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Discounts grow to lure concertgoers

July 7, 2009 - Andy Gray
The concert business has had some quick sellouts this year – Jimmy Buffett had no trouble selling out Post-Gazette Pavilion at Star Lake again and Phish tickets disappeared as soon as they went on sale. And locally, the Journey/Heart show at the Covelli Centre is close to a sell out.

But the economy clearly is taking a bite out of the concert business. Live Nation has been offering “no service fee’’ Wednesdays that eliminate all the add-on charges that can add 25 to 40 percent to the cost of a concert ticket.

Apparently that wasn’t enough. Now Live Nation is offering an “all-in” price on Wednesdays. For $29.99, fans can get a lawn ticket (including fees), parking pass and a hot dog and soda for shows at Star Lake and Blossom Music Center as well as select shows at Nautica Pavilion and Time Warner Cable Amphitheater at Tower City.

It’s a deal for concertgoers, but it doesn’t bode well for the drawing power of some bands. Nickelback is one of the top-selling rock acts in music today, and Lil Wayne is the biggest star in hip hop. Anyone who bought a lawn ticket to see Nickelback with Hinder, Papa Roach and Saving Abel or Lil Wayne with Drake, Soulja Boy and Young Jeezy paid more than $40 for that spot on the grass when those “convenience” charges and facility fees were included. Tomorrow those tickets are at least $10 cheaper and come with parking and food.

Live Nation isn’t a charity. If those tickets were selling at $40+, they wouldn’t be discounting them so heavily. Nickelback, Lil Wayne, a reunited Creed, CrueFest 2 with Motley Crue and Godsmack and the Aerosmith/ZZTop double bill aren’t selling as many tickets as expected.

And since the promoter owns the venue and controls the concessions, it’s to Live Nation’s advantage to get more people in the door and hope to make up the losses through beer and food sales.


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