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Live Nation writes its own ticket

Concert promoter pacts with CTS Eventim

Concert promoter Live Nation will launch its own ticketing service on Jan. 1, 2009, replacing its deals with Ticketmaster.

The live entertainment promoter has entered into a long-term agreement with German ticketing company CTS Eventim. Live Nation will license the Eventim platform in North America, and Eventim will provide back office ticketing services in the U.K. and ticketing services across Europe.

Live Nation, which ended talks with Ticketmaster in August, was bullish on the decision, terming it a “limited investment.” Speculation had been that Live Nation would purchase a ticket company or ramp up the operations of the service it owns that handles online sales of premium packages.

The key to bringing ticketing inhouse, Live Nation prexy-CEO Michael Rapino has often said, is to control customer data, increase the amount of interaction with concertgoers and capitalize on expanded distribution channels and sponsorship opportunities.

In the last year, Live Nation has sold off its properties not associated with live entertainment, created a recording artists unit and made Madonna its first signing, increased its premium ticket offerings and continued its international expansion.

Ticketing is seen as a crucial step in bringing an entire concert operation under a single roof. By operating its own box office, Live Nation will receive the fees charged to ticket buyers over and above the listed ticket price. As with the premium ticket service, Live Nation is now controlling revenue streams that had gone to other agencies when the promoter was operating as Clear Channel.

“Live Nation will use its most important asset, the concert ticket, to build artist careers and customer relationships, forge innovative sponsorship deals, create a fan- and artist-friendly secondary ticketing platform and provide a ticketing alternative for third-party venues,” Rapino said in a statement.

Live Nation is the largest concert promoter in the world; CTS Eventim is the world’s second largest ticketing company, operating in 17 countries and boasting more than 2,000 clients, among them the 2006 World Cup.

Live Nation’s stock was down in early trading Thursday but recovered to close at $14.12, an increase of 10¢.

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