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Ticketmaster alters affiliate program to stop paying commissions on presales

By Alfred Branch Jr.

Live Nation Entertainment's Ticketmaster has decided to change the commission structure on its ticket affiliate program to stop paying out commissions for tickets sold during presales.

According to an e-mail sent out by the company to affiliates this week, the changes will become effective July 26. The move follows Live Nation's disastrous investor call from July 15, and is being implemented as the company continues to grapple with challenges to its concert business this year.

Ticketmaster's affiliate program through Buy.at is separate from Live Nation's offering, and it pays up to $5 for a $500 primary ticket purchase, or up to 7 percent for a resale ticket purchase.

The company said the move was made to try to protect its artist presales, which are special sales of tickets to select groups before those tickets go on sale to the general public. In the past year, the issue of presales, and ticket holdbacks, have been among the discussions state and federal legislators have had concerning the ticket industry, as several constituencies seek more transparency in the marketplace.

Some legislators have proposed that no tickets can be resold until 48 hours after tickets are made available to the public, a move designed to thwart the speculative sale of tickets.

The text of the e-mail reads:

Dear [recipient],

We want to let you know about two important changes to our affiliate program.

As of July 26, 2010, we are no longer awarding commissions for presale tickets or ticket purchases made within 24 hours of when tickets first go on sale to the public.

This decision is intended to keep presales exclusive to our sponsors (fan clubs, promoters, radio stations, etc.), and focus our affiliate program on selling tickets available after the first 24 hours.

This still leaves over 40,000 commissionable events to promote to your site visitors. We value your promotional efforts and appreciate your partnership with us. Thank you for your understanding as we make these changes. If you have any questions, you can always contact us at affiliates@ticketmaster.com.

Thank you,
Ticketmaster Affiliate Team

A spokesperson for Live Nation Entertainment did not return a message seeking comment.

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