[This is my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca. It’s published every Sunday. -AC]
A couple of years ago, Ticketmaster embarked on a makeover. The company, long regarded as a faceless inhuman monolith with a death grip on the sales of concert tickets along with a large percentage of tickets to sporting events and theatre productions, decided it needed a new, gentler public image.
It wasn’t that Ticketmaster suddenly was interested in being all warm and fuzzy, of course. This was a business decision.
The public was getting angrier at the whole process of buying tickets, which has turned into one of the most unpleasant and dysfunctional consumer experiences in all of capitalism.
Instant sellouts. Frustration with bots — high-speed ticket-buying software programs — were robbing humans of a chance at getting tickets. Mysterious instant sellouts. Those who did manage to get through online encountered weird service charges. And how did so many tickets end up in the hands of scalpers and ticket brokers so quickly?
Then there was the fact that Ticketmaster is owned by Live Nation, the biggest event promotion entity in this part of the galaxy. Market share, profits and share price had to be protected.