Jam Productions Bitch Slaps Ticketmaster

If you've purchased concert tickets at any point in the past 5-10 years, then you are more than likely quite familiar with those pesky "convenience charges" that Ticketmaster attaches to all purchases. This writer, in fact, bought a ticket to see The Romantics for $25 recently and was taken aback to see an additional "convenience charge" of $15 attached. We could understand a $3 surcharge, maybe even $5, but when such charges come darn close to being equal to the actual price of the ticket, it's enough to make you say "fuck it" and forget about attending the concert altogether.

That's why Jam Productions' decision to sue Ticketmaster for the right to sell tickets on their own (through eTix) comes as such great news for all music fans in the Chicago area, as cutting ties with Ticketmaster would significantly reduce such charges.

While this isn't so much the basis for Jam Productions' decision to go after Ticketmaster, we music fans will take what we can get. After all, if the manner with which Ticketmaster had conducted business before didn't raise concern, it certainly should have when they joined forces with Live Nation, a company that has gone on-record as saying they intend to "crush, kill and destroy" independent promoters such as Jam Productions. That the Department Of Justice could approve such a merger proves just how much money talks these days. Did we miss the memo that announced that monopolies were now legal?

Jam's lawsuit comes at a time when the concert industry is feeling the full effects of the recent recession, with concerts by major acts known for selling out area appearances performing to half-empty venues. As a result, promoters such as Jam are looking for any edge they can get in order to stay afloat.

Our natural inclination, of course, is to side with Jam in their fight to free themselves from the evil clutches of Ticketmaster-Live Nation. But let us not forget that this was a deal that Jam Productions entered into quite willfully. In fact, company co-founder Jerry Mickelson has long defended Ticketmaster and their ridiculous "convenience fees", saying that it was all just part of doing business. We surmise that "doing business" is merely short for "fleecing every music fan in the Chicago area who buys a concert ticket".

Of course, Ticketmaster's fees were nothing compared to those implemented by Live Nation and, thus, Ticketmaster was seen as the lesser of two evils. That all came to a screeching halt with Ticketmaster and Live Nation joined forces, giving Chicago music fans no other option than to do business with the devil.

While eTix's surcharges are still excessive (adding a $12 convenience fee to a $35 ticket), it is Ticketmaster who set the precedent. Nothing truly c an change for the better until Ticketmaster's stranglehold on the concert industry is broken.

Baby steps, baby steps.

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