Wednesday, June 2, 2010

No service fees on tickets could boost summer concert sales

Concert tickets go on sale today. That's on sale, as in discounts of up to 25% for 8 million tickets to 700 shows, a rare rollback in an industry better known for escalating VIP prices than broad markdowns.
Entertainment goliath Live Nation is eliminating all service fees for reserved and lawn seats purchased in June for shows at its 50 amphitheaters.
The "No Service Fee June" campaign covers 110 acts, including Tom Petty, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews Band, Brad Paisley, John Mayer, Green Day, Kings of Leon and Tim McGraw. (Details at
"This is every show in every amphitheater," says Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino. "Basically, our entire summer inventory."
A narrower promotion last year sold nearly 1 million tickets. In surveys, about 60% of fans said dropped fees were the deciding factor in purchasing.
"Last year, we had some pushback from artists," Rapino says. This year, "every artist said, 'We'd love to help out.' "
Hopping on as mascots, the Jonas Brothers are offering fee-free tickets to their tour and promoting with a fan-club show Wednesday in Washington.
"With the tough economy, my brothers and I wanted to do something," Nick Jonas says. "We have a close relationship with our fans, and this is one way to help them out."
Growing up, he says, "our family financial situation wasn't that great, and we'd have to refrain from going" to concerts.
His father/co-manager, Kevin Jonas Sr., adds: "I'll speak as a dad. It can be difficult to buy one ticket, much less three or four. When you eliminate any fees, it makes it much more possible."
Because 40% of amphitheater seats go unsold, a price cut benefits all parties, Rapino says: "If we can move a few extra seats, everyone's happy."



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