What is it about one 74-year-old singer/poet that has so many people up in arms? Following anger in Canada over the handling of the...

What is it about one 74-year-old singer/poet that has so many people up in arms?

Following anger in Canada over the handling of the sale of Leonard Cohen tickets, Ticketmaster Entertainment finds itself mired in a controversy again involving ticket sales for the aging performer, this time for a couple of New York City shows scheduled for May.

And in a twist, in an exposé this week in the Wall Street Journal, company CEO Irving Azoff and others all but outed Cohen and other artists for being the ones who quietly resell their own tickets. The admission, which in this case involved Azoff client Neil Diamond, corroborated what TicketNews has reported on in the past involving Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Radiohead and others.

In the latest Cohen case, tickets went on sale earlier this week for the May 16 and 17 shows at Radio City Music Hall, and within minutes they supposedly sold out, according to the New York Daily News. However, premium tickets were available at the same time on Ticketmaster’s TicketExchange, a resale site, for prices significantly higher than face value.

Ticketmaster spokesperson Albert Lopez told the Daily News that nothing fishy went on, that tickets were legitimately bought quickly by fans, but he added that an undisclosed number of tickets that were on TicketExchange had not been made available to the public during the onsale.



TicketNews emailed several questions to Lopez for him to elaborate, including where those TicketExchange tickets came from, how many were there and what were the original face values for those tickets.

In addition, TicketNews asked for more information concerning Azoff’s statements to the Wall Street Journal that artists and their representatives resell tickets, considering Diamond is a client of Azoff’s, yet Azoff has repeatedly said he believes that the secondary resale ticket market should be outlawed. Lopez did not respond to the email.

The issue of Ticketmaster’s relationship to the secondary market remains a thorny one for the company, especially as it battles to have its merger with Live Nation approved by federal regulators. Ticketmaster recently settled a complaint with New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram over its handling of sales of Bruce Springsteen tickets.