Live Nation hits sour note with hidden fee

Concertgoers hummed a happy tune June 1. On that day, Live Nation announced "No service fee Wednesdays."

Concertgoers hummed a happy tune June 1. On that day, Live Nation announced “No service fee Wednesdays.” According to the press release, the company was “dropping service fees on more than 5 million lawn tickets” throughout North America on June 3. (Live Nation began selling tickets in anticipation of its merger with Ticketmaster – a combination the Justice Department is investigating.)
But that sound you actually heard on June 3 was the happy tune screeching to a halt when customers saw they were being charged for services, like $6 per ticket for parking, on their “service free” ticket. It was enough to turn the happy tune into an instant mood-killing track from Celine Dion.
Still, Live Nation announced the following week that it saw a 500% spike in sales the prior Wednesday, so it extended the promotion to every amphitheater ticket sold on June 10.
More than a week later, Live Nation reversed course and declared that if indeed you bought a lawn ticket for $24.99 on its Web site on Wednesday, June 17, there would, actually, be no fees attached. Are you following all this?
“We're learning as we go,” Jason Gardner, Live Nation CEO for Global Music, told “It's easy to dismiss the blogs, or not to look at them, but that is one of the great areas to learn what is on people's minds.”
Yeah, those wacky bloggers and their opinions.
We hate to be a broken record (unless we're playing that Celine Dion track), but you must, must, must be transparent from the beginning. As people are wont to do these days, when they heard “no fee,” they flocked to the Web site to get their discount tickets and then made an interactive beeline to the blogs when the company didn't live up to its value proposition.
It's that age-old Web 2.0 story that, for some reason, keeps playing out at company after company and then ends up in a PR Play column.

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