Here Comes Dynamic Ticket Prices
— Ticketmaster has partnered with analytics company MarketShare to create tools that will allow clients to set and adjust prices for live events. The press release says the tools “will allow sports teams, artists, promoters, and venues to better understand the value of their ticket inventory throughout the entire ticketing process — both prior to, and during the onsale.”
In other words, dynamic pricing is coming to the concert business. Prices will be able to better reflect supply and demand. They will rise when demand is high and fall when demand is low.
Ticketing is not just about relationships — although they still matter. More and more, ticketing is about services, how those services fit the clients’ business needs and whether those services make money for the client. Outbox CEO Fred Rosen told Billboard that Ticketmaster is “not a pure ticketing company anymore, which clearly makes them highly vulnerable to competition [and] no longer invincible.”
But Ticketmaster does differentiate itself on services. And if Ticketmaster’s dynamic pricing toolkit proves to be a competitive advantage, the second tier of ticketing companies could have a tougher time going after its clients.
Money can be captured in addition to clients. A great dynamic pricing tool could be a great equalizer for the primary ticketing company, the promoter and the artist. Value currently lost to the secondary market can be better captured on the sale of the primary ticket. When a $50 ticket is quickly resold on the secondary market for $150, that incremental $100 is captured only by the reseller and the secondary market service.
The company did not give a timeline for the launch of these pricing tools. But it did say that it plans to roll out the toolkit for Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and concert tours.
FTC, DOJ Having Difficulty Working Together On Merger Reviews?
— Speaking of Ticketmaster, last week the company was mentioned in a Wall Street Journal article about the problems the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are having working together on merger reviews. It seems the two can’t agree on which entity should take the case in big cases. They both are tasked with enforcing antitrust law. But lately they have resorted to flipping a coin (seriously) or simply taking turns.
This leads to obvious musings about Ticketmaster’s merger with Live Nation. “I’d like to think that the Ticketmaster case might have come out differently at the FTC,” said Albert Foer, president of the American Antitrust Institute, who opposed the January 2010 merger. The DOJ extracted a few concessions from the companies, namely the sale of Paciolan to foster more competition in ticketing.
However, the feeling around the industry is that the conditions imposed by the DOJ were fairly light. A Ticketmaster spokeswoman said the agency “imposed serious conditions.” In any case, the merger was approved by the DOJ and this report can be tucked into the “What If?” file.
(Wall Street Journal)
Grooveshark Will Fight To Protect Itself
— Cloud-based music service Grooveshark has thrown down the gauntlet in an open letter to the industry. The company will fight to protect itself and its business model against legal threats, Paul Geller writes in a latter posted Digital Music News.
Much of the letter, an unusual step for a startup frustrated by the inner-workings of big music companies, explains the company’s rational behind its continued insistence that its business model is legit. In short, Geller explains that Grooveshark may not be licensed but is legal. What makes that possible? The DMCA’s Safe Harbor, he writes.
“The DMCA’s Safe Harbor component encourages technology companies to innovate in hopes that they will eventually solve some of the problems that are plaguing content producers today,” Geller writes. “The Safe Harbor provision reads like it was written specifically for YouTube and Grooveshark, and its necessity continues to be illustrated every day. If it weren’t for this notion, many of the products and services that are now taking a bite out of piracy would never have been born.”
He concludes by revisiting the topic that started out the letter, the removal of the Grooveshark app from the Android Market. (iTunes pulled the app last August.) “We ask that Google and Apple, embrace the spirit of competition and do right by users in making our applications available to consumers immediately.”
When Billboard asked about conversations with Apple and Google, Geller replied, “Unfortunately our conversations with Apple and Google didn’t provide any fruitful information, so we’ve made the apps available at mobile.grooveshark.com.”
(Digital Music News)
Warner Music Italy Buys Live Events Company Vivo
— Warner Music Italy has purchased live events company Vivo, formerly known as Indipendente. The deal continues Warner’s streak of investments that diversify its revenue and give it operations around which it can build multi-rights artist deals. Vivo provides booking and promotion services for established and developing artists. It manages Italian music festivals such as Bands Apart Festival and I-Day Festival.
Jack White Given Nashville’s Music City Ambassador Award
— Rock star/vinyl entrepreneur Jack White was given the City of Nashville’s inaugural Music City Ambassador Award on Saturday (April 16) at a ceremony at White’s Third Man Records that preceded Record Store Day festivities. The award is given to the person who brought the most attention to Nashville’s music industry over the previous year.
“His music spans over several different genres,” Mayor Karl Dean told the Tennessean. “He made a decision to come to Nashville after he achieved a great deal of success. He came here with all of his creative energy, plus this entrepreneurial spirit, and he is invested in the community.”
White is a member of the Nashville Music Council, which is made up of over 60 executives and artists. He launched his Third Man Records retail/studio/venue operation near downtown. And he created a pretty badass record store on wheels.