faulty queues anyone?), ticket options dissappearing and reappearing at whim. How hard is it make a site that just works, and to ensure you have enough bandwidth.

    So how do you fix it?
    These solutions aren’t 100% vetted but they seem reasonable enough:

    1)The lottery system, just like the fan pre-sales.
    Let everyone register over the entry period (6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours….band picks). A lottery is held, winners are charged and notified, the losers get the dreaded “Better luck next time, please don’t scalp tix” email.
    This prevents almost all bandwidth issues and gives everyone a fairer shot regardless of network connection(s) speed and without any time zone issues, etc.

    2)The other option I came across : Tie the tickets to the Credit Card. You have to show the card to get into the show. Again, this could be at the discretion of the band, but most shows with this level of demand are attracting an older crowd with the purchasing power to snag the tickets. And if you are buying them online, you aren’t paying cash (so only local fans at TM/LN outlets even have a cash option). Why does this work? Forces the scalpers to work MUCH harder. They rely on massive networks of phone banks and computers to do their job, as well as a large line of credit. Now what happens when they need a new unique line of credit for each ticket? And are they going to ship a credit card with each ticket broker order? You could even go so far as to match the Credit Card with a Photo ID. (Yes yes yes, that is a bit absurd, and I hate the photo id checks as much as anyone, but I hate even more seeing my chances at enjoying my hard earned money and free time dwindle as some corrupt conglomerate buys up all my desired avenues, only to sell them to me at a 500% or more markup) Point is, there are identity/purchasing checks that could help to make it a LOT harder for the scalpers (although you’ll never totally eliminate it).

    Reforming the laws likely won’t work, it’ll just result in another law that won’t be enforced properly, if at all and will probably end up hurting fans as much as it ever will the business practices its trying to change.

    Anyways…thats my take.
    I don’t see it getting any better and if it stays like this (or heaven forbid the merger actually goes through) it will probably forever change the concert industry in the next few years, and not for the positive.
    Light at the end of the tunnel : AEG has gone on the record stating that if the merger goes through they see that as a move that changes the situation enough to invalidate their current contract and allow them to renegotiate or even (hopefully) void it. (AEG is the corporation that owns the VAST majority of venues serviced by TM).

    My next challenge : creating the right trade/barter offer for my Red Rock extras, and patiently waiting for the Fenway announcement.


  2. Yohe- agreed on several counts, but mainly that we can’t rely on the lawmakers to fix this problem. Many in state legislatures are uneducated on the real issues on this industry. It’s not surprising that Ticketmaster is spending big lobbying bucks to try and advance bills to sway things in it’s favor – check out what they want to do to fan presales in Florida and Minnesota: http://blog.ticketbiscuit.com/2009/03/30/ticketmaster-working-to-outlaw-presales-in-florida-and-minnesota-contact-your-legislators/


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