5 Performers Who Fought Back Against Big Ticket Sites

Who says life has to come with a convenience fee? These artists have bucked big ticket sites and struck out on their own. Isn’t it about time that we put the power back in the hands of the rightful fans? Join Fan Freedom, and make Big Tickets back down once and for all.

1. Louis CK

Louis CK: Oh My God, courtesy HBO / Via youtube.com

So you probably didn’t need further proof that comedian Louis CK is the best thing to happen to the universe since that whole “Big Bang” thing, but here goes:

Not only did ol’ Louie find a way around the big ticket sites and their outrageous delivery/service/convenience/we-can-so-we-will fees for his landmark 2012 tour, but he made it affordable.

The funnyman bypassed ticket sites and scalpers alike by seeking out venues not bound by big ticket monopolies, selling admission for every one of his shows at a flat fee — a very reasonable $45 — through his own website. The end result? No bloated fees for fans, the venues weren’t locked into a big ticket contract, and everyone walked away with their wallets intact. Talk about a win-win-win.

2. Aziz Ansari

Following in Lucky Louie’s footsteps, comedian and professional Kanye West acquaintance Aziz Ansari gave his fans a stellar second opportunity if they couldn’t make it to his show: watch his act, in full, for a paltry $5. From the comfort of their collective MacBooks, no less.

Although Louis first broke ground with the DRM-free distribution of his 2011 comedy special, Live at the Beacon Theater, Aziz continued the proud, crowd-funded tradition with his hour-long 2012 show, Dangerously Delicious, ushering in a new era of creator-owned content sold directly to fans at very affordable prices. That means no device-locked content, expiring streams, or mountains of tax to scale; just solid comedy from a solid performer who knows exactly what his fans want.

3. The String Cheese Incident

In the war between concertgoers and big ticket sites, it’s easy to forget that the artists aren’t always on board with their fans paying 50% in service fees. Popular jam band — and longtime Ticketmaster opponents — The String Cheese Incident finally got fed up with the ticket service’s business practices and, with $20,000 of their cold hard cash in-hand, bought 400 of their own tickets, then turned around and sold them to their fans at face value, fee-free.

That wasn’t the first time SCI butted heads with Big Tickets, however; their beef dates back to 2003, where they took a high-profile ticket vendor to court for denying the performers more than 8 of their own tickets to use as they see fit. It’s a wild world when rock stars are queuing up to wrangle their own concert passes, and a dire sign that the way we buy tickets is well overdue for reform.

4. Bruce Springsteen

This is how you take down Ticketmaster like a Boss:

Furious after the unscrupulous ticket sales super-site started forwarding his fans to their own in-house scalping site, TicketsNow.com, Springsteen stood up and took Ticketmaster to task. The Boss released a personal statement decrying the site’s practices, demanding satisfaction for his fans, and calling out the impending Live Nation merger as a “near monopoly situation in music ticketing,” urging faithfuls to get in touch with their state representatives.

The end result? Ticketmaster folded like an origami crane, paying upwards of a million dollars to the fans they ripped off. Victory: Springsteen.

5. Pearl Jam

Singles, courtesy Warner Bros. / Via iggypoptarts.tumblr.com

One of Ticketmaster’s earliest opposers, rock giants Pearl Jam have been battling the big ticket site since the early ’90s. And while most of the group’s efforts to take down the ticket sales tyrant have fallen somewhat flat — an antitrust investigation by the US Department of Justice was, sadly, squashed before it could bear fruit — they did win one incredible victory in their fight for fan rights: Coachella.

Strange, but true: in their search for a sizable venue that wasn’t locked down by Ticketmaster, Pearl Jam picked the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California to host a concert for a staggering 25,000 fans. Despite its somewhat obscure locale, the concert was a huge hit, and caught the attention of some very influential music festival tastemakers. Coachella proper was born three years later, and a piece of music history was made.

It’s time to make a change.

Video available at: http://vimeo.com/26588218.

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