Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Closer by George … on Ticketmaster auctions …

Last night George closed off the show (and for the record George, I was one of your 2 viewers that wasn't watching Idol or hockey for the live broadcast, lol) with discussion of a new idea by Ticketmaster to auction off seats for concerts, regardless of the face value of the ticket. They say the extra proceeds will be split between the ands, the venues, and, of course, Ticketmaster themselves. In Ticketmaster's defence, they are reacting to a HUGE increas in ticket scalping facillitated by websites like eBay and Craigslist. Whether this is th correct repsnse remains to be seen, but it needs to be noted that the problem Ticketmaster is trying to address is a serious one.

That being said, I have to agree with most of George's 'rant' about it as well. My first question would be why, if its illegal for me to re-sell my ticket at higher than the face value, and if Ticketmaster's claim is that these online ticket auctions are, in fact, illegal, then why is their auction legal? If the issue is the face value of the ticket, then perhaps they address it by splitting the extra cash with the bands, but I HAVE to think bands have a say in this. I can't imagine that every band will be happy about the notion that the face value on the tickets is being ignored … certainly if I was in a band, I be asking Ticketmaster where they get the right to change the terms of conditions to see MY show.

But I think my biggest issue is that music has already priced itself out of most people's budgets. I shake my head when I hear of some of the ticket prices, and when the 'normal' price range is upwards of $200 for shows like the Stones or Madonna (I know her new one is even higher), I truly wonder how bands think they can form the relationships with young fans.

Probably my best musical memory is from October of 1982. Early in that month, the Who, along with Joe Jackson and the Clash, set up shop for the afternoon at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, and while I don't remember what the tickets cost, I know it was a very reasonable day that a 15 year old kid could afford without incident. And I know that day I formed a lifelong love of the Clash, an appreciation that I didn't have going into the show … I was there for Jackson and The Who.

I wonder if today I could have even gone to that show? Certainly, with a ticketmaster auction, even the stampede seats we bought might have been out of our price range (and for the record, yes, that was the concert that was just a week or so after the stampede in Bufflao's Rich Stadium killed a few fans). I wonder in today's climate, would I not only have missed an amazing afternoon of music from the Who and Jackson, but would I also have never discovered just what an amazing band the Clash really was? I worry about the 15 year old kid today who might have to come up with $400 to go to that same concert. For us, back in '82, it wa sa cheap afternoon of amazing entertainment, and a day that will stay with me my entire life. But today, I doubt I could even have afforded the ticket in the first place. And thats the real shame, IMO.


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