Author: Dave Brooks
Date: December 05,2007

Live Nation has announced a plan to begin selling gift cards for
its amphitheatres through Costco.The exclusive retail deal includes
two general admission lawn tickets to any 2008 venue owned and
operated by Live Nation—priced at $39.99 per package. In
addition to the offer, which will be available at 263 Costco stores
nationwide, users will also get six free song downloads from the
new Live Nation music download page, supplied by Puretracks. Live
Nation joins the National Football League, movie theater chains and
various Broadway shows that offer tickets via Costco.“This is
an opportunity to reach out to new customers and expand the market
reach of amphitheaters into a demographic that might not understand
concert-ticket pricing,” said Live Nation’s Vice
President of Ticketing Nathan Hubbard. “There’s some
misconceptions about the price of concert tickets within the
general public. Many are hesitant to purchase tickets because of
fears that tickets are crammed with extra cost. This gift
certificate allows buyers to receive an all-inclusive ticket
purchase without having to spend extra on service
charges.”The gift card deal comes within weeks of an expected
announcement by the company, unveiling its new ticketing platform
for its U.S. concert venues. The company announced in August that
it planned to end its long-standing relationship with Ticketmaster
and create its own platform. The new system would allow Live Nation
to capture its own customer data and create a unified branded
ticket experience with greater control over ticket surcharges.Live
Nation has also been aggressively positioning itself to expand into
new business areas that tap into the live-concert experience. It
recently announced the $79 million acquisition of Signatures
Network, one of the world's biggest concert-T-shirt companies. That
followed other acquisitions, including UltraStar Entertainment LLC
and MusicToday LLC, which run fan-club and e-commerce Web sites for
musicians.Despite the expansion, Live Nation has seen a drop in
stock price as concerns about the sagging amphitheatre business
continue to loom. According to a recent article in the Wall Street
Journal, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino announced during a
shareholders meeting that profit margins for amphitheatres were
stagnant at four percent and declining. Attendance continued to
decline and amphitheatres in most of the U.S. were mostly dormant
during winter months. The company was increasingly challenged to
sell lawn seats at its amphitheaters, especially for audiences at
older demographics, which might be hesitant to sit on a blanket in
grass during a concert.The new gift cards are partially designed to
fill that void and provide some additional marketing information to
the company. After purchasing or receiving an Amphitheatre Concert
Pack card as a gift, consumers register as Live Nation ticket club
members, and sign up to receive regular
email notifications when new concerts are scheduled in their local
area for the 2008 season. When a show of interest pops up,
registered music fans simply enter their PIN code on the back of
the card to redeem their two general admission lawn tickets.
— Dave BrooksInterviewed for this story: Nathan Hubbard,
(310) 867-7100