More Props to Letterman

I have been woefully negligent of this blog these past two weeks... there's been an evil head cold going around New York, which lingers for weeks. Anyway, while I will be posting a proper entry this weekend, I just had to plug my friend Arthur Neilson's appearance on Letterman tonight.:

"Hey Everybody-
This Friday, Feb 20TH at 11:30 PM, I'm going to be on the "Late Show w/David Letterman".
I'll be performing with Shemekia Copeland. We will be playing the title track, "Never Going Back To Memphis" from her new CD "Never Going Back". Barbara Walters and comedian Mike Birbiglia are on the show as well. Take care. -Arthur"

That's the other great thing about Letterman: his choice of musical guests.

For the twelve or so of you that read this blog, you might remember a video I posted last year with Rosie Flores . Arthur was the guitarist playing with her. If you missed it, the link to that post is here:


(As soon as the Letterman clip is available, I will post it here.)



Bruce Gets the Last Word

I received this via Facebook, but I'm sure it was sent via other means. Just thought I'd post it to clear (some of) the air.

"A Letter to Our Fans
Wed Feb 4th 3:48pm

We know there was much confusion regarding Ticketmaster and TicketsNow during last Monday's on-sale dates. We were as confused as you were, as we were given no advance notice of the major changes in the Ticketmaster-TicketsNow world. (Bear in mind that we are not clients of any ticketing company, and that all those arrangements are between venues and ticketing companies.)

Last Monday, we were informed that Ticketmaster was redirecting your log-in requests for tickets at face value, to their secondary site TicketsNow, which specializes in up-selling tickets at above face value. They did this even when other seats remained available at face value. We condemn this practice.

We perceive this as a pure conflict of interest. Ticketmaster is there to ensure that we have a good, fair sale of our tickets at their face value plus normal ticketing charges. TicketsNow is supposed to be a secondary site where people who already have tickets may exchange, trade, and, unfortunately, speculate with them. We have asked this redirection from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow cease and desist immediately and Ticketmaster has agreed to do so in the future and has removed its unwanted material from their and our site.

We know the many cynical arguments some make in favor of the Ticketmaster system: There are rumors that some artists or managers participate in Ticketmaster charges--we do not. There are rumors that some artists or managers are receiving a percentage of the amount above face value at secondary outlets like TicketsNow--we do not. Some artists or managers may not perceive there to be a conflict between having the distributor of their tickets in effect "scalping" those same tickets through a secondary company like TicketsNow--we do.

While many of you have sent notes to us and your local promoters, you may also send accurate informational letters to Albert Lopez of Ticketmaster [Albert.Lopez@ticketmaster.com] and he will try to address your questions.

A final point for now: the one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near monopoly situation in music ticketing. Several newspapers are reporting on this story right now. If you, like us, oppose that idea, you should make it known to your representatives.

The abuse of our fans and our trust by Ticketmaster has made us as furious as it has made many of you. We will continue to do our utmost now and in the future to make sure that these practices are permanently curtailed on our tours.

Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and the entire Springsteen Tour Team"

original posts:
Ticketmaster, We Have a Problem
Ticketmaster, We Have a Problem Update

related post:
People in the Cheaper Seats, Clap Your Hands



Ticketmaster, We Have a Problem, Update

So I wasn't being paranoid:

Springsteen fans cry foul after Ticketmaster snub
Feb. 4, 2009, 10:10 AM EST

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- A New Jersey congressman is demanding an investigation after Bruce Springsteen fans were unable to buy tickets from Ticketmaster's Web site — which then promptly offered them more expensive tickets from a subsidiary. click here for full article from MSN music

Someone commented on this article and said "Ticketmaster sold 55,000 tickets for Springsteen in the first 5 minutes. Those people aren't complaining." That may very well be true, but my question is: Who exactly were they? How many of them were working for Tickets Now and StubHub? My complaint isn't that I didn't get tickets. My complaint is that mysteriously Ticketmasters' own subsidiary somehow had blocks of ticket for resale an hour after they went on sale. That to me is rather fishy.

Ticketmasters' comment was they didn't receive that many complaints. I was all over their website... where exactly do you complain about that? There probably is a customer service line or email address listed somewhere, but not anywhere obvious. Besides, most people, like myself, kind of figured the tickets were just selling out really fast; nothing you can do about that.

original post:
Ticketmaster, We Have a Problem

related posts:
Bruce Gets the Last Word
People in the Cheaper Seats, Clap Your Hands



One of the Many Reasons We Love David Letterman

It's interviews like this.

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich
on CBS' the Late Show, February 3, 2009



Ticketmaster, We Have a Problem

The day after the Super Bowl, the day after XXX million people watched the soon-to-be-60-year-old-yet-somehow -ageless Bruce Springsteen rock for 12 minutes at halftime, some intelligent person decided that it would be smart for tickets for several cities on the Bruce Springsteen tour to go on sale the next day. All at once.

If you weren't one of the people trying to buy tickets online, you can pretty much imagine what happened.

My experience was apparently shared by countless others who tried to purchase tickets online. I hit the "search for tickets" button at 9:01 am. The browser told me I had a 15-minute wait. And then, after 15 minutes, a screen came up, telling me that the ticketmaster service was down for technical repairs. I kept trying, and this was the message I kept getting, over and over. I tried different browsers, I tried different nights (in my case, both the Thursday and the Saturday May concerts at the Meadowlands, plus Nassau Coliseum), but the same message kept appearing. The website was working fine if you wanted to buy tickets for, say, The Dead. System was working fine for them.

And when I finally got a real message an hour later, it was to tell me that there were no tickets available.

Okay, so clearly the tickets sold out fast, there was a glitch in the software, the system couldn't handle the traffic, etc. etc. But what I found particularly disconcerting (ha! no pun intended) is right on the same page that was telling me there were no tickets available was an ad for "Tickets Now!", Ticketmaster's own ticket brokering site. And, imagine my surprise: they already had tickets to sell.

I had several other friends, in different parts of the country, having the exact same experience.

I was appalled last year to find out that the lazy assholes in Albany decided not to renew New York State's scalping -- I mean, resale ticketing -- laws. What, was that beneath you guys or something, or were you under that delusion that deregulating and letting the market just decide the price of everything is good for the average Joe? I could see maybe revisiting the law, I could see revising it, I could see making it less strict. But you guys just let it lapse. And now when an average person tries to buy tickets, the phone lines are down for an hour and yet somehow the ticket brokers already have have blocks of good seats -- whole sections, I am not making this up -- selling for 3 to ten times face value.

I know what some of you are thinking: "oh it's Springsteen, what do you expect?" I don't expect to be lucky enough to get front row seats, or even decent seats, or even any tickets at all every time. But I do expect to feel like I have a fighting chance. And I'm really mad that there is no law in this state that at least tries to curb the resale of tickets by cooperate scalpers. I mean, at least make them wait 24-hours before they mark them up 200%.

In the old days, pre-internet, to get tickets you camped out all night and waited your turn. If you were a huge fan, you didn't mind sleeping on the sidewalk or the ground for a couple of days. Then they started to get more "civilized." In the 80s the Rolling Stones had a tickets lottery, where you mailed in a request and you got a pass to buy a certain number of tickets, and the color of the pass determined what kind of seats you got. Springsteen used to have a similar thing, with armbands or something.

These days, a lot of performers charge insane amounts for their tickets. I guess they figure that people are wiling to pay $500 and more to see the show, why don't they just charge that, and thus deter the resale issue? It worked with the Rolling Stones. The best seats in Giant's Stadium and MSG were over $400. And there were still some of those tickets available close to the day of the show. Take that, scalpers. If you wanted to go to the one-day Cream reunion at MSG, the tickets were selling for something like $800+ a piece, without the scalpers. And then there was what I hope was just a rumor of the Police selling front row seats for something like $20,000. Sting better be in my lap, servicing me, for that price. Meanwhile Bruce, bless his heart, or whoever is responsible for this, keeps his tickets at around $70 to $100 or so. And it used to be, with the GA seats (the ones where you stand in a herd at the front of the stage and feel Bruce sweat on you), that you had to pick them up at the venue the night of the concert and then there was no reentry, but I don't know if they still do that.

Until they changed the law last year, I found that if I got online right at the minute the tickets went on sale, I almost always could get something. Not something all that good, but something. Other people had other techniques: calling an out-of-town Ticketmaster, for example. The laws certainly didn't stop scalping, but it did make it a little easier for civilians to see their favorite bands. Now it's a free-for-all. Last year Cheetah Girls tickets, face value $40, were being sold for over $300 a piece. Yes, little girls, you can only go see the concert if your parents are rich. (Of course, one could argue that not being able to see the Cheetah Girls in concert is really a blessing, but when a kid's 8, she isn't going to agree with you.)

I will no doubt see Bruce again. I might even be lucky enough to buy a ticket off someone who can't go in May. But Ticketmaster has been in business a long time -- and in business with Bruce a long time. I can't help thinking they deliberately had half the entire tour's tickets go on sale at the same minute so the system would get over loaded and frustrated people would go pay the resale prices. Yeah, that's very cynical of me, but the whole thing seemed rather fishy..

related posts:
Ticketmaster, We Have a Problem Update
Bruce Gets the Last Word
People in the Cheaper Seats, Clap Your Hands


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