Trouble In Paradise? Live Nation’s Relationship With Ticketmaster on the Rocks

If you're anything like most TMT readers, you're probably trying to survive on a pretty tight budget. After all, how were you to have known that working at a used record store wouldn't immediately pay off those student loans? [Editor's Note: You probably work side by side with a TMT editor.] Sure, it's only a temporary gig. Either way, you still don't have an abundance of surplus cash lying around waiting to be stuffed into the already bulging pockets of a billion-dollar corporation. For this reason, I'm sure it's especially painful when you ask a friend how much you owe for getting you that ticket to this or that show or festival, coming up on this or that weekend, and your friend replies: "Well, the tickets themselves were only, like, eight dollars. But with all those service charges, you know... well... (takes bong rip) I'm going to need $66.50." (He exhales.)

And then it happens: the blood rushes to your head. You feel sick to your stomach. Everything turns a dark shade of purple. We've all been there, and as time passes, we can all agree that this shit is getting far too common. You can't afford to eat for the next two weeks, and meanwhile Ticketmaster is looking more and more like Jabba the Hut circa the beginning of Return of the Jedi. And then you wake up one day to find Ticketmaster has your sister parading around in a gold bikini and your best friend frozen in carbonite. (Your money paid for that gold bikini! And that carbonite!)

The good news? If Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino can be trusted (FYI: Live Nation is a Clear Channel spinoff, with some Clear Channel hot-shots behind the scenes), you might have a new ally in your quest to make it out of the ticket-buying process without losing a hand. Apparently disturbed by the statistic that 70% of people didn't attend a concert at all last year, Rapino recently told the L.A. Times that he is working to secure lower ticket prices for the nearly 30,000 concerts that LN produces annually.

Although Live Nation is legally bound to Ticketmaster, the contract between the two companies expires in 2008 — which, as luck would have it, is the perfect time for a Third Eye Blind/Sugar Ray double-reunion tour. If LN opts to do most of its own ticketing rather than renew a contract with TM(not T!), prices for this super-tour and others could drop significantly. At any rate, service charges look to be substantially lower than the 25-35% TM has become notorious for demanding.

Take heart, hungry reader; 2008 isn't so far away. And in the meantime, enjoy some Ramen.