Locked Out of the House

Diana Martinez booked shows at the Belly Up for ten years; she moved on to work at downtown's House of Blues two years ago. Last week, Martinez, who has 19 years of nightclub experience, was squeezed out of a job. A talent buyer at the House of Blues in Anaheim will fill the gap.

Also last week, the local HoB director of marketing e-mailed her friends in the media to tell them her position was being eliminated and that her job duties would be covered by someone from the House of Blues in West Hollywood.

"They have never gotten it together down there," says a talent buyer not connected with HoB. "Here [at the House of Blues nightclub] in L.A., they just had 15 sold-out nights in a row. If you can only get people to go to your club on Fridays and Saturdays, you are in trouble.... It's incredibly tough to get people to go out in San Diego Sunday through Thursday. San Diego doesn't have a winter like Chicago; people do other stuff."

Of the ten House of Blues nightclubs in the U.S., the San Diego venue sold the fewest tickets in 2006, according to Pollstar magazine. Last year, the local HoB sold 74,000 tickets; the Orlando-area club sold 228,000. (Though the Orlando club's capacity allows for 1000 more people.)

Last year, the House of Blues chain was purchased by Live Nation, the country's largest concert company, formerly known as Clear Channel Entertainment.

"That's what Clear Channel does," says a different insider. "They buy things up, then they downsize."

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