Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Two-Part Episode With the Ducks in Season 2 Was Really Touching

It looks like Louis CK has hitched his boxcar to the anti-Ticketmaster train.

This is the second time I've posted on this and I now that I think about it more, I admit that I'm puzzled why there isn't more chipping away at Ticketmaster's business. By my ill-informed reckoning, I'd figure that small venues with mostly will-call patronage could get away with dodging their services and so could big-name draws like Louis CK or Pearl Jam.

Once you recognize the underlying function a ticket seller performs (they're market makers, no different from the dudes at the NYSE in front of the computer stations), it sort of seems weird that more creative destruction hasn't come along. Are there big network externalities to ticket sales? There might be.

Suppose a band is doing a national tour. Ticketmaster has exclusive contracts with all the big arena venues nationwide, so if one goes rogue, that whole city gets cut out of every monster truck pull, traveling rodeo and exhibition hockey event for the next t years. Ticketmaster can Axelrod them right in the wallet. For the acts themselves and their promoters, it's considerably easier to write a contract with one organization than to haggle with each venue individually.

Before the advent of home Internet connections, Ticketmaster provided a massively useful service. Today, you might easily imagine an online clearinghouse where consumers can browse and bid on tickets. Similarly, promoters or the entertainers themselves can register events and set reserve prices.

Someone should invent that website. Bidding could nip secondary scalping markets right smack dab in the bud.

Hm. Maybe I should invent that website. Seems like there would be some money in it. Provided I could successfully uproot the entrenched interests, that is.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?