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Simple Math

May 25, 2010

The music industry is screwed up.  They tried to sell songs by the album even after millions of people had proved they would rather have them separate, and it came back to bite hard.  So they retreated to the one thing they knew people could never really buy online; concerts.  Sure, you could get a bootleg, but it would never be the same thing as actually being there.  Tickets became the new cash cow.

This cow had been around for a while.  If it was going to single-handedly rescue the industry from its sinking ship, it would need a good scrubbing and maybe a new bell.  Maybe they could hire a spider to write its catchphrase.  But I digress.

Enter VIP tickets.  Tickets that will give you the best experience you could possibly get, as defined by the promoter.  This article in the New York Times says that a mere $1,750 buys a front row seat to see Bon Jovi.  And because you’re such a good fan, you can keep the chair.

It’s not so much the prices I object to.  As they say in the article, somebody will always be ready to pay for what they want.  I do resent the idea that loyalty can be bought.  Most people who like a band are not prepared to pay a thousand dollars to prove it.  Nor should they, because the amount of money you spend on a band has nothing to do with how much you take their music to heart.  There are plenty of people (myself included) who live and breathe the stuff who can always be found in the nosebleeds.  They might not get to walk around backstage, but at least those tickets are affordable.  The founder of CID Entertainment said it best.  He told the Times, “These aren’t just customers…they are fans who have an emotional attachment to that artist.  So if all of a sudden the artist says, ‘You can’t get close to me unless you’ve got $1,400,’ they’re going to lose people.”

People started doing $5 all ages punk shows in the 70s in response to exactly that attitude.  Music is supposed to be a universal thing, not a jealously guarded commodity.  File sharing may have taken things too far in that direction, but VIP tickets go too far back the other way.  I am not a freeloader and I am not an ATM.  Why is that so mind-blowing a concept?

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