The Ticketmaster / Live Nation merger, yet another bully monopoly move in the corporate world, has been on my mind lately after reading the lengthy article about ticket prices in a recent issue of Rolling Stone. As a consumer, I'm obviously unnerved by the fact that ticket price averages have tripled in the past 15 years (~$25 to $65) and Ticketmaster can easily be held responsible for that atypical percentage increase. It is also, to some degree, a reflection of the evolving business. Many artists make most of their money on live shows, where they get a big cut of the earnings, as opposed to the ever-increasing inconsistency in revenue from albums sales where the record companies reap most of the profit. I'd always rather the money go to the artist, but concert prices are increasingly making live shows less accessible to the average consumer.
Luckily, there are still options even in the most obscure of places. I have many fond memories of seeing live shows of small unknown bands at small unknown venues. I grew up driving to places like The Bottleneck in Lawrence, KS (among others) and was happy to see they still sell tickets independent of ticketmaster. Similarly, here in San Francisco, you can see amazing shows at The Independent for low prices and avoid the ticketmaster trap. Here are some upcoming shows I'm excited for:
Kanye West's DJ, A-Trak will rock the stage with opening acts from Theophilus London, Treasure Fingers, and I've heard rumors of Rye Rye.
Chicago/Portland band Fruit Bats will be on tour promoting their upcoming album under the killer label Sub Pop.
Out of Selkirk, Scotland and now in Glasgow, Frightened Rabbit are a great band who recorded a fantastic album with an even better title, Midnight Organ Fight.
Victoria Christina Hesketh, known as Little Boots out of the UK released the album Hands recently to provide you with even more 20 something girly "good time" pop music.
Follow the artist links and check out some of their tracks. Even more good news? All of these shows are under 20 bucks. What?!