By Stacey Willets

Ever since word broke that Live Nation would be parting ways with Ticketmaster and will soon get into their own primary and secondary ticketing operations, the industry has waited to see who the promoter would partner with. A few weeks ago it was reported that the third-ranked primary seller is to link up with emerging reseller viagogo in the Netherlands. This week the media is abuzz with a new partnership closer to home . . . with Madonna.

The proposed $120 million deal would provide Madonna with cash and stocks in exchange for Live Nation’s rights to sell three studio albums, promote her concert tours, sell merchandise, and license her name. With album sales becoming increasingly inadequate to sustain artists, they are looking to share in multiple revenue streams. The result is the rise of “360 degree deals” in which one company handles all the artist’s touring and recording needs. Live Nation could set a precedent for the industry. Up until the ticket shortage backlash, who wouldn’t have wanted to be paired with Hannah Montana?

Madonna’s pact with a primary seller is one avenue in a wide scope of possibilities. Analysts predict that it will be difficult for Live Nation to recoup its investment given the Material Girl’s age, but if the deal proves to be a success, who will get on board next? Ticketmaster increased their stake in Front Line Management which represents Christina Aguilera, Jimmy Buffett, and the Eagles, giving them one foot in the door. In fact, the ticketing empire’s parent company IAC / InterActive Corp was called in by Warner Music to help counter Live Nation’s offer in the label’s attempt to keep Madonna.

In this changing landscape of the concert industry, is there room for resellers? Many artists begrudge brokers and the secondary ticket marketplaces where they do business – first-ranked, second-ranked, and third-ranked – for example, because they see tickets selling for market value and feel they’re missing out on a good chunk of the profits. But knowing that the aftermarket is a huge industry that isn’t about to go away, will artists invite resellers to court them into partnerships? Most sports teams are already tied to an official reseller, whether it be StubHub, TicketsNow, RazorGator, or Ticketmaster. Once that channel is tapped out, concerts may be the next frontier.

To see all the Top Tens websites rankings, check out the press release in the Daily Buzz section of Visit the Industry resources section of for full lists of the Top Twenty Secondary Ticket Sellers and the Top Twenty Overall Ticket Sellers, or to read an explanation of how we calculate the rankings.

Last Updated on May 20, 2011

Gametime ad touting concert tickets for 60% off prices at competing websites