Television Listings

Bands often scalp tickets: Nine Inch Nails' Reznor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Performers often scalp tickets to their own performances, using TicketsNow.com and StubHub.com as outlets, says Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor in a blog posting.

With the face value of tickets for the best seats so much less than what high rollers and rabid fans are willing to pay, performers have to choose between letting scalpers reap the profits of their work or cashing in themselves, said industrial rocker Reznor in a blog posting on Sunday.

But reselling may disappear and the face value of tickets go up if U.S. Justice Department antitrust officials allow the planned merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation Inc, Reznor predicted.

"My guess as to what will eventually happen if/when Live Nation and TicketMaster merges is that they'll move to an auction or market-based pricing scheme -- which will simply mean it will cost a lot more to get a good seat for a hot show," he wrote. "They will simply become the scalper."

Critics of the Ticketmaster-Live Nation deal say a merger would give the new company excessive clout in the music industry.

Ticketmaster Chief Executive Irving Azoff and Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino argue that the merger is needed because of economic woes in the music industry, partially caused by widespread piracy.

Reznor said he opposed the practice of performers giving tickets to resellers. He also said he would try to deter scalpers by printing the name of purchasers on pre-sale tickets sold to Nine Inch Nails fans.

"The venue, the promoter, the ticketing agency and often the artist camp (artist, management and agent) take tickets from the pool of available seats and feed them directly to the re-seller," wrote Reznor, who has a long history of battling the music industry.

"I am not saying every one of the above entities all do this, nor am I saying they do it for all shows but this is a very common practice," wrote Reznor. "StubHub.com is an example of a re-seller/scalper. So is TicketsNow.com."

The issue of how ticket resellers acquire their tickets has been a hot one since Bruce Springsteen fans signed on to Ticketmaster in February to buy concert tickets only to be told that they had sold out within minutes, and were directed to its subsidiary TicketsNow, which had considerably more expensive tickets.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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