Opinion and analysis of the day's music business news.

-- Ticketmaster now has more pricing transparency in its ticket search process, Live Nation executive chairman Irving Azoff revealed in a Twitter post. It’s not all-in pricing, but it’s an improvement spurred by consumer feedback. Ticketmaster’s internal survey has shown that customers dislike the uncertainty of the amount of fees when buying tickets.

The link in the post was a Ticketmaster page for a Carrie Underwood concert in Tampa. When the buyer searches for a ticket, Ticketmaster shows the combined value of the ticket and related fees. The $32.75 tickets have fees of $15.90. The total price of $48.65 is clearly highlighted. So, the buyer gets to see most of the total price before starting the search process.

On top of that price (face value plus fees) are delivery costs (unless standard mail is chosen), parking (if chosen for prepayment), a buffet dinner (optional) and an order processing fee. In a follow-up post Azoff explained that some fees will be tacked on later in the purchase because it is based on number of tickets purchased in that transaction and method of shipment chosen. So it’s not all in pricing, but these small changes do make for a better ticket buying experience.

While these are small changes as far as the consumer is concerned, Azoff indicated that stakeholders realize these are big changes. “Since acts, promoters and venues are fighting full disclosure all-in pricing that consumers want, TM is unilaterally doing this,” Azoff wrote Bob Lefsetz in an email. “Needless to say a major promoter has already written to us demanding we stop.”
(@irvingazoff), Lefsetz Letter)

-- “Netflix is a very comfortable add-on to cable,” says Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “Our product is like a motorcycle. Cable TV is like a car. If you price one cheap enough you can have both.”
The success of Netflix offers the record industry an example of a subscription service that provides enough value that many consumers pay for both TV, broadband and Netflix. That combination of value and quality of service is the standard for which the record industry needs to aim. If subscription services are to be bundled with data and broadband plans, they will need to provide the right value proposition. As Netflix’s on-demand service shows, it’s not just all about content, it’s about the overall experience. Sarandos went on to explain that Netflix can still provide value to subscribers while lacking some premium content that would raise the cost for consumers. “For us, we haven’t put a premium on exclusivity.”
(Multichannel News)

-- Mobile executives surveyed by The Economist Intelligence Unit forecast that revenues from apps will exceed revenues from voice by 2013. The rise of apps comes from operators’ desire to better capture the value of content that is handled by their networks. Companies clearly want to be more than dumb pipes. Another case in point: Over half of those surveyed (55%) believe they should be able to charge to prioritize network traffic while 38% favor current practices. (Financial Times)

-- Digital media deals increased 68% in the first half of 2010, according to Peachtree Media Advisors, while their value more than doubled. Peachtree managing director John Doyle II predicts social games will be “one of the hottest areas of expected mergers & acquisitions activity as strategic buyers jostle for position in this area.” He sees more deals coming in the future and expects more digital media IPOs because large media companies are “still hurting” and are hesitant to make large acquisitions.

Hulu may be preparing for an IPO and one analyst thinks Yahoo! should acquire a large stake in the company. In his latest note, Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst Jordan Rohan believes Hulu could help solidify Yahoo’s position as an online entertainment destination. “Such an acquisition could be a very smart strategic move as the Yahoo sales force would be able to cross-sell Hulu inventory with parts of Yahoo’s own content initiative,” he wrote. (paidContent), The Hollywood Reporter)

-- Content owners hate to let any single content seller get a large market share. These days it doesn’t seem like Apple will ever lose its grip on digital music. So record labels and publishers can take solace in one authors’ example of the Kindle’s dominance over the iPad in ebooks. J.A. Konrath, for example, sells 200 Kindle ebooks per day and only 100 ebook for iPad every month. That’s roughly a 60 to 1 ratio. The moral of the story is Apple can be beat. Eventually its market share in music will be legitimately threatened. (The Next Web)

Assorted Links
-- A profile on AEG Live’s Southeast regional office, which is made up almost entirely of former employees of Fantasma Productions. (Palm Beach Post)
-- Statistics in NPR hour-by-hour listening by platform. (Slideshare)