Monday, October 30, 2006

Ch-ch-changes: New York Venues

A few weeks after the closing of CBGB's and a day before CMJ, I get wind of some sweeping changes with my local NYC music scene. As is the case in so many big city music scenes, big conglomerates are beginning to swallow up many of the smaller venues. According to an article in online news source,, the ever popular Lower East Side Luna Lougne will be reopening next year after a two year closure, however this time Live Nation will be at the helm. Across the river in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, venue North Six has been purchased by junior promoter Bowery Presents (of Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom, and Webster Hall fame and glory) and will soon go by the new (and decidely less catchy) name of The Music Hall of Williamsburg.

While this is exciting news for some, I know that this monopoloizing is bad news for up and coming bands. More big name promoters running small venues means a greater focus on the bottom dollar which will shut developing bands out of even more rooms. With moves like this in the very near future, baby bands might be much better served by moving to Philly like these gag ads (from an Adhouse Advertising School assignment) suggested a few months ago.

Shows To See At Sea: The Cruise Concert Industry Flourishes

(Via Pollstar) While the audience for mega concerts may be dwindling on land, promoters are creating new and more appealing showgoing experiences by floating the show out to sea. According to a recent Pollstar article, revenues for concert cruises. While the concert cruise has been the bastion of jam bands for a while, other genres are jumping on the boat. Country mega star Tim McGraw will headline Live Nation's "Country Cruise Getaway" in January; with fans paying in the range of $900 to $2,000 for the full package. This trend is showing promoters that in the case of the live experience quality may be out quantity. An intimate show as part of a total package experience may emerge as a winning strategy.

Full story here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

BRIEF: The Dixie Chicks' Newest Ticket Flop

It might be time for The Dixie Chicks to address the idea that maybe they're just not a very good band. After a particularly rough touring season this summer, Austin, TX band The Dixie Chicks are now facing dwindling sales on another project. Sales for a Lubbock, TX sneak preview screening of their documentary "Shut up and Sing" were reported to be sluggish. After an hour and half of sales, only 22 of the 300 tickets had been sold.

(Full article here)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Barenaked Ladies Go For Green

On their forthcoming tour, Barenaked Ladies jump on the environmentally responsible band wagon (no pun intended). For their "Barenaked Planet Tour" the group has teamed up with non-profit Reverb to create educational eco-villages at all their shows. The eco-villages will also be hubs for biodiesel collection and recycling projects.

We're looking forward to reducing the amount of waste and CO2 emissions we create on tour," says bassist/vocalist Jim Creeggan. "Now that technologies like Biodiesel, Renewable Energy and Compostable Products are available, it has made it possible for us to take action against environmental threats like Global Warming and Deforestation. We hope the concert industry will take the opportunity to use these innovations as well. There isn't time to wait.

Reverb was started by musician Adam Gardner(who plays in some band I've never heard of called Guster) and his wife to educate fans and help mroe bands create enivronmentally responsible tours. The Reverb crew has recently toured with Dave Matthews Band, Alanis Morissette, Jack Johnson, Avril Lavigne.

While I've seen other bands make one time commitments to sustainable on their tours, it is exciting to see that bands now have the ability to travel green on every tour. Very nice.

Full article here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ticketmaster and Live Nation Get It On

(Via much to talk about, so precious little time!

So let's get to it. Anyone who knows me knows I love being right, so you can only imagine the glee I felt when I read that Live Nation had intentions of possibly bouncing out Ticketmaster to reduce ticket costs. During the first quarter earnings call, Live Nation Chairman, MichaelRapino, hinted at the "long discussion" they were going to have to have with Ticketmaster when their exclusive ticket retailing agreement expired in 2008. I noted Rapino's tone, and have been keeping a keen eye on the situation ever since. And now -ta da!--from the looks of things, that conversation may be happening sooner than expected.

Just a few days ago in the LA Times, Michael Rapino was quoted as saying, "Seventy percent of people didn't go to a concert last year, and even the average concert fan only attends about two shows a year. We can grow this industry by lowering prices."

According to a report from

Fees incurred by (Tickemaster) services frequently raise ticket prices by 25-35 percent. Last year, average ticket prices rocketed to $57 for the most popular gigs. Meanwhile, Ticketmaster collected almost $1 billion off of the fees and surcharges.

So it sounds like the Live Nation gang might be grabbing back the reins and bringing ticket prices back to a slighly saner range. There's no telling whether this can or will happen before 2008, but in light of Comcast's expansion of their ticket busines; developments in areas such as mobile ticketing; and Live Nation's forward march in developing brand identity through their website and many many acquisitions, Ticketmaster had better scramble or else the Ryder truck will be backing up in their garage.

Full article here.