Monday, March 31, 2008

The status struggle in microcosm

The Wall Street Journal (subs. req'd) explains the deal in which U2 has agreed to have Live Nation manage its concerts and fan club and sell its merchandise for the next 10 years -- those concert ticket sales taking place through Live Nation's badly needed competitor to Ticketmaster:

Formed in Dublin in 1976, U2 remains one of the most potent live draws in the world. Its most recent tour was the second-highest-grossing concert tour in history, earning $389.4 million at the box office, according to data from Billboard magazine ... The deal may also offer ways for U2 to address problems that arose on its last tour. The band offered members of its online fan club, who paid $40 apiece to join, early access to tickets. But during the so-called fan-club presales, many would-be buyers encountered frustrating waits and a limited, expensive inventory comprising some of the worst seats in the house.

Ticketmaster had a hand in the presale fiascoes, inasmuch as its infrastructure couldn't handle the surge of ticket requests that flooded its computers. But people involved say the bigger problem was that there were simply too many members in the club to provide them all premium seats.

"We feel we've got a great Web site," U2 lead singer Bono said in a statement. "But we want to make it a lot better."

No wonder Bono likes African development projects so much. You really can promise masses of people that they will be free from malaria. You just can't promise them that they'll all have premium seats at the next concert.

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