It doesn't matter if you had nothing to do with the convenience fees, had no say in the aftermarket run-ups, and didn't serve the $13 beer. Half the time, you still get blamed as the performer, simply because the fan can't fathom the complex machinations that are draining his wallet. Which, in turn, means this dynamic is corroding your fan relationships where it might matter the most.
Which is why Louis C.K. decided to recently broaden his successful direct-selling strategy towards tickets. "Making my shows affordable has always been my goal but two things have always worked against that," C.K. just wrote fans on louisck.com. "High ticket charges and ticket re-sellers marking up the prices. Some ticketing services charge more than 40 percent over the ticket price and, ironically, the lower I've made my ticket prices, the more scalpers have bought them up, so the more fans have paid for a lot of my tickets."
The solution - selling tickets directly to fans - sounds deceptively simple. And ultimately, it needs to seem totally simple to the fan, regardless of the level of complexity. "By selling the tickets exclusively on my site, I've cut the ticket charges way down and absorbed them into the ticket price," C.K. described. "To buy a ticket, you join NOTHING. Just use your credit card and buy the damn thing."
Louis C.K. chose Etix to handle the backend, which may actually be one of the easier pieces of the puzzle. Because behind the scenes, this is actually surprisingly difficult to execute, for several reasons.
The reason is that Ticketmaster has hand-in-glove relationships with a huge number of premium venues, and charges handsomely for the privilege. Sure, they'll take care of everything and grant access, but ultimately exact a ransom for the privilege (regardless of who ultimately gets paid out). Artists oftentimes profit handsomely within this system (and then blame Ticketmaster), but if you're not playing that game, you're probably not playing that venue, either. "It was a real challenge to find venues around the country that could work with our exclusive ticketing service under these parameters," C.K. explained. "It means I'm playing in very new places. I really appreciate all of these theaters that are letting us give this a try."
It's a tension that defines this space. Artists cannot appear to be gouging their fans, yet those fans are oftentimes willing to pay ridiculous prices. Which means enforcing discounts requires constant effort to dampen natural market forces. In Louis' case, that's a pre-determined price of $45 - no exceptions.
For example, taxes. "The $45 also includes sales tax, which I'm paying for you," C.K continued. "So I'm making more or less depending on the state."
But perhaps the payoff is priceless.
overeducated Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Not any more! Live Nation has ushered in the new era of $5 beers on selected domestic brews at selected venues at certain concession areas*
*certain shows only
**requires zip code that ends in '9'
***requires $13 purchase with $8 rebate
****requires purchase of Miller Lite or equivalent
*****does not include Pabst
******requires pre-qualifying $40 premium parking pass
Meke Wednesday, June 27, 2012
"It's a tension that defines this space. Artists cannot appear to be gouging their fans, yet those fans are oftentimes willing to pay ridiculous prices."
Its all about what you think you can get away with. Myley Cyrus fans might pay $180 adn be thrilled with no long term damage to the fan. Louis C K on the other hand might be as you say corroding the fan base.
Comedians don't get pensions, they need their fans.
@theseayfirmllc Wednesday, June 27, 2012
I love this.
@subsonicmonkey Friday, June 29, 2012
Is Louis CK not aware that $45 is a high ticket price?