Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Ticketmaster Makes Up With Bruce Springsteen–And His Fans

bruceRemember the great Ticketmaster/Bruce Springsteen controversy of 2009? The one where fans of the Boss said they got screwed by the ticketing company everyone loves to hate? The one that prompted Springsteen himself to complain about Ticketmaster and its proposed acquisition of concert giant Live Nation (LYV)?

Well, that’s all resolved now. In a convoluted way. But it’s resolved. Via New Jersey’s Star-Ledger:

Ticket giant Ticketmaster has reached a national settlement with the New Jersey Attorney General in which it agrees to stop linking customers to TicketsNow, a subsidiary agency that sells tickets at scalper’s prices.

Attorney General Anne Milgram said Ticketmaster has agreed to run a lottery that will make 2,000 tickets available at face value to customers who complained about the way Ticketmaster handled the Feb. 2 sale of tickets to Bruce Springsteen’s shows May 21 and 23 at the Izod Center at the Meadlowlands….

Fans–more than 1,000–who don’t win a pair of tickets in the lottery will be given $100 gift certificates, Milgram said, and the ability to purchase tickets for an upcoming Springsteen concert in New Jersey.”

Ticketmaster (TKTM) will also pay a $350,000 fine, and has agreed to stop using Google (GOOG) keywords to direct Ticketmaster searchers to TicketsNow.

Given that Ticketmaster and Live Nation are trying to pull off a politically tricky deal, this seems like a great settlement for Barry Diller, Irving Azoff and company–no use going before the Department of Justice while you’ve got state investigations into your ticketing practices.

And what does Springsteen himself think about the deal? There’s no comment from him or his management team on his site. But tellingly, his previous comments about the Ticketmaster/Live Nation deal–the ones where he described the proposed merger as a “near monopoly” and asked his fans to complain to their representatives about it–have vanished from his site.

I’ve spent way too much time trying to wrap this one up with a Springsteen lyric pun. Too hard! So here’s your YouTube, instead. Apologies for the subpar video/audio: Sony Music Entertainment, Springsteen’s label, won’t allow me to embed the higher-quality versions.


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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle