I went to go see some friends of mine play last week at Chicago’s Double Door. The show was $5.00. It was in the basement. It was a good time, especially for a Tuesday night: some beers were shared; some laughs were had; and some serious shit-kicking rock ‘n’ roll was brought into being and sustained for 42 minutes, galvanizing the attention of a small but eager crowd and fostering one of those rare occurrences where you can palpably feel a collective consciousness billowing out underneath the moldy rafters. “Ah,” I thought, “live music is good right now. Five bucks? …well spent.”
Losses at Live Nation continued to grow throughout last quarter as a result of the cost of its merger with Ticketmaster, a drastic drop in income from Tickets Now, and generally faltering concert attendance. The company continues to claim that ye olde Ticketmaster merger (of which everyone was such a big fan) will eventually save them $40 million in redundant costs, seemingly disinterested in the fact that they have to, you know, actually sell tickets to make that happen. Last year they dropped 3% to 6.8 million from 7.1 million in the previous year, even though the total spending per concert-goer grew 2% to $59.71 from last year’s $58.57 (possibly because ticket prices rose overall to help mitigate the cost of Lady Gaga’s stage clothes).
Live Nation also took another slap-on-the-wrist-to-the-face when the ticket-reselling site Tickets Now — which had been delivering $15 million in revenue a year to its parent company Ticketmaster — was forced to remove its links from Ticketmaster’s main site in cooperation with the feds to gain merger approval. After that, revenues from Tickets Now fell to $1 million. “The minute we had to unlink from our website, that business over the last year has deteriorated,” says CEO Michael Rapino. “So we’re looking at strategic options for that division.” Might I suggest doing some $5.00 shows? Or maybe $5.00 footlongs, at least? That always seems like a good deal.