The Boss Raises Red Flag on Ticketmaster

Springsteen Voices Concern About Effect of Mega-Merger on Fans

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Having just recently apologized to fans for the "mistake" of allowing his latest greatest hits album to be exclusively released in Wal-Mart, The Boss is back in action on behalf of the fans, this time giving Ticketmaster a good blasting for the way that it handled the recent sale of tickets for his forthcoming tour.

Springsteen and his manager Jon Landau have vented their anger at Ticketmaster for what they refer to as an "abuse of our fans" after the ticket company redirected customers attempting to buy Springsteen concert tickets to the company's secondary ticketing site, TicketsNow. This site, Springsteen says, "specializes in up-selling tickets at above face value". The redirection -- which occurred when other seats remained available at face value -- has once again raised concern over the dual ownership of both primary and secondary outlets.

"Fans are confused and angry, which is the opposite of what we hoped to accomplish," said Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff, who has now issued an open letter of apology to Springsteen and his fans. The company, he says, "will never again link to TicketsNow in a manner that can possibly create any confusion during a high-demand on-sale."

Springsteen and Landau also voiced considerable concern over the potential merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation, arguing that it would return concert ticketing "to a near monopoly." Similar concerns have been voiced from a number of quarters regarding the ability of Live Nation to allow performers the opportunity to list tickets on the resale system without ever officially listing them in the primary market.

Michael Hershfield, co-founder and CEO of secondary ticketing site Live Stub told SFS that "It is the dirty little secret of the potential merger. This is a substantive issue that regulators and fans should be mindful of."

The gloves are off ... and I think that we can expect a further backlash if the deal goes forward.

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Mike Tunnicliffe is founder of New York-based Tuna Music, a partner of Los Angeles-based Filament Entertainment Marketing. Find out more at