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Clear Channel Entertainment's New Ticket Club

Promoter concert ticket clubs are nothing new. Die-hard concertgoers have long paid an annual fee to get first crack at tickets to shows. But Clear Channel Entertainment (formerly SFX) is taking the concept to a new level – the chance to purchase tickets to sold out shows.

Quietly launched last week via e-mails, CCE is testing a new online club concept on music fans in Boston, Houston, Raleigh, NC and San Francisco, who previously asked for concert update information. But there's a catch – there's no guarantee of getting tickets. This even more limited supply of tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

As an incentive to join the $30 a year club, there is the offer of two free tickets to a select concert (CCE's choice), exclusive two-for-one shows, ticket discounts, seat upgrades (difficult for general admission shows), the possibility of chatting with artists, and hotel discounts.

While the consumer gets benefits worth more than the $30 membership fee, CCE also has the opportunity to collect data on its members and sell advertising on the web site and secure other promotional opportunities. Interestingly, many of the promoters, pre-SFX, had their own ticket clubs, which had three-figure membership fees with just the opportunity to buy tickets before going on sale to the public.

If this trial period is successful — and at $30 it should be — then CCE plans to expand it across the country in the next couple of weeks.