The Harder They Fall

A common complaint about Ticketmaster is that the company charges too much for "convenience" -- the fees that hover around 40 percent of the base price of a ticket. A growing number of local venues and the largest concert company in the U.S. seem to have noticed the same thing.

The Belly Up Tavern, Casbah, and Soma don't rely on Ticketmaster. After next year, megapromoter Live Nation won't use the company to sell tickets. The New York Times reported last month that Live Nation's decision to sell tickets some other way could result in a "serious financial blow to Ticketmaster"; 15 percent of Ticketmaster's $1 billion in revenues last year came from sales of Live Nation events. Live Nation will either expand its own ticket company or hook up with a different company.

So, starting in 2009, if you buy a ticket for a show at Coors Amphitheatre, Cox Arena, 4th & B, or SDSU's Open Air Theatre, Ticketmaster won't be the agent.

Last week, Anthology, the 250-seat music showcase in Little Italy, announced it too would dump Ticketmaster.

"When we started, we thought that going with Ticketmaster would be a good marketing idea," says Anthology marketing director Patti Judd. "But as we got into it, we found it made the process a little too complicated....

"For an $18 show, you pay Ticketmaster between $6.25 and $11.05 per ticket, depending on where you get it. Then you pay another $4 on top of that for the whole order...."

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