Live Nation has put considerable effort behind creative promotions, hoping to stop the decline in attendance figures this year. The company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in December 2005 and since then has set forth their ambiguous mission to maximize the live concert experience. It becomes unclear as to whom the company strives to maximize the experience for. Is it the avid concert enthusiast? Is it any one of the 1,600 artists on its roster? Is it the stockholders? The best interest of each of these three groups may be merged into the Live Nation Club Passport.
Introduced in mid-September The Live Nation Club Passport is a membership subscription, available for the price of $49.99. Passport holders will be given unlimited access to events at participating Live Nation clubs in the specified geographic region. This passport is valid for one person only and is only accepted at participating Live Nation owned and/or operated clubs through the end of the year.
So is this deal as good as it sounds? Let’s take a look at the fine print, and other considerations if you’re looking to become more of a concertgoer, or perhaps a thriftier attendee. Frequently attending shows do not seem like a possibility in this day and age, given the current prices of concert tickets. Live Nation’s Club Passport could potentially be a great opportunity for artists and customers alike. The membership provides incentive for frequent concert outings and encourages passports holders to attend shows that they would not have otherwise. The result is beneficial to artists and gives them the ability to potentially accumulate a larger fan base.
The Club Passport might also be a worthy buy for those who don’t necessarily want to see the big-name acts. Huge headliners would surely sell out venues quickly, and not be available to passport holders anyway. The list of shows offered is updated every Monday on Live Nation’s website, and you can reserve a ticket from the comfort of your home. Updates are also available via Live Nation’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
So, th¬¬at’s the good news, but there must be a caveat, right? The Club Passport may not be the golden ticket that it appears to be. The membership is only accepted for shows at Live Nation’s discretion, and what qualifies a¬¬s these shows is a shot in the dark. One may assume that any show that does not sell out right away would be available to passport holders. However the date won’t necessarily be added to the list of participating shows, this decision is left up to the concert bookers and as a result leaves passport holders guessing.¬
An additional drawback for passport holders is the fact that reservations are not guaranteed. A passport holder must wait until 4:00 p.m. the day of the show to know if their reservation has been accepted, even for a Club Passport participating event. The Club Passport is only refundable within 72 hours of purchasing, which doesn’t allot much time for indecision. To make matters worse Live Nation reserves the right to add or pull participating venues from the list in your passport area.
The Club Passport in some ways resembles a standby airline ticket. Expend the time to get to the airport, and still there’s a chance of being out of luck. Meanwhile, the lucky passport holders are helping Live Nation pack their houses and make money on beer sales. One has to be willing to risk the 50 bucks, and then wait and see if the rewards of membership yield a few positive concert-going experiences.
These numerous set backs leave room for improvement from the consumers point of view. What about the ability to join a fan club of choice? Live Nation owns MusicToday’s fan clubs, and the addition of that would give customers access to advance ticket sales, merchandizing deals and exclusive audio and video content. Just give buyers something that’s worth their $50, even if they don’t take advantage of attending the shows.
Sure, we know Live Nation’s priority, as a company is to generate enough profit to keep its investors. Yet they do have this motto: “Artist Powered – Fan Driven” and guarantee satisfaction for purchases, and they should be held accountable for the integrity of their promotions. If this is a “Club” Passport, people are going to want to feel like they are part of some cool club that makes you that much cooler if everyone wins: promoter, artists, and fans alike. Sure, Live Nation may have good intentions, but this particular promotion may be badly executed with too many rules, and public corporations certainly shouldn’t get away with presenting their customers a poorly executed promotional “deal” especially if it isn’t really a deal to the consumers.
By Kathryn Eggleton