Bob Moon: Maybe you’ll recall that last year Ticketmaster merged with concert promoter Live Nation. Anti-trust lawyers at the Justice Department were worried the two would create a monopoly, so the Feds mandated that Ticketmaster share its software until another ticket-selling site could launch.
And today, launch it did. It’s called AXS, and it’s owned by AEG. The giant company owns concert and sports venues from L.A.’s Staples Center to London’s O2 arena. Here’s Marketplace’s Mitchell Hartman.
Mitchell Hartman: Among the first tickets to be sold on AXS will be for a Denver show by punk band Social Distortion. The group’s angry lyrics could just as well be about buying concert tickets these days.
Social Distortion’s “Ball and Chain”: There’s got to be another way. Take away, take away, take away this ball and chain.
Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns AXS, thinks its new ticket service is that ‘better way.’ The service lets you buy tickets at the theater’s or arena’s own website rather than linking you to a ticket website, like Ticketmaster. And it shows all the fees upfront, says Gary Bongiovanni of the concert trade magazine Pollstar.
Gary Bongiovanni: They’re not going to charge the much-hated ‘print-at-home’ fee, that no one could ever really understand why that fee was even there in the first place. And then that is part of what generated such ill-will against Ticketmaster.
Ever since Ticketmaster’s merger with Live Nation last year, David Wertheimer has been waiting for a worthy opponent to show up. Wertheimer runs the Entertainment Technology Center at USC.
David Wertheimer: This deal represents competition, and competition is good. It’s good for the venues, it’s good for the artists and the teams. And you know it’s just good to have choice in the marketplace.
According to numbers from Pollstar, ticket sales have been down in the recession, even as prices have been trimmed to bring in more fans. David Wertheimer says more competition may help revive the business.
I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.
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