The artist manager extraordinaire – now head of the ticketing giant – talks about his plans for the concert business, his ideas for retail exclusives and the future of the music industry.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about the Ticketmaster/Front Line deal?
The biggest misconception about this deal is that Ticketmaster in the future will be what it was in the past. The new name of the company is Ticketmaster Entertainment, and it’s a platform for us to build a lot of other things. The fortunes of this company aren’t going to rise and fall just on the ticketing business. We’re going to build the ability for people to distribute their music.
Will the fundamental Ticketmaster model-contracting with buildings to sell tickets and making revenue from service charges-stay in place?
Of course. We have four core businesses. We have that business, we have the secondary ticketing business, we have the management business and, most importantly, we have the artist-to-fan experience-that’s the artist-centric way of artists being able to reach their fans directly. The artists can use the tools we have to tie together their recorded music, their ticketing and their merchandise. The part of Ticketmaster that so excited me was that they’re building out this pipeline to reach the 144 million people a year who buy tickets.
You’re talking about the database of ticket buyers?
This is an untapped area. I don’t know how many people Amazon or eBay talk to-I should find out, and I will, but I’m new to this job-but we talk to 144 million people who actually spend money. This isn’t just a free site that people come to, this isn’t just traffic, these are people with credit cards who buy. A lot of my clients want to give the music away with their tickets. I have one client who said to me, “I love to make new music, but I hate to play two or three new songs and have people get up and go to the bathroom. I want to give my music away to the people who buy tickets so they’ll know the new songs when we play them. If they’ve spent $60 or $80 or $100 to buy a ticket and if I give them the music as part of that, I bet they’ll bother to listen to it.”
What’s been the reaction to the deal from Front Line managers and clients?
Read the full Q&A which includes Azoff’s thoughts on a record label’s role in today’s industry, how the Front Line/Ticketmaster deal impacts the competition with Live Nation for arena contracts, and more.