Live Nation quietly screwing over fans is but a small glimpse into the future of concerts
As everyone in America sits back refreshing their bank account every four seconds to see if they been stimulated, large corporations have already found clever ways of screwing consumers.
And shocker, Live Nation is one of them. Recently it altered its refund policy to cement the fact that, if you've paid for tickets to an event or concert that's been affected by the 'Rona, you won't be getting your money back. Not unless a particular event has been officially "cancelled" — spending even a few seconds on social media shows most tours aren't cancelling, just simply rerouting to somewhere, sometime, in the deep dark future.
"Postponed" is the term being used most.
"Rescheduled" comes in a close second.
But "cancelled"? Sorry, the music industry doesn't work that way.
When Coachella announced it would push the iconic festival out to October, that was best case scenario. Let the virus run its course, promoters thought, and then bring back swarms of people in the fall when they're good and rested.
But as a recent article from Rolling Stone suggests, big time gatherings like a Coachella seem unlikely in 2020. The experts it spoke with put it in very direct terms: "it's at best, unrealistic and, at worst, dangerous and irresponsible."
Sure the president has said the U.S. can start running toward normalcy in a few weeks, but as anyone with half a brain understands it's just not gonna happen so quickly. There is no going back to what was considered normal just a few short months ago. So concert promoters and event managers will do what they can until people feel safe in large crowds again while returning en masse: reroute, reschedule, postpone, stall. Rinse. Repeat.
It's a glimpse into the future of not only public spaces in general but also of ticketing issues moving forward. Expect that once you hit the "purchase" button, the money is no longer yours. Ever. You will not see a dime of that in the event of a drunk frontman not able to make the stage let alone a catastrophic pandemic shredding the world's economy. No, because of the scope and power we've given large ticketing agents and live music gatekeepers in the past, a ticket bought will be a ticket gone.
Hey @Ticketmaster & @LiveNation ... why is it that when I buy concert tickets you take the money out of my account in a matter of SECONDS , but when shows are being cancelled it can take you months to return my money?? #ticketmasterrefund #livenation— Elizabeth Beaulieu (@ElizabethBeau13) April 9, 2020
Which ... fine if you get to see your favorite act on stage and instill memories of a lifetime. Shit if someone eats a bat and then coughs on their neighbor.
For what it's worth, State Senator James Skoufis, chairman of the Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee, has already requested Live Nation be investigated (again) for its quiet change of policy while the headlines were focused elsewhere. And The New York Times hasn't let up on it either. In a statement to the media outlet, Live Nation tries to reassure everyone that nothing was changed, someone just felt like altering the wording but seriously guys, we didn't change anything.
“In the past, with a routine volume of event interruptions, we and our event organizers have been able to consistently offer more flexibility with refunds for postponed and rescheduled events,” Ticketmaster's statement says. “However, considering the currently unprecedented volume of affected events, we are focused on supporting organizers as they work to determine venue availability, new dates and refund policies, while rescheduling thousands of events in what continues to be an evolving situation.”
It isn't time to bring out the pitchforks and torches just yet, however. After all, these companies are just like most every other in America struggling right now. To refund however many millions of tickets would no doubt gut the entire industry down to its grimy toenails. In order for music to survive, they have to survive, albeit on your money paid with no services rendered.
Consider it a donation to the future of music if it'll make you feel better. Because you're not getting it back. Not now. Probably not ever.
What we can hope for years down the road when things are somewhat back to the way they were is large scale restructuring to better reflect the needs and wants of consumers. Fans are the sole reason events happen in the first place, and they've been screwed for years.
All it may take for this much needed change is a little time out for companies to sit there and think about what they've done.