THE LEFSETZ LETTER: Nathan In Aspen

90% of the tickets go to bots.


Okay, you're sitting in your underwear, it's Saturday at 10 AM, you've logged on to ticketmaster.com to buy tickets for your favorite act and you're locked out, or the tickets you ultimately get are in the nosebleed section.


Why?


THE BOTS!


In the first five minutes of the Ticketmaster onsale, NINETY PERCENT of the tickets go to the scalpers!


Whose problem is this?


The acts'. And their agents and managers. And the promoters.


But none of these people want change.


Nathan Hubbard, CEO of Ticketmaster, wants change.


What has he done so far?


He's brought in seatmaps, so you can see where your seat is gonna be.


Bob Lefsetz, Santa Monica-based industry legend, is the author of the e-mail newsletter, "The Lefsetz Letter". Famous for being beholden to no one, and speaking the truth, Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.

His intense brilliance captivates readers from Steven Tyler to Rick Nielsen to Bryan Adams to Quincy Jones to music business honchos like Michael Rapino, Randy Phillips, Don Ienner, Cliff Burnstein, Irving Azoff and Tom Freston.

Never boring, always entertaining, Mr. Lefsetz's insights are fueled by his stint as an entertainment business attorney, majordomo of Sanctuary Music's American division and consultancies to major labels.

Bob has been a weekly contributor to CelebrityAccess and Encore since 2001, and we plan many more years of partnership with him. While we here at CelebrityAccess and Encore do not necessarily agree with all of Bob's opinions, we are proud to help share them with you.

He's instituted all-in pricing. So you can see what the show is gonna cost on page one instead of page four.


The public loves this, they love the Ticketmaster guarantee, that says if the show is canceled you get your fees back too (only about 50%, legacy deals prevent 100%), Nathan is fan-centric.


And we've got a business that couldn't care less about the fan, it only cares about the money. It's like we all live in a bad version of "Life In The Fast Lane" and the car's gonna crash real soon so we desperately want the cash. There's no long term thinking. Sure, there are hit acts, but the biggest threat to the entertainment business is not the fans, but those running it.


Seatmaps and all-in pricing DROVE UP SALES!


And integration with Facebook INCREASED sales!


The biggest problem is pricing shows properly. And Nathan's attacking that.


He's got reams of data. He believes there should be multiple price points, you can now change the price of seats on the fly, the vaunted dynamic pricing, the Yankees just did it. Why is music so far behind sports in ticketing? Because we're living in an agrarian backwater and sports are living in the present, Internet age.


It's all about data. Sure, other ticket companies can charge lower fees, but are they preparing for the future?


I wish Nathan Hubbard could speak in small groups to everybody in our industry. Then, maybe they'd get it. That the way out of this mess is us, that we've got to stop being so self-centered while blaming everybody else.


Nathan wants to get rid of the 10 AM onsale. He wants to verify those buying tickets are really those people. And he doesn't want to outlaw brokers, they can be a valuable part of the chain, but first and foremost, HOW CAN WE GET FANS THE BEST SEATS!


Get a good seat and you're closed for life.


Nathan sat in the first row for Lyle Lovett at age sixteen and he became a fan for life. Put the hedge funder in the first row and he's forgotten the gig not long after he left early.



It's about the fan!


The Internet changed the concert business, not only the record business. Offer a discount, paper a show and EVERYBODY KNOWS! Better to price the gig appropriately the first time.


Maybe front row is exorbitant, hundreds of dollars, but the upper bowl is less than ten. The Orlando Magic charge SIX BUCKS for the upper bowl at their arena! That's what those shows are worth! Why are we asking forty or fifty dollars for lousy seats and training people to wait for the ultimate discount or giveaway!


Someone's got to stand up and say NO MAS! Someone's got to turn the Titanic around.


And even though the ignorant public thinks Ticketmaster is the problem, everybody on the inside knows the company takes the heat for the profiteers, the acts and the promoters and the venues. We can continue to live in the past and pile on Ticketmaster or start executing change.


Data will set you free. It tells you who bought a ticket, how many they bought, where they live, how many shows they go to… We can now tell you what a show is worth. That's what Ticketmaster can do. But the agents and managers and acts and promoters and venues don't want to listen.


Know what happens when you don't pay attention to the future, when you stop listening to your customers?


Your business dies.


Look to the labels for a start.


Live can be saved.


Some tickets are underpriced, too many are overpriced.


And it's impossible for a fan to get a good seat.


You expect people to run this gauntlet to go?


It's a heinous experience. We need a revolution.


Ticketmaster may be the behemoth, but they're the only ones doubling down on change. Pay attention.

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