Saturday, July 26, 2003

And the number of the beast was 619-220-TIXS

There is an evil in America today, and its name is Ticketmaster. It is a parasite that is feeding off the host of live music. It is entirely insidious in nature – luring music fans in with the promise of convenience, but then striking with malevolent barbs of insatiable greed at the last page of checkout.

Any fan of live music has certainly experienced this pain. However, like a shameful addiction, we do not often talk about it. It is something experienced in secret, before the soft glow of the computer monitor. It has become personal. And that is why Ticketmaster has thrived. The only way to combat this behemoth of convenience charges, order processing charges, and mailing charges is to expose it. Like a poisonous mushroom, pull it out of the dank, dark shadows and watch it shrivel in the light.

The silence the public has about this crime against concertdom is like the story of The Emperor With No Clothes. Except, in this case, we’re the ones with no clothes, because we’ve hocked them all to pay the fees. And we’re choosing not to acknowledge the nakedness of our fellow citizens who have also lost their shirts.

Ticketmaster succeeds because it knows music is a drug. And it’s the best kind of drug. It’s legal, has mass appeal and is socially acceptable. So, Ticketmaster knows when you go into to by that $40 Radiohead ticket, you are not going to back out when they shoot the final price up by 50 percent with their multitude of monstrous fees. They know that your feeling of violation and betrayal will subside once you begin thinking fondly about your secured attendance at “the concert event of the summer.”

This monopoly of live music also has the audacity to call them “convenience” fees. Yes, it is very convenient for them to collect loads of money for simply offering up an automated e-commerce site and portal for concert events. I want that kind of convenience in my life. I would probably feel better about it if they were honest. How about calling them “you have no other choice, so we know you’ll pay ‘em” fees? Just an idea. I would like to be honorable and take a valiant stand against this evil empire, but I also want to go to Radiohead. Live music is a fix, so I guess I’ll take the hit. Ticketmaster be damned.

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