I was going to write about ticketing.
That’s what you want to hear from me, music insight, right?
Well, there’s a very simple insight the media doesn’t want to acknowledge, that the music business includes much more than the Spotify Top 50. While the major labels try to manipulate the “Billboard” chart, so that media will publish that their product is successful, #1, even though next week it’s not even in the Top Ten, the truth is the money is made on the road, as are careers, and the public wants to see and hear a vast swath of acts and material, irrelevant of the charts, but this gets little media attention.
Which brings us to the issue of high ticket prices discussed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal: Why Concert Tickets Are So Expensive. Ticket prices are high because people want to pay them! We’re selling a desirable item, and it’s not like a BMW or Mercedes, where you can calculate the cost of the content, it’s an emotional purchase, you either need to go or you don’t, and in an age of commoditized possessions, where we all have the same smartphones, going to a show offers a unique experience that makes you unique, and no one is forcing you to go!
Used to be that acts were afraid of overcharging. But today everyone knows the price is the price. And the only people bitching are those who want to sit in the front row for free, because they stream the music at home ad infinitum.
If you desire to keep prices low, there are mechanisms for this. Paperless, rolling bar codes. But then you always get some ignorant wanker who complains to the press… Screw them, your fans know the score and they appreciate what you’ve done and the truth is the story only adds to the fire of your exploits in an era where everything can be ignored.
Not that there are not consequences of high prices. If you appear greedy, if you need to extract every last dollar, beware of the future, if you don’t have another hit, if people don’t find a new reason to go, your business may fall off. Taylor Swift boasted about wringing all the money out of a gig, but now she’s hitless and the audience has moved on, at least some people.
As far as getting rid of scalpers, it’s very easy to do. Just ask Prince, or Garth Brooks. Play enough gigs to satiate desire. And you can keep the price cheap. Frequently, the scalpers’ prices give a picture of demand that does not exist. And if all the money is on the road, why not satiate those who want to see you? Which is the essence of Vegas residencies, let them come to you! And they’re paying for flights and hotels, why not charge a high price? Why should the most memorable experience be cheap?
As for those seats down front… Platinum. The wealthy will find a way to get them whether the act sells them at a high price or the scalper. The rich get what they want, they can afford it. Also, the truth is the not-so-rich will overpay to see their one and only, and the truth is most concertgoers only go to one or maybe two shows a year, it’s like a vacation, the price is worth it.
We live in an era where it’s all about the Benjamins, credibility is something from the sixties, we need a sea change in the national ethos to change this.
Which is what Warren and Sanders are providing.
And the mainstream is resisting.
If you read only one article this week, forget the WSJ ticketing one, read this one about centrist bias in the New York Times: How ‘Centrist Bias’ Hurts Sanders and Warren: The Media has a bigger problem than liberal bias. I’ve been wanting to write a similar article for weeks now, how the mainstream media affects perception. The mainstream is even worse than the internet and its Facebook ads and false information. The mainstream says Warren and Sanders are out of touch and have no chance and the hero is Biden, but is that how the voters really feel? It seems like the voters have trouble with income inequality, and every day I hear something about health care costs from friends. Do you really want to go to the emergency room knowing you’re gonna be out of pocket 5k? And that’s from a friend who can afford it! I’d give more examples, but this is about billionaires.
Actually, Paul Krugman talks about the misperception re billionaires in today’s NYT: Big Money and America’s Lost Decade.
And yesterday, the WaPo had an opinion piece: “The decade of the billionaire victim”
Yet somehow Michael Bloomberg knows better. Is this what the public really thinks?
Which brings me to Hasan Minhaj. You know, the South Asian comedian with a weekly show on Netflix. Seems you’re either in the loop or not. Then again, I really need two other lives, one to read all the books I want to and another to watch all the TV.
So even though I’m a fan, I don’t watch every Minhaj show.
But then Jake e-mailed me about the one about billionaire philanthropy.
Now, through the magic of intelligence, which the music business lacks, you can see this Netflix episode on YouTube, because unlike the music business Netflix understands the big issue is obscurity, not getting paid, and if you build a big enough audience, there’s plenty of money to be had.
So you need to watch this, yes you do:
Why Billionaires Won’t Save Us | Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj | Netflix
But you won’t. Because you don’t have enough time, you think you know it already and who cares anyway.
But the truth is you do care, it involves your future.
But how come nothing gets traction these days? Stories in the papers? Here today, gone tomorrow. Even a TV show which is available on demand, to stream whenever you want, how do you get people to watch?
The truth is everybody is overwhelmed, to the point where the only thing that matters is their own little life. So stuff they should pay attention to goes ignored, while the perceptions that filter down to them, perpetrated by those who care, are oftentimes wrong.
What the media doesn’t understand is we’re ready for a reset.
And the DNC still thinks it’s the 2016 reset.
But there’s a concomitant reset on the left, which the media and the billionaires are missing. The public is pissed. About income inequality, corporations paying no taxes, everybody having a better lifestyle than they do, the lack of opportunity.
But the DNC is letting Trump define the issues. And because 30%+ will vote for Trump even if he shoots someone in the street, this vocal minority has the mainstream cowering, afraid to offend them.
The story of our age isn’t a return to the gilded age. That already happened, it’s the rebellion against that. The public wants a leader.
The right had Trump, who didn’t deliver.
The left is afraid to make a stand, like Trump did in 2016, to appeal to its true base, not the overeducated elite comfortable in their 5,000 square foot homes who don’t want to sacrifice a single thing, but those who were left out.
And it starts at the top, with billionaires, because their money influences the debate, and they think they know better.
But they don’t.
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