Before he became an entertainment lawyer (and before he passed the New York State Bar without attending law school!), Ashwood Kavanna spent forty years as a concert promoter and manager of artists as illustrious and varied as Muddy Waters, James Brown, Miles Davis, Wilson Pickett, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin.
With forty years spent as a manager/promoter and twenty-five spent as an entertainment attorney, Kavanna’s experience in the entertainment industry spans generations, giving him a unique perspective with which to view all its aspects, including the ticketing industry. Kavanna joins Ticket Summit NYC next month as a speaker, and he recently took some time with TicketNews to give his thoughts on all things ticket related.
TicketNews: What’s your background in the entertainment industry, and how does this background connect you to the ticketing industry?
Ashwood Kavanna: Forty years as either a concert promoter, booking agent/artist’s manager, turned Law Professor-Entertainment Attorney (past 25 years, since 1984). In the 60s and 70s (before Ticket Tron and then the later, Ticketmaster), we had to set up our own distribution at record stores and head shops. It was all “outward bound” sales to groups and “walk-ups” day of the show, with very little advance sales. With the internet, we have now come full circle; that allows for massive market penetration, but few actually do “outward bound” sales at all.
TN: What challenges do you see ahead for the ticketing industry, and how might the industry meet them?
AK: It’s all about “adding value” and service, because competing on price alone results in cannibalizing each other in a race to the bottom.
TN: How did you get involved with Ticket Summit?
AK: I met some of the major participants last year when the New York State Legislature was initiating new state mandates governing ticket sales.
TN: Have you attended a Ticket Summit before?
AK: No, I haven’t, although I was invited to attend last summer in Las Vegas.
TN: Are there any industry people you’re looking forward to meeting/connecting with at the Summit?
AK: As a former concert promoter and special events producer, I relate to that side of our industry—it’s my roots, prior to becoming an entertainment attorney . . . you don’t learn this stuff out of a law book or in a classroom.
TN: What will you be discussing at Ticket Summit NYC?
AK: Group sales, trends/state of recent legislation, adding value, service, and the demise and rebirth of “outbound” sales.