Concert Wars: Pandora Buys Ticketfly

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And Ticketmaster ain’t too happy about it…

By Uncle Blurt

It’s pretty easy to have zero sympathy for any of those mega-companies that sell concert tickets: I’m old enough to remember when you could line up outside a record store or head shop and buy a ticket for that Springsteen concert coming up next month with zero hassle and at a decent price. Those days are long gone, though; I mean, these folks are in bed with scalpers nowadays. You should read the book Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped if you want to get the low-down.

At any rate, it’s pretty interesting to get the news today, via the New York Times, that internet radio Pandora is buying the indie ticket agency Ticketfly, which in recent years has been at least in moderate competition with Ticketmaster, who at one point had a virtual monopoly on the game. Pandora, of course, is doing pretty well for itself—I personally have no use for it or any similar “suggestion” music services, but 80 million folks would probably disagree with me. So Pandora is coughing up $450 million in the deal. As the Times note, “The deal further expands Pandora’s interests in providing services to artists. Last year, it introduced a data system, the Artist Marketing Platform, or AMP, that shows musicians which songs are most popular on the service and where. And in May, Pandora bought Next Big Sound, another data service, which studies the listening and online searching patterns of streaming music customers.”

This will definitely give Ticketfly as it currently exists a massive boost in power and reach. Translation: serious, not moderate, competition for Ticketmaster. Don’t expect the price of concert tickets to go down anytime soon, however….

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