Ina Fried

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Live Nation Aims to Unify Ticketmaster, Ticket Resale Businesses

Ticketmaster has long been the place to turn for concert and sports tickets when they go on sale.

But, starting later this year, it will also be a place to go even when the initial supplies are sold out. Ticketmaster’s owner, Live Nation, plans to start offering the ability to resell tickets on the site within a few months’ time. The move will allow content owners, venues and other participants to benefit when tickets get resold for higher prices.

“I think that’s a step forward in bringing two markets together,” Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said, speaking at our D: Dive Into Media conference. In addition to Ticketmaster, Live Nation has its TicketsNow business, which focuses on the so-called secondary market.

“We have to be … always available,” he said.

But, under its current 28-year-old Ticketmaster platform, the company essentially shows a “closed” sign after its initial supply of tickets is sold, leaving a huge market on the table. It also lacks the software tools that let others build apps to tap into its ticket database.

Rapino acknowledged that Ticketmaster is still mostly associated with consumer ire over its high convenience fees. However, he notes that the entity is a bit of an intentional bogeyman, since a portion of those fees goes back to the artists, promoters and concert venues.

“Ticketmaster was made to be a bit of a villain,” Rapino said.

The company has successfully moved into advertising and sponsorships, Rapino said, but wasn’t successful in other ways, such as expanding into being a record label and promoter as well.

It did get touring rights for U2 and a handful other artists through big upfront deals. But trying to be in the music-selling business was a bad idea, Rapino said.

“We should have never taken any of the record rights along with those deals,” Rapino said. “We sold those back to the record labels.”

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