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February 18, 2010

Merriweather drops Ticketmaster, signs with Ticketfly


Severing its final ties with the recently merged Ticketmaster/Live Nation conglomerate, Merriweather Post Pavilion operator I.M.P. has signed with independent ticket distributor and marketer Ticketfly, officials announced today.

Starting this season, Ticketfly will handle all of the Columbia amphitheater's ticket sales, according to I.M.P. chairman Seth Hurwitz. Hurwitz, an outspoken opponent of Live Nation, began using Ticketfly for shows at the 9:30 Club, which I.M.P. also runs, near the end of last year.

"This is obviously a major venue for (Ticketfly), but we've had a great time with them," Hurwitz said. "They seem to be able to handle anything."

Through Ticketfly, customers will not have to pay a fee to print tickets at home, and service charges will drop as much as 30 percent, Hurwitz said. ...

The first two shows offered through Ticketfly, My Morning Jacket's May 1 performance and the May 16 Sugarland concert, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Feb. 26. 

"I know people hate service charges, but they're a fact of life," Hurwitz said. "We wanted to get them as low as we could."

Last year, Hurwitz filed suit against Live Nation, claiming the company acquired a monopoly on the national touring market and used its leverage to "entice and coerce artists to appear only at amphitheatres and other venues it owns, operates or at which it controls the booking." The lawsuit is pending.

"We're like the Goldman family in the O.J. trial," Hurwitz said. "The government didn't help, so we're taking matters into our own hands."

Ticketfly was launched by the co-founder of pionering online ticketing company TicketWeb, and uses social media to help promote its shows. It currently sells tickets for the Knitting Factory, Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco, Brooklyn Bowl in New York and Troubadour in Los Angeles.

Merriweather's contract with Ticketmaster expired in 2008, and I.M.P. was using Ticketmaster at will since then, Hurwitz said. He hopes his decision will prompt other independent venue owners to sign with smaller ticket sellers such as Ticketfly.

"Hopefully this move will demonstrate to people it's possible to have a choice," he said. "We wanted to make that choice -- rather than sitting around whining about it."

(Baltimore Sun photo of Merriweather by Christopher T. Assaf)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:00 PM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Local music


Hmmm I find it interesting the article makes no mention of Seth Hurwitz being a MAJOR investor of Ticketfly.

Hey Heady, that's actually exactly what this article is about. What do you think Seth is trying to hide? The only thing that should matter to you, the consumer, is that you will pay less service charges now.

I was just testing out their site, and when you purchase tickets for a 930 club show, they charge a processing fee of $6.00 for each ticket even for a $25.00 show, and then there is a $4.00 overall processing fee for ordering. So if you were ordering one ticket you end up paying 10 bucks in fees. Thats almost a 50% markup It doesn't seem like that special or any difference of a deal to me honestly. Sam you aware of this?

Anyway they can let us know how much they plan to gouge the consumers when they get tickets for merriweather?

For other venues there didn't seem to be as large per ticket fee some were only 3.75 a ticket, and with no extra processing fee as well.

seems like same old thing to me

Here is an example of these so called "less" service charges....

Rogue Wave
Avi Buffalo
9:30 Club

Washington, DC
Fri, March 5, 2010 8:00 PM

GA $15.00 x 1
Service Fee $4.75 x 1
Order Processing $4.00
Will Call No Charge
Total Charge $23.75

If memory serves, Live Nation is also behind the Fillmore club planned for Silver Spring. The club would be a direct competitor to 9:30. Not sure if the Fillmore will ever actually open, though.

Ellicott City, the Fillmore has been "planned" for years now. Who knows if/when it will actually open?

If the My Morning Jacket show on 5/1 is representative, the costs are just being absorbed in a higher ticket price.

The face value of MMJ general admission pavilion tickets at Merriweather are $10 more than the G/A tickets for shows at smaller venues in North Carolina and Ohio on consecutive nights.

4/30, Raleigh, NC $35 (Ticketmaster)
5/1, Columbia, MD $45 (Ticketfly)
5/2, Columbus, OH $35 (Ticketmaster)

Ticketfly isn't any cheaper! Looked at tickets to a 9:30 club show, and two $25 seats comes to like $70 when all the fees are added in.

The bottom line is that these companies gouge the sh*t out of us fans. It's up to the musicians to stop the bleeding of our wallets. That will never happen. Kind of ironic that most big time musicians preach about their hatred for "republican" big business yet they sign with companies like Live Nation/Ticketmaster who fleece us of our money. Go Figure

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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