THE LEFSETZ LETTER: U2 Ticket Debacle

by Bob Lefsetz

Why don't they just make the tickets a thousand bucks.

Okay, first we had the TICKETING charge. Then we had the FACILITY charge. Now we've got the FAN CLUB charge.

Never mind the parking fee and the exorbitant concession prices once you actually GET to the gig.

Supposedly U2 is a PEOPLE'S band. With Bono trying to save the whole continent of Africa. Well, if THAT'S the case, rather than trying to persuade Republicans in D.C. who are LOWERING charitable contributions to foreign nations to cough up cash, why not just ask your FANS to pony up the bucks.

Yup, he who makes the biggest donation to African aid wins the right to buy a ticket. Or, AT LEAST make the fan club charge a charitable donation.

Fan club. What a EUPHEMISM! Why don't you just call it what it is, a PRIORITY SEATING CHARGE.

Oops, that wouldn't be accurate. Because even after paying your forty bucks you got lousy seats. Because the GOOD seats had to be held back for insiders. I mean that's the way the business works, RIGHT?

Now I know about wanting to see shows. I sent a check special delivery to see Bob Dylan at his comeback show at Madison Square Garden back in '74. You could only buy four seats. And the seats I got were in the loge, pretty good, in fact.

How is it that without computers, thirty years ago, the odds of getting good seats was HIGHER than it is with all of today's technology?

You should AT LEAST offer the best seats to fans. I mean you're holding the good seats back for the people who WON'T pay the additional forty bucks?

Or, let's just make it truly democratic. The highest price wins.

Yup, all the tickets go up on sale on eBay. He who bids highest, gets them. Hell, that's what ends up happening ANYWAY! It's just that the profit ends up going to ticket brokers.

Oh YES, the price will end up being exorbitant. For the good seats anyway.

But believe me, the nosebleed seats will be priced MUCH lower. Because it will no longer essentially be a lottery. People will KNOW what they're getting for their money, will KNOW what money can buy, and will decide whether they want to sit in the upper deck and watch the show on TV screens. Which, believe me, is not worth over a hundred bucks.

eBay would not be about greed. It would be about fair market value. The band could just shrug its shoulders when good seats go for over a grand. That's what they're WORTH!

As for leaving the little guy out…

That's the secret. There ARE no little guys. U2's an OLD band. Kids under twenty don't want to see U2. It's the true Generation X, in the neighborhood of forty, who want to relive their college days, their youth.

Hell, it works for them. Bono spouts his save the world spiel and they get to believe they care, and they matter, instead of realizing they're only in it for the bucks and have sold their future to Republicans who are eviscerating not only their social security and their social services, but the infrastructure ITSELF! There are potholes not only on the side streets, but the Interstate? Well, you want lower taxes, don't you?

And you wonder why the live business is in the crapper.

When seemingly the biggest, most credible act out there rips off its fans it affects the WHOLE INDUSTRY! Hell, they might pay for U2, but screw everybody else.

There's got to be a final, coherent ticket price.

If it's a superstar act, fifty percent of the tickets should be sold at fair market value, what the public will bear.

As for developing acts…

There can't be a facility charge. There shouldn't be a parking charge. Hell, it would be GREAT if the concessions were cheaper.

The key is to ENTICE people to come to hear live music, not to DRIVE THEM AWAY!!

Contact Bob Lefsetz | View Lefsetz Letter Archives

NOTE: The views expressed in this editorial do not necessarily reflect the opinion of CelebrityAccess, Encore or its employees.

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