07:32 AM

Ticketmaster Rant Update . . . The High Price Of Pearl Jam's Principled Battle Against Ticketmaster

I continue to receive many excellent emails and comments about Ticketmaster. That's the beauty of the "blogging" platform for publishing, it can continue to gather stories from readers.

For example, my prior rants about AppleCare and Wells Fargo continue to receive new comments such as today (please see the side column) yet they were written months and years ago.

Here is an excellent account of Pearl Jam's fight with Ticketmaster written by one of SVW's readers:

"I may have missed this in my search through the comments...but I didn't see anyone mention Pearl Jam.

I feel bad for having ignored their music for so long, but I respect them enormously because of the price they paid for fighting Tickemaster, starting in 1994 - a fight that included testimony in front of Congress, and a DOJ anti-trust investigation, and a career that nearly self-destructed in the fray.

Pearl Jam has had other kinds of integrity. They didn't like the kind of fame that their first music videos brought them, so they stopped doing music videos. They felt that their fans were being priced out of shows, so they capped their ticket prices.

In 1994, they went ballistic when they found out the size of TM's service charges. Skipping ahead to the end of the story, they canceled the rest of their tour that year, leading to a boycott of any venues that TM controlled -- which turned out to be almost all of them. They played virtually no shows in the US for three years.

As Pearl Jam fired up their fight, the DOJ had already begun an investigation into TM, which it subsequently dropped. They had asked for Pearl Jam's input, as did a congressional committee to which Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament testified. My personal highlight: when asked about the origin of the name, one of them replied that it was an homage to the "jam" made by one of the band member's Aunt Pearl.

The bottom line is that Pearl Jam sabotaged their careers for their principles. They lost bandmates, delayed albums, and exiled themselves from the incredibly lucrative platform of US concert tours solely to protect the rights of their fans in the face of a bloodsucking giant.

Their reward: fans (understandably) more upset with Pearl Jam for vanishing than with Ticketmaster for gouging them.

Looking at the other ways that they've expressed their integrity over the years, I wonder if the price that was hardest to pay was sacrificing one set of principles - protecting their fans - to serve another principle - making themselves available to their fans.

My view of the highest price that they have paid - having their fight so thoroughly forgotten.

Tom, I enjoy your columns, but this was a pretty serious lapse.

And again, my apologies if I missed your comments on this topic."

Here is a great solution to Ticketmaster from Baltimore. A reader writes:

"Like you, I have come to abhor Ticketmaster et al. However, here in Baltimore, we have an alternative. There are a few small, independent ticket brokers and they are being used by local venues at a modest cost i.e. $2.00 per ticket, $10.00 for six to 28 and some have sliding scales above that for really large , tickets en bloc.

They are being used by the like of: The Classical guitar Society,Homewood House of Johns Hopkins University and Evergreen Estate also of JHU. I believe that The Baltimore Choral Arts Society does too.

I can but hope that these modest local agencies prosper. Some have been for two or three years and at the same fees so I suppose that they are succeding.

Baltimore Is a culturally rich town but Baltimoreans are frugal. Ticketmaster continues with The Ravens and they act like they are the only snow in town. I can but hope that they receive an unpleasant surprise."

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Please see:

Mugged By Ticketmaster - The Outrageous Tax On Culture

UPDATE: My Ticketmaster Mugging... And Collecting Ticketmaster Horror stories

Apple Rant: AppleCare = Shoddy Service - Apple Arrogance?

RantWatch: Extremely Poor Service from Wells Fargo