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OMG! Ticketmaster head Irving Azoff throws down a Twitter gauntlet at Billboard journalist


Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino has already accused the press of "scaring" artists from touring. Now the company's executive chairman, Irving Azoff, has gone so far as to call Billboard journalist-commentator Glenn Peoples a "jerk." 

Azoff's Twitter went live Tuesday. A spokesperson confirmed that the Twitter feed is indeed run by the famed industry executive and artist manager (the Eagles, Christina Aguilera and more). One of his first tweets, however, drew some criticism. Wrote Azoff: "So if you want ticket prices to go down stop stealing music."

Many, including Perez Hilton, took the comment as a direct attack on music consumers, implying that the tweet was instantly putting a Big Giant Corporation in one corner, and recession-addled fans in another. Writing his morning column on industry news on Billboard.biz, Peoples contended that "Twitter is hardly the place to reveal a company‚Äôs strategy for dealing with the competing forces of rising artist demands and consumer demands for cheaper tickets, but blaming high ticket prices solely on piracy is disappointing."

The IRL Azoff was none too pleased, typing to Peoples that "u r a jerk." Azoff went on to note that his tweet was simply a "personal overview," and not a business strategy, and should not be critiqued as such. Later, Azoff even made light of his comment, noting that Wall Street Journal reporter Ethan Smith had said the word "jerk" was "inappropriate," and Azoff added that it's only "rock and roll." 

Peoples had no further comment on the matter, but you can follow him on Twitter at @billboardglenn, should the war of tweets escalate -- or if you want to stay abreast of industry news.

Since Live Nation and Ticketmaster joined forces, the new company has spoken a lot about transparency, even going before Wall Street investors to discuss its business plans for the remainder of 2010. "The press," Rapino recently told Wall Street, has "scared about every artist" out of touring in the fourth quarter. 

A number of major tours have struggled in 2010, including the refurbished Lilith Fair, and once-can't-miss artists such as the Jonas Brothers have been canceling dates, as outlined in this front-page story in The Times. Amid rampant reports of a down market, Rapino said, "a lot of artists who had planned to tour are now saying they're going to sit it out."

So, in this tough industry climate, and with the media, fans and analysts parsing every piece of information that anyone from Live Nation disseminates, perhaps lessons can be gleaned from the joyously positive, always uncensored and seemingly fan-first Kanye West:


-- Todd Martens

Photo credits: All screen shots from Twitter. @kanyewest and @irvingazoff

Comments () | Archives (6)

Sorry, I get that names are being dropped here and people's true colors are being exposed.. but to me. This isn't news. Especially worthy of the LAT . Titles that start with "OMG!" should be left to the NYPost.

Blaming high ticket prices because of supposed 'stolen music'? Seriously? This is a joke. Ticket prices have been going up and up and up for years starting with the Eagles and the buffoons who decided to pay such high prices. $100 ticket is not uncommon with the outrageous service fees. Why are concerts not selling out? Puhlease.

Hmmm a lot of artists are sitting out concerts this year they say? Low ticket sales? Artists actually worth seeing such as Joanna Newsom had reasonable ticket prices at $25. Unfortunately that's a rare case. Of course the big rip off besides the overinflated ticket prices, let's take U2 for example, is that on top of the prices is the Ticketmaster service fees. What I paid for the 6 times I saw U2 during the Joshua Tree Tour equaled what I paid for 1 ticket at the Rose Bowl last year. Yea it's been over 20 years but there are still concerts at reasonable prices. Unfortunately if you have a 'big' name you pump up the prices so high that the average fan is going to say 'heck no!'. Unfortunately even those that are a bit overpriced that'd you slap down the money for go out of reach once the service fees are added.

Bring the prices down, knock down the outrageous service fees - Tickemaster you thieves! - and more people will gladly show up. You don't need to spend half a million a day on upkeep for some stages for your show like U2 does. All the bright shiny in the world isn't going to help you if you suck live. Strip it down, keep the prices reasonable and people will be there. 'Stealing music' is just throwing up a smoke screen and an excuse for saying that's why there are higher ticket prices.

If its stealing of music leading to such ridiculously high ticket prices, then how about giving discounts to those who actually buy the cds?
I paid roughly $200 for a nose bleed seat for gaga this summer FROM ticketmaster not a third party...
I am sure most of the tickets are going to people that intend of reselling them...
I've purchased all of her releases, why should I have to pay these horrendous prices to make up for scalpers and pirates?

HEY!! Instead of pumping this NON-STORY -- Irving being Irving, you don't get it -- why don't you LA Times know-nothings write about the real TWITTER story of the day, huh? Antonio Villaraigosa, gushing about Prop 8's defeat in the court system, said 'Today, the sunshine state is shining a little bit brighter.' http://twitter.com/villaraigosa Ya MAROON, the Sunshine State is FLORIDA; we are the GOLDEN STATE. Methinks Tonio needs a tutor in order to get his state nicknames straight: hey, KNBC WEATHER GIRL, Elita Loresca, what are you doing after your morning shift?! http://tiny.cc/na4u2

It's no wonder that so many concerts have been cancelled. The economy is a mess. Well, at least Obama can host a private Paul McCartney concert at The White House. He is the only American that matters, right?

OMG! Awww tense


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