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Trent Reznor decries scalping, looks to the future of concert ticket biz

March 16, 2009 |  2:03 pm

Reznor__2 In a post on the Nine Inch Nails message board, Trent Reznor takes on the current hot-button issue of concert tickets and scalping. His post strives to assure fans that no one in the NIN camp "supplies or supports the practice of supplying tickets" to the secondary market, and he notes that tickets sold through Nine Inch Nails' fan club do not result in a "profit center" for the camp.

As industry giants Live Nation and Ticketmaster aim to merge, more light has been shone on the ticketing biz. A recent Wall Street Journal article noted that some of the best seats in the house reach the secondary ticket market via the artist and/or the artist's reps, a practice that can sometimes amount to $2 million in added revenue, reported the paper.

The article prompted a response from Ticketmaster's Joe Freeman, who noted that such practices allow artists to "participate more fairly in the economic value of the experience they're providing to fans." Dynamic pricing is the buzz term, and, in short, it means that the cost of tickets could rise or fall as demand increases or decreases -- more like the airline industry, wrote Billboard.

It's a scenario/proposal that doesn't seem to excite Reznor. Rather than use the term dynamic pricing, he employs the word "auction." He writes:

My guess as to what will eventually happen if / when Live Nation and Ticketmaster merges is that they'll move to an auction or market-based pricing scheme -- which will simply mean it will cost a lot more to get a good seat for a hot show. They will simply BECOME the scalper, eliminating them from the mix.

Nothing's going to change until the ticketing entity gets serious about stopping the problem -- which of course they don't see as a problem. The ultimate way to hurt scalpers is to not support them. Leave them holding the merchandise. If this subject interests you, check out the following links. Don't buy from scalpers, and be suspect of artists singing the praises of the Live Nation / TicketMaster merger. What's in it for them?

On the opposite side, plenty of reports have surfaced about artists who have spoken out in favor of the deal, most recently the Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan. In a letter to Congress published by the Chicago Sun-Times' Jim DeRogatis, Corgan officially joined the likes of Seal, Shakira, Journey and Van Halen to express support of the potential merger.

Corgan, who is repped by Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff, argued in the letter that a proposed merger could result in "a new model that puts power into the hands of the artist, creating a dynamic synergy that will inspire great works and attract healthy competition."

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Trent Reznor Credit: Peter Tym / For The Times