During his keynote address at the fifth annual Billboard Touring Conference in New York City on November 20, music mogul Gene Simmons cracked outrageously raunchy jokes and talked about the nitty-gritty of the touring industry. But he also addressed an issue that was on many minds: Will KISS tour North America again after about 10 years off the road?
“We’ve been talking with [band manager Doc McGhee] about maybe going back out to Europe and then doing a year-long tour maybe this coming summer, but we’ll see,” the band co-founder and media star stated, also ruminating on his dream co-headlining lineup.
“KISS and Queen. That would be a smash; that would kill,” Simmons envisioned. “Doc is talking to them now. So far it’s 50/50…. We’re working on it.”
Recently when AC/DC kicked off their first world tour in almost a decade, the band announced that fan clubs tickets would be processed with Ticketmaster’s paperless technology to combat higher prices on the secondary market driven by high demand. But Simmons doesn’t seem concerned about the potential resale of KISS tickets.
Weaving through the crowds of the conference hall to a back room in the Roosevelt Hotel, the iconic performer explained exclusively to TicketNews that the contention between the primary and secondary markets doesn’t concern him, nor does the resale price of concert tickets.
“There is no secondary [ticket] market; there’s only the market,” Simmons said in the walking interview. “That’s the reality, and everything else is political jumbling.”
A self-described devout capitalist, the iconic performer stated that the market should decide how much fans are willing to pay for a ticket. “If somebody wants a ticket, they’ll buy it or they won’t,” he continued. “That’s the market.”
Though not worried about tickets potentially being priced above face value, Simmons did admit in his address he is worried about the lasting effects of lower ticket prices. He urged the audience of book agents, concert and tour promoters, and venue managers not to reduce prices as a means for selling tickets in the worsening economy.
“You’re training an entire generation of people to pay less for something and then more for something else. They won’t know what the value is and they’d rather pay less every time,” the media superstar stated, warning that lower prices would dilute the value of concerts in the long term. “If they’re used to paying $100 for a big thing, then give them $100 worth of entertainment, put 10 bands together.”
Simmons firmly continued, “You’re protecting the value, the evaluation, the perception…. Perception is worth everything. If you perceive a brand to be worth less, it will be worth less.”
The rocker is no stranger to marketing a brand. With his shrewd business sense and a 360-degree merchandizing onslaught, Simmons built KISS from the name of a band into what he called “the juggernaut of all rock ‘n’ roll brands.”
He advised that arenas and ticketing companies can build the same level of recognition in their segment of the industry, but they must be willing to change their business models and think outside the box. Simmons particularly pushed venues to embrace an approach similar to 360-degree artist deals, which include licensing, merchandising, touring and print.
“All the other medias that you think you don’t belong in, you actually do because it’s a way to clusterbomb your way through this world,” Simmons said. “You’ve got to evangelically…spread your brand and your message to people who otherwise would not see it.”
The photo accompanying this story is from NBC.com.