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Springsteen
Springsteen (Danny Clinch)

The Springsteen Ticket Fracas

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Too many people wanted too many tickets.

Are Live Nation, Ticketmaster and Bruce Springsteen evil entities out to screw everybody? No.

Let’s investigate.

First and foremost, the goal is to eliminate scalping. I don’t think anybody would argue with the fact that Springsteen should get the benefit of all ticket sales, i.e. the revenue therefrom. Forget other issues, like seats not being on the manifest, let’s just focus on scalping. Scalping only exists because tickets are underpriced and people are willing to pay the markups that scalpers charge. It’s simple.

So what scalpers do is buy as many tickets as they can at face value and then resell them. But scalpers don’t buy every ticket in the house, they only buy the ones that they can resell at a profit. To make it even more complicated, there’s no guarantee that the scalpers will get back all the money they pay for tickets. Sometimes the show ends up being an unpredicted stiff. Sometimes the scalpers have paid more than face value for tickets via various purchase methods, like buying from fans who bought extra tickets, and ultimately they find they’re upside down, that they can’t resell the ticket profitably. Scalping is a business. Which many appreciate. Rather than going through the shenanigans of verification, getting up at a certain hour…you can relax and wait until just before the show, when you know you can go, and buy the tickets you want with no pressure that you must make a decision instantly. You’ll pay for this privilege, but many people are willing to.

As for the bots and other ways scalpers acquire tickets…

Scalpers only want tickets if they believe they can resell them profitably. So, if the tickets are originally priced at fair market value, this eliminates the bot problem, because if the ticket is a thousand bucks to begin with, how much more is someone gonna pay for it? Of course the front row may be worth more, but you get what I’m saying here. In fact, the front row for Springsteen is probably worth $5000. There are probably enough people willing to pay that. Maybe not that much, but definitely four figures.

So, for years Springsteen has been pricing his tickets too low. It’s a good look, it makes him appear to be a man of the people, but the upside, the uplift, ends up going to scalpers, and we’ve established above that almost everybody would prefer that this money go to Bruce himself.

So what to do…


Well, you could go the Garth Brooks route. Charge less and play until demand is exhausted. Talk about good will…fans love Garth for this. Although it’s a lot more work for less money for Garth, sometimes he even plays two shows in a day, but they’re not brief, maybe not as long as Springsteen shows, but longer than those of many acts. Garth is delivering value.

Most acts don’t want to deliver this value. Most acts are greedy, they want the money, especially in an era where even the most successful musician makes a fraction of the money that bankers and techies do.

So if you don’t want to play ad infinitum like Garth, what else can you do?

Charge what the tickets are worth. Which means a high price. Which is what the Stones have done for years. People used to bitch, they call the Stones money hungry, but in truth people are willing to pay these prices. And now the prices are flexed, as in up and down depending upon demand. And oftentimes, there are tickets available right up until showtime. Think about it, what are you willing to pay to go to the World Series, or the Super Bowl…the Stones come around less frequently than that!

But it’s all not programmatic with the Stones, it’s all not algorithmic. There’s a human element, which was missing from the Springsteen on sale.

So let me explain this…

You register in advance, you get a code, you’re a verified fan. The goal of this is to weed out scalpers. Ticketmaster can investigate who registered, who gets the codes. And yes, this information is valuable to Ticketmaster, it may even affect initial sales price, but probably not. Initial sales prices are discussed heavily, debated, they’re not established on a whim.

And Springsteen knows at least in major markets he can sell every ticket he wants.

But the dirty little secret inside the business is the demand for Springsteen tickets is not even close to that of many other acts. He’s got hard core fans, but not the same number in every market. So Bruce doesn’t want to have unsold tickets, so he does an underplay, the opposite of the Garth Brooks paradigm. And Bruce has made so much money, on Broadway, where tickets were verging on a thousand bucks, and via his catalog sale to Sony, that he doesn’t have to eke out every last dollar, so he plays indoors, even though in stadiums he can make so much more money, never mind accommodating more fans. But indoors is a better experience, and when it becomes about the music rather than the money…you do it the way you like best.


But, once again, whatever money is there Bruce wants to keep to himself, he doesn’t want to let it flow into the hands of third parties, i.e. the scalpers.

Which brings us back to the Boss fans. Everybody thinks they’re an original, that no one is more dedicated, that they’re ENTITLED to tickets, and good ones, AT A REASONABLE PRICE!

This is insane.

I’ve never met someone who saw Springsteen earlier than I have, except those who saw him as an opening act in his initial go-rounds. I saw him at the Bottom Line THE YEAR BEFORE “Born to Run.” That’s right, 1974. After “The Wild, The Innocent…” He was mind-blowingly good. But do I shake my pedigree in front of people’s faces saying that I should therefore be entitled to Springsteen tickets, good ones at a fair price, forever? OF COURSE NOT! I sat fewer than five feet away. Because demand was low and I lined up and got in early. But after “Born to Run”…

I’ve seen Springsteen many times, it’s never a bad show, but you’d think he’s God by the fervor of the fans. But we know that is incorrect, we know Jerry Garcia is God, and the Dead his apostles.

But Jerry is dead. Phil Lesh is 82. He doesn’t want to tour. But Bob Weir and a couple of drummers and John Mayer go out and play STADIUMS performing Grateful Dead music. At least it’s still the original Springsteen.

So everybody says they live for Bruce, he’s their number one and…

THEY WANT TO GO TO MULTIPLE SHOWS!

So, ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.


The on sale begins, the demand is insane, and the algorithm, not some evil genius at Ticketmaster or Live Nation or Bruce himself, sees this demand and jacks up prices through the roof.

Is it worth it to pay four digits for a ticket in the upper ring? I don’t think so, I don’t think many people would say so, but demand was so high that they ended up being that expensive.

As for the truth, how many tickets were offered at that price… The LN/TM/Bruce team isn’t speaking, because they got caught with their pants down, they didn’t foresee this problem, they didn’t expect the algorithm to go wild and cough up these crazy numbers!

But all the Boss fans are pissed if they can’t get a good ticket for every show right up front. So they’re bitching like crazy online, you should see my inbox. I’d like to see a report of what every seat actually sold for, but I doubt that will be forthcoming.

So some people paid outrageous prices and some people refrained from paying and…

What have we learned here?

Springsteen is a heritage act, it’s all about the old material, people want to hear “Rosalita,” not something from the twenty first century records. They want to relive their youth, they want to take their kids to see Bruce before he stops, or dies. But when they’re not going to see Bruce…

They’re buying Teslas. Living in 4,000 square foot homes. Believe me, the Boss’s audience is not broke. Those days passed long ago. He may project a working class image, but his fans are not working class. They’re willing to pay through the nose for everything but Springsteen tickets. And if it looks like Springsteen grew up and wants to get paid what he’s worth it messes with their image of him.

I hate to disillusion you, but Bruce is just a person. With foibles. Singing about driving before he owned a car. You’re the ones who built him up. And he’s not your friend. That’s just in your head. And this is the same WITH ALL THESE ACTS! And you don’t want to meet most, talk about being disillusioned.

So you’re laying your mental construct upon Bruce. Sure, he stimulated some of this, but he lost control of it decades ago. No one complained about Broadway prices, because there were so many fewer seats in the building and it was Broadway.

And Broadway is uber-expensive. The unions… But almost none of the shows charged what Bruce did, and they had much higher expenses. “Hamilton” was really the only show in Bruce’s league.

So it’s not like the fans didn’t get a warning, it’s not like Bruce didn’t show his hand.

So what is going to happen here?

One thing is for sure, the buildings will be full when Bruce plays the shows, the market will ensure this. We know there is a limited supply and a huge demand. What is a ticket worth exactly? WHO KNOWS! Which is why this algorithm based system was employed, to try to find out the value of a ducat. But not enough thinking was done to ensure that the machine didn’t go out of control with negative effects. So, if you’re willing to pay a lot to go, just hang on, as the dates get closer… You won’t find four digit seats up for grabs in the upper deck. That’s just too expensive.

Or maybe not. Like I said, Bruce’s camp has not released all the details. And believe me, Bruce is in control, the act always is. Live Nation and Ticketmaster do nothing the act doesn’t want them to.

So if you want to go to see one show on Bruce’s tour… You’re gonna pay a lot, especially the closer to the stage you are. Is it worth it? Only you can decide that.

But really, this kerfuffle is a lot of ink and angst about nothing. Everybody who ultimately attends the show will testify how great it is, especially since they got in the building and others did not.

And the next time around…

People are not going to opt out, sit on the sidelines, instead they’ll be more prepared, knowing what these tickets are worth.

And so will Bruce’s camp. They’ll come up with a better system. Because this cockamamie system is flawed.

Want to be egalitarian?

Eliminate all pre-sales.

But the acts won’t do this, they like the extra income.

Well, as for the rest of the tickets available…

The promoter could tell how many are actually available. Which they will never do. By time the on sale hits, many times fewer than a thousand seats in an arena are actually available, the rest have already been sold, your odds of getting a good ticket to a show at this point are extremely low, A GREAT TICKET? FUGGETABOUTIT!

What Bruce should have done is price the tickets so high that he knew there wouldn’t be instant sellouts. And then lowered them if the tickets didn’t move. Or keep them high until the end, trying to eke out every last dollar.

Humanly, this is impossible to do and make sure you get every last dollar. But if you want to get rid of the scalpers and get all the uplift yourself, you’ve got to do something like this. So far, we don’t have an algorithm, a program, that suffices all by its lonesome, which has been illustrated with this Springsteen on sale. Maybe it’s a hybrid of humans and machines, but you’ve got to have humans involved.

In any event, the public always bitches, always. And it’s the “biggest fans” who complain loudest, believing that based on their “fandom,” they’re entitled to great seats at a cheap price.

But this is untrue.

But they’d rather not look at themselves, they can never be at fault.

Do these same people go to Tesla and say they’ll pay half? Hell, at Tesla you pay what they say on the website, you’ve got no bargaining power, demand is so high that people have sold new cars for more than they paid for them!

This is economics. This is America. Live Nation/Ticketmaster/Bruce are doing their best to live in the present. But the fans…

THEY’RE LOCKED IN THE PAST!

Springsteen’s Silence

He can’t say ANYTHING!

As pissed as the fans might be, Bruce himself is completely devastated. How did this HAPPEN???

Forget the money, the hit to Bruce’s image is priceless. Most acts would never completely recover, thank god he’s 72. Most acts would immediately fire the manager. Someone’s got to take the blame, someone’s got to walk the plank.

Please look at this as inside baseball. We’ll get to the fans.

Bruce is going on the road. Not only does he not want to give the uplift to scalpers, Ticketmaster says they have a system to foil them. They say they’re experienced, they’ve done it multiple times, it will be no problem.

Does Bruce know all the ins-and-outs of going on the road? You’d be surprised what musicians don’t know. I could cite chapter and verse. Like there are a hundred cents in the dollar of publishing, how much do you get? I regularly talk to household names who can’t fathom this. Well, if the publisher owns the publishing, they get fifty cents and as the writer you get fifty cents. But if you own the publishing, you get a dollar minus an administrative fee. Seems simple, doesn’t it? Or the difference between on demand and user picked streaming royalties. They continue to complain online when it’s the lower radio rate and furthermore, they don’t own the publishing and they wrote the song with other people. All they know is they’re getting ripped-off.

If you haven’t been ripped-off you’re not a musician. When it comes down to it, they trust almost no one. In many cases not even the manager.

But Bruce has a long history with Jon Landau. He figures Jon is looking out for his best interests, their views are aligned.

Jon Landau is 75 years old. How tech-savvy do you think he is? Maybe more than most people his age, but if you know 75 year olds…you’ve probably helped them with their smartphone, and you may have even told them to plug their electronics in.

Furthermore, Bruce is Landau’s only superstar client. And Bruce has been out of the market for half a decade. How experienced is Landau here?

Which is why managers should consult with their lawyers before they make a touring deal, with someone who makes deals on a regular basis. You’ve got to be in the game to understand the landscape.

So, Landau is probably just as naive as Bruce. But Ticketmaster is in the business every damn day, so he trusts what they say, that their system should work.

As for raw ticket prices…

Don’t tell me Bruce has enough money. You obviously don’t know rich people. They’re constantly whipping their members out, they’re constantly comparing themselves to each other. You took the G4? Well, I took the 650!

I’ll tell you one of my favorite stories on this. I was riding the bus from Snowmass to Aspen with Marc Reiter, part of Metallica’s management team. And we’re wondering whether we’ll make it to our destination in time. And Marc looks at his watch and he says “Well, wheels up at 4:30.”

And I laughingly give him a hard time about his use of private jet talk.

But then I tell Marc, you know we were flying from New Orleans to L.A. on NetJet and the plane came with a flight attendant! Yes, NetJet shuffles the aircraft, sometimes they have to get a plane from here to there, so you end up with more capacity than you need. And Marc turns to me, dead serious, and says DON’T THEY ALWAYS COME WITH A FLIGHT ATTENDANT?

Well, the planes Metallica hires do.

Bruce wants to be able to hang with the other superstars and not only feel equal, but hopefully better. As for being a man of the people… Do you know how hard it is to make it? All the trials and tribulations? You couldn’t do it, almost no one could. You want the winnings.

And you want to beat the scalpers.

But, Ticketmaster had never dealt with an act doing such an underplay with fans who wanted to see multiple shows. And since Bruce and Jon are not tech-savvy, they had no idea the algorithm could go out of control, they didn’t even think of capping ticket prices. So, the ticket goes up a couple of hundred bucks, better we get the money than the scalpers. As for the ultimate multiple four figure prices? They didn’t even contemplate this, they did not foresee this. Someone making their money in Silicon Valley would have seen it right away, but despite Ticketmaster being a public company, so much of the music business is still street. Sophistication is not a feature. Muscle, attitude and money are.

So now what is Bruce supposed to do?

He can’t make a public statement. I don’t care what he says, that’s like pouring gasoline on the fire. Most people don’t care about this kerfuffle, and they weren’t even aware. There’s a bit more news today, but the story is going to die out very soon. And many people will never even remember the details. Especially those who go to the show and enjoy it.

But if Bruce says ANYTHING, it will be international news, in all publications, on all websites, and they’ll rehash all the details and…THE PUBLIC WILL STILL NOT BE SATISFIED!

You can’t satisfy the fans, it’s absolutely impossible.

The fan not only believes they should get a front row seat for a cheap price, they believe they should be able to do anything with the ticket they want to.

Yes, if they buy four and want to scalp one, so be it. You can’t take their right away, they’re going to scream. As a matter of fact, they have. Which is why you have these state laws preventing the promoter from controlling the fate of the ticket. It’s a sophisticated business, and lawmakers don’t understand it.

Well, let’s go paperless. Believe me, the public hates that too. But the scalpers see it as no problem. If you need to enter with a credit card, they just use a cheap disposable one. If you need a driver’s license, no problem. The scalper buys four tickets at $250, sells three for $2000, walks the clients in and then leaves, burning his own ticket, but he doesn’t care, he still made $5,000.

Or, you could tie the ticket to the individual. But what if one individual buys four tickets and their sister gets sick and their brother wants to go instead. Well, if the name has to be on the ticket the fan is screwed. Never mind that he or she might have always planned to scalp one or two tickets.

So, to beat the scalpers, to beat the bots, you’ve got to tie every single ticket to a very specific individual. So, think of the purchase shenanigans. You have to know who you’re going with when you buy the tickets. And you can’t change the name. You can sell your ticket back to the promoter for face value, but you got up at 10 AM, you got the code in advance, you verified your fandom, you’re entitled to that ticket!

The only way around all this is to charge what the tickets are worth.

But they’re worth so much the fans will still bitch. They bitch no matter what!

As for Ticketmaster taking all the heat… They screwed up with their algorithm, but they do nothing, NOTHING without Bruce and Jon’s approval.

The fault lies at the feet of Bruce.

And all he can do is stay silent and hope it all blows over. It’s killing him not to say anything, but in a world where people are unaware of mass events, almost everything fades away, like school shootings. Name the last three big shootings, I dare you. Sure, you can, but most people? They don’t even know who their Senators are!

This is not the seventies. Music is mature. Bruce and the rest of the aging boomer superstars mainly go on the road to get that hit, have that wave of applause roll over them when they take the stage. You can’t get that anywhere else, and they NEED IT! Otherwise they would not have pursued this line of work to begin with.

As for the money…

As they say in the music business, it’s not about the money… IT’S ABOUT THE MONEY!

This won’t happen again. Not for Bruce, probably not for any other act. Bruce was the guinea pig. He is suffering the losses.

Do I think Bruce is evil? No. I don’t even think that Ticketmaster is evil. The company is just providing a service.

Bruce just wants what he’s entitled to. He’s giving so much, multi-hour shows, with around a dozen people on stage. What more do you want?

In an era when many people his age are already retired, living a life of leisure, Bruce is out on the road, working for YOU! And I don’t care if you take the private jet and stay at the Four Seasons it’s still a slog. And by time you hit your seventies the women and booze are deep in the rearview mirror.

It’s a job.

Are you willing to leave any of your salary on the table, for the good of those less wealthy?

Are you willing to pay more taxes?

Most people want every single buck they believe they’re entitled to.

But when Bruce does this, feels the same way, NO, HE’S NOT ENTITLED!

So, Bruce made a mistake. Steve Ballmer bought Nokia for Microsoft and brought it down to near zero and still had enough money to buy the L.A. Clippers with billions left over. Believe me, Bruce doesn’t have anywhere near the money that Ballmer has. Or Bezos. Can Bruce afford a yacht that big? No, he has to sail on David Geffen’s, he’s a guest, which means you’re automatically a second-class citizen, paying fealty, you want YOUR OWN YACHT! Which is why you want all the money, you don’t want others making bank on your hard work.

Welcome to America. Welcome to capitalism.

You only want to go to the show because Bruce slaved for years to hone and sustain an act that interests you. No one is forcing you to buy a ticket. This is not a gulag, you have freedom of choice.

There are so many questions, so many avenues of discussion. If Bruce says one word it will be endless, and he can’t win. Think of OAN. Think of the crackpots asking presidents questions. Same deal with Bruce.

This was a learning experience. It won’t happen again. You can’t enter the future unless you take a risk and try. This is the history of rock and roll, innovation. Did Bruce blow it here? Of course! And believe me, he’s paying the price, not in dollars, but reputation. I’m sure he’d like to give all the money back and start all over if he could.

But he can’t.

And neither can you.

There are lessons to be learned here, stop complaining and pay attention.

 

Springsteen/Motley Crue

So what have we learned here?

1. Your image is everything. Think of your image first. Do nothing to jeopardize it. If Springsteen were on the way up as opposed to fading away, if he needed more hits, this flagging of good will would not only mean the loss of fans, but the loss of opportunities. Companies want to work with someone who is hot, not someone with a negative stink upon them.

2. Ticketmaster is the enemy. The truth doesn’t matter, this is what the public believes. I’m surprised someone hasn’t claimed that Ticketmaster stuffed ballot boxes to make sure Biden got elected, or that in reality Michael Rapino is Q.

3. Everybody has an opinion and everybody gets to express it. If this were the pre-internet era, this probably wouldn’t have even been news. Maybe a major outlet in New York or New Jersey, Boss strongholds, would have picked up on it, but this story broke and grew online.

4. You can’t be beholden to the crowd. You cannot cave to the people. The people are insatiable, you can never give them enough, you can never satisfy them. Your only option is to do what you want to. Could this have negative effects? Of course! But at least you’re in control, you can go to bed saying you screwed up, as opposed to telling yourself you were going to do something else but you were negatively influenced.

5. Concert tickets are expensive and you cannot get what you want. There are few hidden acts anymore. You’re either a legend, or big overnight, or you don’t sell out. When everybody wants to go, prices go up, it’s supply and demand, raw economics.

6. Everybody claims to be poor, but in truth they are not. If you’re truly poor, you don’t have internet access to complain, never mind the ability to travel to multiple Springsteen shows. The truly poor refrain from advertising their financial situation.

7. Music is a big business, it’s a mature business. Only the strong survive. The major labels, Spotify, never mind Apple and Amazon, even Live Nation are all public companies. And when you’re listed, money is everything.

8. The same people complaining about Springsteen ticket prices made stock bets on Robinhood, they are doing their best to get ahead, because if you’re not in America you fall behind.

9. Ticket prices are not getting cheaper. Sure, festivals are being canceled because of low ticket sales. But if you’re a star, you do business, the only issue is what you can charge, and right now that’s over a C-note for essentially all the tickets.

Damage control has begun:

“Ticketmaster Says Most Bruce Springsteen Tickets Go for Under $200, and Only 11% are Part of Controversial ‘Dynamic Pricing’ Program”: https://bit.ly/3zsyxz4

This is what Ticketmaster is paid to do. Take the heat for the artist’s greed. Which is why you hate Ticketmaster. Your favorite artist can’t be at fault, NO WAY!

Springsteen has played this beautifully. And now he may not have culpable deniability, but something akin to that. Whereas if Bruce had said ANYTHING, he would have been deemed guilty. Anything other than everybody gets their money back and I’m gonna play for free in everybody’s living room would be considered inadequate.

Which is why you don’t see politicians responding to inane commentary, like with Obama’s birth certificate. Obama ignored the claims for years, and then when he finally produced his birth certificate it wasn’t sufficient, no, they needed the LONG FORM birth certificate. They still believe Obama was not born in the United States. If you say ANYTHING it amplifies the story.

This is what the internet has wrought. Being above the fray for eons, out of touch with the people they believe they control, politicians, celebrities, most with a profile have been caught off guard by public opinion, which used to be limited to private discussion, but is now posted online for everybody to see. And for a few years, the famous thought that everybody saw these denunciations, these pokes at them, but now, with so much sludge in the channel, the hatred doesn’t get traction unless YOU RESPOND TO IT!

You start off looking for any and all traction, and then you have to pull back. This has been the rule in celebrity publicity forever. But since celebrities can now interact personally online, and traditional PR people are unaware of the rules, cultivating relationships with major publications as opposed to trawling social media, celebrities get in scuffles on a regular basis online, and then the story becomes news!

You have no idea how many outlets thrive on these stories. They love the click-bait headlines. Celebrities create traffic. Which is how these companies make their bread. If you’re famous and you say ANYTHING outlets will pick up on it, create a story about it, even if really there’s no story at all.

This is the modern world.

Also, in the modern world, you have access to data. That Twitter hater who excoriates you every day, almost always utilizing a fake name? Check them out, some of them don’t have ANY followers. It’s like fishing. They’re just trying to catch something, odds are low, but you never know.

I don’t care what is said by Ticketmaster, the variable pricing of Springsteen tickets was screwed up. But having said that, you can spin, you can lie, and you’d be stunned how many buy your explanation, especially when it comes to something as minor as entertainment.

But now, Ticketmaster, which shares the most hated title with your cable company, has pushed back a bit, because the company has nothing to lose!

So what is the truth?

It’s ALWAYS up for debate!

Expect Springsteen to stay silent.

But what does this bode for the future?

NOT MUCH!

Let’s see… Motley Crue signed IN BLOOD that they would never tour again. And not twenty or thirty years later, but soon thereafter, they reneged.

What about all those people who overpaid for the last tour?

THEY’RE THRILLED! They get to see the band again!

Yes, talk to those who paid hundreds of dollars to see the Crue on their “final” tour. Nobody is pissed, everybody is happy. The only people who are angry are those who would never go to a Crue show to begin with. As for casual fans… Do you think at this late date Motley Crue has casual fans? NO WAY! It’s their hard core keeping them alive, the looky-loos moved on long ago.

Or, as my nephew, the world class foreign car salesman tells me… The people who pay the most are the happiest. Seems counterintuitive, they got ripped off. But they got what they wanted, they’re happy. Whereas those who got a deal… Did they get the best deal? If they’d paid more would they have gotten exactly what they wanted?

Same deal with concert tickets. It’s those who buy the overpriced platinum tickets up front who are happiest, those who buy the overpriced scalper tickets. So, those who actually have tickets to Springsteen shows are never going to bitch.

As for those boxed out…

They would have complained no matter what. The tickets were inherently too expensive. They didn’t get the right seat, they didn’t get tickets to multiple shows. Are these superfans going to sit out the next tour? NO! If anything they’ll be more prepared, because they want to GO!

This is not Billy Squier, cavorting in pink on MTV. If he’d been in business for decades, had multiple hit albums, Squier would have been able to continue. But he hadn’t yet cemented his fan base. Furthermore, MTV rocketed you to space and you fell back to earth just as fast. Nothing burns you out as much as television exposure, at least when there were so few outlets. Actually, now it’s the opposite. You’re thrilled about that TV appearance, and the end result? NOTHING! Kind of like comedians still looking for sitcoms, that paradigm died years ago. You make your bones on social media and you cement your career with specials, on Netflix or HBO. That’s where fans go. You can do a sitcom, which is far from your core competence, which is writing and telling jokes, and you have to bland down your personality, work 24/7, and almost no one sees you, not even your fans. Furthermore, pay is decreased. You’re actually taking yourself OUT OF THE MARKETPLACE!

I used to be flummoxed that Bill Maher announced all his live dates at the end of “Real Time” on HBO. In fact, I thought it was cheesy. But in today’s world, HOW ELSE ARE PEOPLE GOING TO KNOW?

Think about it, a star can come through your burg and you had no idea they were there. Awareness is everything. If you’ve got people’s attention, seal the deal. As for trying to grow your audience, most effort other than your core work pays very few dividends. Want to broaden your appeal? Write better jokes, record better songs. That’s the fastest way to more acceptance, not a feature in the paper, on TV, ANYWHERE!

So I won’t say that Springsteen dodged a bullet here. But I will say that this will blow over. Even the hard core fans. They’ve got lives outside Bruce Springsteen. It’s not the seventies with limited cash and options where you’d listen to one act and one act only, never mind the plethora of other diversions commanding your time and interest.

Bruce Springsteen wants to make bank. I dare you to find one single act that doesn’t care about the money, getting paid. THAT’S WHY THEY DO IT! And you don’t own the act, the act has no responsibility to you. Just like you’ve got no responsibility to pay for a ticket. But when it all blows over…YOU WANT TO GO!


Responses from Bob’s readers, including Harvey Goldsmith, Michael Rapino and Jarred Arfa

From: Jarred Arfa

Subject: Re: The Springsteen Ticket Fracas

Bob,

While seemingly not the situation here the problem with the bots on many on sales is not that they get in ticketing systems first and buy seats it’s that they sit on inventory  and many times don’t actually buy the tickets. (Typically to protect inventory brokers already have purchased in the market so they want to push fans straight to secondary.) So what happens is Joe fan shows up at 10am and can’t get in the system bc the bots are holding up all of the seats. 20 minutes later the bots have released plenty of inventory but the fans have already given up and think the show is sold out when it’s not. Many times ppl just think of bots as a tool to beat fans to tickets but the other part of it is the deception it creates in the market about what is actually available on an onsale.

Best,

Jarred

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From: Anton Fig

Subject: Re: The Springsteen Ticket Fracas

Business is business, but music acts should appreciate that going to a show should not be a privilege to the wealthy.

I was impressed with what the Smile did when they played three shows in London earlier this year.

Tickets were linked to ID’s and non-transferable. If someone could not go to the show and wanted to sell their ticket, they could get a full refund and the ticket went back into the pool of people on a wait list.

Not sure this would work on the stadium scale, but it worked remarkably well for these shows.

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From: Brendan Hasenstab

Subject: Re: The Springsteen Ticket Fracas

Funny that Trent Reznor got this right back in 2009, for Nine Inch Nails’ “Wave Goodbye” tour. It was all done through NIN.com. You could purchase up to two tickets, it was run with wristbands and Will-Call window pickup for tickets. Took a lot of people to orchestrate it, but was smooth as butter the night I went to Webster Hall for the show I got tickets for. ZERO scalpers. Also, next to no re-sale because my name was printed on the wristbands and the Will-Call folks checked ID.

And yet all these years later, no one has copied this model, and so you get clusterbombed like Bruce Springsteen did.

Someone should tell the Boss to give Trent a call.

Best regards,

—Brendan

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Subject: Bruce Springsteen

UK gigs -£600 per ticket

US gigs -$4000 to$ 5000 a ticket

Including $569.50 booking fees

Man of the People —-I don’t think so !!

Harvey Goldsmith

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From: Whitten Pell

Subject: RE: The Springsteen Ticket Fracas

Bruce has never sold out Dallas or Kansas City…two markets I know about. Further he tanked so badly in the Dakotas he lost a well-known promoter over $200k. so as you noted there a many markets where “the boss” is just another high profile touring act…….

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Re: Springsteen’s Silence

Bob

An interesting version however I do not buy it.

I spent 30 years protecting Bruce from scalpers.

Then LN offered more than the net available.

Then only way they could do that is by inflating the price of a chunk of tickets.

I know that management knew that.

So it is only about the MONEY.

Harvey Goldsmith

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From: Michael Rapino
Re: Harvey Goldsmith Weighs In
To: Bob Lefsetz

Harvey incorrect

It’s not a LN tour – they sell locally to promoters like they always have

We get some dates like everyone else

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From: Michael Rapino

Re: Harvey Goldsmith Weighs In

To: Harvey Goldsmith, Bob Lefsetz

Harvey – no idea what you are talking about?

It’s not a LN tour

We bought dates like all other promoters and were given the deal terms from mgt we did not make any offers?

You know how it works they have historic promoters they outline the deal terms and everyone accepts?

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From: Harvey Goldsmith
Re: Harvey Goldsmith Weighs In
To: Michael Rapino, Bob Lefsetz

Michael my angst is not directed to LN or yourself. My comment was made after Bob defended Bruce.

I do not agree with this version having argued with Barry Bell at the time after being sent the LN budget and the subsequent decision made which was “take the money”

I have no interest this time round.

Best

Harvey

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From: Michael Rapino
Re: Harvey Goldsmith Weighs In
To: Harvey Goldsmith, Bob Lefsetz

Not sure what that means?

We have nothing to do with budgets etc

We have been local promoter in UK since I lived there and did some dates?

We were given the terms for the dates like every other market

Your note to Bob was very clear you implied somehow LN drive up the ticket prices by offering more than the net? Not true at all

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