Tuesday, February 10, 2009


The ticket above is a reminder, to me at least, of a lost age. Along with the (virtual) disappearance of Woolworths, cassettes and Top of the Pops, the day when you could put a cheque for £6 in an envelope, post it to a tiny record shop in a little town and, within a week, receive a ticket from them for that prized gig are long gone. Or at least on their way out.

The news that Ticketmaster and Live Nation are planning a merger/monopoly will, for me at least, see the end of me going to "big" gigs. Not that I was ever really a fan of them in the first place. Who wants to stand a mile from the stage, listening to a distance hiss masquerading as music, in a field with pissed up arseholes who only want to hear "the hits" (what, you saw REM at Murrayfield too?).

With more add-ons than Facebook, Ticketmaster have always got right up my nose. Fees for "admin" (that's printing them off and putting them in an envelope), fees for postage (with a tidy bet over for profit) and fees for putting the MDs children through school. Apparently there's the facility whereby you can print them off at home but they still charge YOU. More neck than a bag of giraffes.

Remember when it was all about the ticket price? The ticket above, from The Smiths' 7-date Scottish tour of 1985, cost me £6. Okay, £6 and a stamped-addressed envelope, but, to all intents and purposes, £6. Now it seems there is no limit to the number and amount of charges adding on to the face value. Ticketmaster doesn't stop there though. They recently apologised to Bruce Springsteen (read all the comments too) and his fans after people wishing to buy tickets were redirected to a site, TicketsNow, which sold tickets at even more extortionate rates.

With the exception of the Edinburgh and Glasgow gigs, when I bought the tickets in person in the capital, all my tickets for The Smiths tour of 1985 were bought by sending a cheque and an SAE. I saw Norman Blake and Davie Scott, ably supported by the reformed Vaselines, and it cost £10. There was no booking fee, no admin fee, no building facility fee and no credit card fee. Well done to the Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline.

It guess it won't be long before this becomes a major problem in Britain and by the time anything is done to stop it it'll be too late. Please support your local venues and your local bands and give them your money rather than some monopolistic behemoth of a company whose watchword is greed.

The Cat

Further reading HERE.

No comments: