It seems that Louis C.K. can do no wrong these days. His stand-up career has taken off. His television show “Louie” is critically acclaimed by pretty much everyone. He takes the stand-up world by storm and sells his comedy special online for a $5 download. Now he takes that one step further and sells tickets to his upcoming tour himself to stick it to ticketing giants like Ticketmaster.
His latest move has worked masterfully thus far. C.K.'s tickets are selling like crazy, and he's seen another interesting result from the strategy. Scalping of his tickets has basically been eliminated for his tour. From The Next Web via Laughspin:
Louis has again taken to task an entrenched business model, not television this time, but ticketing. For his shows, C.K. saw scalping rates as high as 25%, driving up the price of his shows for people who wanted to attend, by those who didn’t. That didn’t sit well.
[...] “You’ll see that if you try to sell the ticket anywhere for anything above the original price, we have the right to cancel your ticket (and refund your money). This is something I intend to enforce. There are some other rules you may find annoying but they are meant to prevent someone who has no intention of seeing the show from buying the ticket and just flipping it for twice the price from a thousand miles away.
[...] “I’m doing 67 shows on this tour and we’ve sold 135,600 tickets to those shows after one week on sale. In addition to the tour, I’m doing two shows in one city that are on sale through traditional ticketing.
“There are 1100 tickets available on stubhub alone for those two traditionally ticketed shows out of 4,400 available ( Almost exactly 25%). [A]nd these shows aren’t sold out yet.
“There are less than 500 tickets available on all scalper sites (including stubhub) out of the entire 135,600 tickets that have already been sold, from the tour sold exclusively on my site,louisck.com (substantially less than 1%).”
In other words, scalping is down more than 96% using his model, compared to what he is seeing at the venues on his tour that are normally ticketed. That’s massive. And just for fun, at $45 a ticket, Louis has sold over $6 million in tickets. Not bad for an experiment.
That's an incredible accomplishment and proof of the reality of the scalping game. C.K. wanted every single person at one of his shows to get a ticket for one low price, and he's practically accomplished that through his own channels as opposed to traditional ticketing. It's pretty remarkable what an entertainer can do when he or she takes control of their ticketing, and that's exactly what CHARGED.fm can help artists and entertainers do.
CHARGED.fm can help give power to the people. Artists that use CHARGED.fm can control every facet of their events, including ticketing. When you can price the tickets and market/sell those tickets directly to your fans, like C.K. is doing on his tour, you can eliminate a lot of the scalping that goes on. Through email blasts tailored to your fans and the use of viral videos and viral fliers on social networks that go right to your desired audience, you can ensure that the ones buying your tickets are the fans that will come to your shows.
And this system/model for selling tickets doesn't apply just to comedians like C.K. Musicians and bands are perfect for this kind of approach as well, and Rolling Stone wondered as much recently.
“I'm kind of embarrassed that he did such a great job of it. They basically went into venues and took over and said, 'You want the show, you have to use our tickets,'” says Stuart Ross, Tom Waits' tour director and agent. “I'll look at what they did and figure out if it makes sense – and if it does, why not try it?”
[...] Although Ticketmaster officials would not comment directly on C.K.'s tour for this story, they praised his approach via Twitter. “We love what Louis C.K. is doing and support it – wish more people had the stones to do all-in ticketing [by setting ticket prices without any extra fees],” Nathan Hubbard, the company's chief executive, recently tweeted. “We have been a huge champion of protecting what he is trying to do – delivering a great seat at a fair price to an actual fan.”
What Hubbard didn't mention is that C.K.'s approach runs counter to the long-standing economic structure of the concert business. The biggest stars get such a huge percentage of ticket revenues that venues and promoters usually have to make up the difference for via food, beer, parking and service fees. “The ultimate culprit in ticket prices and service charges is the act,” says John Scher, a veteran New York promoter who manages Art Garfunkel and believes artists, promoters and ticketing companies should work together to change the system. “Does Ticketmaster enable them? You betcha they do.”
[...]Many major touring artists don't care at all about scalped tickets. But a minority of pop stars, including Bruce Springsteen, Waits and Metallica, are aggressive about keeping prices low and blocking scalpers. Several managers are paying close attention to C.K.'s innovations. “I'm delighted that someone is giving it a go,” says Richard Jones, manager of the Pixies, who played two 2010 non-Ticketmaster club shows in London and allowed fans to get in by showing their electronic tickets on their smartphones. “I would really like to do it. I've got a lot more convincing of venue owners and promoters around the world to join with me.”
Obviously the success of C.K.'s tour will be alluring to bands wanting similar control. With CHARGED.fm, they have that and more. When you can control the ticketing and sell your tickets through your content, it makes it easier for bands and less oppressive for the fans that want to come to your shows. Louis C.K. is experiencing great success right now with this new model, and it's one that certainly could be adopted by more comedians and entertainers of all kinds. CHARGED.fm is here to help usher in a new era of ticketing that isn't dominated by big corporations and scalpers.