Archive for June, 2009

Breakthrough with Better Algorithm to Recommend Movies

Two front runners in the The Netflix Prize contest, joined forces and submitted an algorithm that was 10.05 percent better than the one Netflix uses to recommend movies to its subscribers. The result was published on the Netflix Prize leader board on Friday.

The Netflix Prize  an example of so-called Prize economics, “where competitive incentives are offered as an alternative to in-house research and development. Netflix has said that winning a 10 percent improvement on its recommendation algorithm for $1 million would be a tremendous bargain.

Automated recommendation algorithms are seen as a key competitive edge in e-commerce, allowing retailers to guess the types of products and services customers are seeking by looking at their past behavior. The foundation of the Amazon “if you liked that, you may like this


30 June, 2009 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

The Future of the Season Brochure

A colleague sent me this blog today regarding the future or lack thereof for the Season Brochure.  It comes from the Arts Marketing Blog by Chad M. Bauman, Director of Communications at Arena Stage.

Recent advances in printing technology and online communications have made customizable communications much more affordable, but most of us, fearing change to our detriment, still print tens of thousands of one brochure and mail them to all of our target audiences over and over again until those list segments stop producing.

The way we talk to renewing subscribers vs. new subscribers, multi-buyers vs. single buyers, musical lovers vs. drama lovers, and donors vs. non-donors should be different. So why are we addicted to the season brochure? is it our love for crafting one primary brand-driven piece that we can roll out like a turkey at Thanksgiving dinner?


29 June, 2009 at 4:50 pm Leave a comment

Ticketmaster, Live Nation: Obama’s Antitrust Test

… angry independent concert promoters to frustrated music fans, has been drumming the Department of Justice to block the deal, claiming the merger will create a conglomerate that will shut out competition and lead to higher ticket prices. This is deemed by many to be the first test case in the Obama Administration,

The antitrust concerns are twofold.

First, there’s the so-called horizontal impact, which refers to when a company buys out a rival to eliminate competition. In this case, the merger will stop Live Nation’s recently launched ticketing company from cutting in on Ticketmaster’s turf. (TM saw its profits dive 78% in the first quarter)

Second, there’s the vertical impact, which refers to the company’s expansion into all parts of the live-music industry, from managing artists to selling beer and hot dogs at venues. “They’ll be the concert promoter, the ticketing company, the merchandise company, the agent, the manager — they’ll be everything,

The abuse of our fans and our trust by Ticketmaster has made us as furious as it has made many of you,” Bruce Springsteen said after a ticket fiasco in New Jersey in February steered buyers to a secondary market the company owns where tickets were being hawked at up to five times face value.

BUT as posted here last week Even The Boss Can’t Cross TM Without Being Hung Out to Dry Publicly!

Ooops how embarassing Bruuuuuuuuce!!


24 June, 2009 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

Concert Tickets Get Set Aside, Marked Up by Artists, Managers

Less than a minute after tickets for last August’s Neil Diamond concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden went on sale, more than 100 seats were available for hundreds of dollars more than their normal face value on premium-ticket site The seller? Neil Diamond.

Ticketmaster Chief Executive Irving Azoff said last week that when ticket brokers resell tickets without permission from artists or promoters, it “drives up prices to fans, without putting any money in the pockets of artists or rights holders.

The vast majority of tickets are sold by the artists and their promoters with the cooperation of Ticketmaster.” In a strangely contradictory statement by Joseph Freeman, Ticketmaster’s senior vice president for legal affairs. So in this case it is fine to fleece the fans!

Tickets for a March 27 Britney Spears concert at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh were priced earlier this week at $39.50 to $125 apiece on But some of those same classes of seats were being offered at the same time through the “TicketExchange Marketplace” for as much as $1,188.60. The link to the Marketplace page was marked, “Browse premium seats plus tickets posted by fans.

Ms. Spears’ spokeswoman declined to comment.

The ticket listings are offered in small batches, each at a price, such as $1,164.01, that mimics prices set via online auctions. After inquiries from The Wall Street Journal, the “tickets posted by fans” message was removed from the TicketExchange Web site. Prices also fell, narrowing the gap between Ticketmaster and TicketExchange Marketplace.


23 June, 2009 at 4:49 pm Leave a comment

Who really benefits from paperless concert tickets? NOT MILEY!

mileyRecently the question was asked in a previous post Who really benefits from paperless concert tickets?

Yes, it appears that Miley and Ticketmaster have lost out this time.

Miley and paperless tickets have not set America on fire. A reason may be the lack of involvement by the magic kingdom this time, aka Disney. The creators of Hannah Montana persona and brand. Is Miley past it? Alternatively, were too many fans burnt last time and have paper tickets made it too hard? 

Last time out on tour Miley aka Hannah sold out with 1,000’s of squealing fans, children and parents clamouring for more. Accusations were made regarding scalping and the compromising effect of this upon loyal fans, let alone access and equity. But it is a commercial event put on in America the land of the free and unfettered capitalism and profiteering ;-)

There is even an unconfirmed report that Miley was scalping her own tickets on

19 June, 2009 at 8:32 am Leave a comment

Even The Boss Can’t Cross TM Without Being Hung Out to Dry Publicly!

It seems that there may be a degree of retaliation in the recent Open Public Records Act request that has exposed Bruce Springsteen management as the reason fans could not get any good seats and it had nothing to do with Ticketmaster, TicketsNow, or scalpers.

Of the 20,000 seats at the Izod Centre in New Jersey 12% of the seats were “held aside friends and family of Springsteen and his band, plus radio-station executives and the like; 812 were held by the New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority.” Under New Jersey law only 5% are allowed to be set aside. Less than 10% of the best seats were actually available to the public when sales opened!

Springsteen Concerts: Who Gets the Best Seats? (Hint: Not You)


16 June, 2009 at 2:16 pm 1 comment

Ticketmaster merger referred to UK watchdog

lnvstmBritain’s consumer watchdog raised antitrust concerns over the planned merger of ticketing company Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc with Live Nation Inc, the world’s largest concert promoter.

The Office of Fair Trading said on Wednesday it was referring the deal to the Competition Commission, Britain’s competition regulator.

The OFT also said the Competition Commission should examine whether Ticketmaster’s market position could restrict competition for the promotion of live events.

It creates a realistic prospect that the merger will deny those attending live music events the benefits of more competition in the distribution of tickets, which could include lower overall prices,” said senior OFT director Ali Nikpay.

The Competition Commission is due to report by November 24.


12 June, 2009 at 11:49 am Leave a comment

Who really benefits from paperless concert tickets?

mileyIf “paperless” tickets are the only option for consumers, there will be no secondary market unless Ticketmaster provides one. That’s quite a power grab for a company that’s awaiting the Justice Department’s approval for a blockbuster merger (with Live Nation, the country’s leading concert promoter). Perhaps that’s why Ticketmaster is doing this round of “paperless” tickets with AEG Live, one of Live Nation’s competitors….

No refunds at all! Now that is a customer service enhancement. Also you can’t give it as a gift or buy it for someone else without the space on their credit card or the time to jump the hoops to get a ticket.


10 June, 2009 at 8:25 pm 1 comment

Concert & Ticket Info Hub – Livekick

I found this press release interesting today.

Particularly relevant for the future of any b2c Web 2.0 initiatives:

  • personalized concert calendar which you can easily export to your Outlook or iCal calendars
  • Widget, downloadable to a PC or a Mac scans the fan’s computer daily for new music files and adds new artists you listen to on your computer to your Livekick account

Concert & Ticket Info Hub Livekick Leaves Beta

Concert recommendation and ticket search engine Livekick jumps out of beta today. The free site helps fans discover local live concerts and then helps them get the best deal on tickets. The Livekick search engine includes 75,000 U,S. concerts of 20,000 artists performing in almost 40,000 venues.

Based on profile and location, Livekick sends updates on tours including presales and promos like today’s Live Nation announcement. Updates are delivered online, via email, Twitter or personal RSS feed. Once fans find a concert, Livekick searches for the best available tickets online. Their search engine continuously scans direct and reseller ticket sites including TicketMaster, LiveNation, StubHub,, TicketWeb, TicketCity, TicketsNow, eBay, and MySpace Music.

Fans can add their favorite artists or import them from iTunes, their computer, MySpace,, Pandora, iLike, or Rhapsody. Livekick then creates a musical profile and automatically imports new artists from your music services as you listen to new music online.

Video & More After The Jump

Additional Livekick features:

  • Your Concerts provides a personalized concert calendar which you can easily export to your Outlook or iCal calendars;
  • Your Artists tracks favorite artists with complete tour listings, user-generated videos from their live concerts, links to artists’ web sites, and more;
  • The Livekick Desktop Widget, downloadable to a PC or a Mac scans the fan;s computer daily for new music files and adds new artists you listen to on your computer to your Livekick account
  • Social network sharing enables fans to share concerts with friends via Facebook and MySpace.
    Web site developers can also use the free Livekick API to add local and up-to-date and tour information to their sites.

9 June, 2009 at 6:47 pm Leave a comment

Miley Cyrus Show To Use Paperless Tickets

Hannah Montana aka Miley Cyrus
After the hassles with scalping, stockpiling and fraud for the last Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) tour, the October concert that goes onsale on 13 June won’t have any hard copy tickets issued. The facility will determine admissions through credit cards, a change that’s designed to help prevent scalping.

You’ve got to come up, present your credit card and your government ID“, said Qwest Center Omaha Executive Director Roger Dixon. “They’ll scan it, it will print out a voucher and you’re in.

So it will have the security of an airline style check in and, I suspect, the queues of old. I wonder if that means the actual seat location will be allocated later like on airlines, afterall it is 6 months from booking to the show?

BUT HANG ON, this is a kid’s concert. That means the mum who bought the tickets will have to queue up and have the same credit card used to book and ID. What happens if one mum (or dad) books and one of the other mums goes with the kids to see the show and so-on and so-on. I can see so many permutations to trip this up and result in another shamozzle.


5 June, 2009 at 2:25 pm Leave a comment

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