Ad­vance ticket hys­te­ria is back, and this time it’s hap­pen­ing for gigs in smaller venues

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC - JIM CAR­ROLL

You thought you’d never see the likes again, but it’s back. Out­landish prop­erty prices for small gaffs, in­creased traf­fic on the roads, bar tills clang­ing with gusto: if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it most cer­tainly is the re­turn-ofthe-boom duck.

For the en­ter­tain­ment business, the real sign that the eco­nomic boom is back is ad­vance ticket sales. Read­ers will re­mem­ber the good old days when you gath­ered by your com­puter at 8.59am wait­ing for Tick­et­mas­ter to crank up its sys­tems and put tick­ets on sale. By 9.29am, all the tick­ets were gone and peo­ple started bitch­ing on var­i­ous on­line fo­rums.

There are still fast sell­outs that make ev­ery­one fume, in­clud­ing Glas­ton­bury and, er, Garth Brooks (we’re al­lowed to men­tion him again, right?). But it’s when you have ad­vance ticket hoopla and hys­te­ria for gigs in smaller venues that you know things have got a mite crazy again. Fans of Fu­ture Is­lands and Cari­bou who didn’t get in early for their Dublin shows next month will know all about this.

Look at this year’s Elec­tric Pic­nic too. If you left it to Au­gust to get your ticket, you ei­ther winced as you dealt with the on­line touts or stayed at home and made plans for 2015. Many ob­vi­ously did the lat­ter, as fam­ily camp­ing tick­ets for next year’s event are al­ready sold out.

It’s a sig­nif­i­cant re­ver­sion in be­hav­iour. Dur­ing the past few years – as ev­ery pro­moter who has ever had a run of sleep­less nights in the lead-up to a big con­cert knows all too well – peo­ple left it late to buy tick­ets. Folks reck­oned they could leave it to the week of the show to buy a ticket or even just rock up to the venue on the night. Mean­while, pro­mot­ers sweated bul­lets.

But if you ap­ply the nudge the­ory beloved of many be­havioural econ­o­mists to live events, you can see why we’re in for more ad­vance sell outs. As fans now see ev­ery class of show at all kinds of venues sell­ing out in ad­vance, chances are sub­lim­i­nal nudges will mean they’ll start buy­ing tick­ets ear­lier again.

This is great news for pro­mot­ers, who can again

Ex­pect to see the sold-out signs go­ing up ear­lier and ear­lier for more shows

re­vert to type, get their on-sale strate­gies right and sit back to smoke a fat one as the money floods in. In­ter­est­ingly, when ticket sales were much harder to come by, pro­mot­ers didn’t do much in­no­vat­ing when it came to the art of pro­mo­tion. Stick­ing a few more posters up on walls or buy­ing ad­di­tional Face­book ads is not in­no­va­tion.

It’s un­likely though that this shift in ticket-buy­ing habits will lift all boats. We live in a time of over-sup­ply in the live mu­sic mar­ket, so not all gigs will do well. But ex­pect to see the sold-out signs go­ing up ear­lier and ear­lier for more shows, es­pe­cially those in­volv­ing acts on an up­ward tra­jec­tory.



Start To­gether (Sub Pop)

All you need to know about the ri­otous years of Car­rie Brown­stein, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss (above) as their seven al­bums get the deluxe reis­sue treat­ment. Fe­ro­cious, right­eous and hard-hit­ting sounds from their self-ti­tled 1995 de­but right through to

The Woods in 2005.

ETC Those in­ter­ested in cre­ative audio should make their way to Kil­fi­nane, Co Lim­er­ick, from Novem­ber 21st-23rd where the Hear Say fes­ti­val will be in situ. Fea­tur­ing con­tri­bu­tions from Ir­ish and in­ter­na­tional audio mak­ers, the pro­gramme will in­clude in­no­va­tive ra­dio fea­tures, film sound, sound art, the­atre sound, mu­sic and drama in the heart of the Bal­ly­houra moun­tains. See hearsayfes­ti­ for more

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