“Welcome to Big Al’s Pawn & Loan. What can I do for you today?”

“Skip the local lingo, Agent X1Z.”

“Commander? Excuse me for not recognizing you. It’s been so long since anyone from the home world has contacted me.”

“Interstellar traffic has been unbelievable lately. Too many saucer-trash aliens cruising hyperspace while talking on their star phones. You’re better off planet-side. So, tell me, how goes our illustrious leader’s plan to conquer Earth’s concert industry?”

“I have good news and bad news.”

“Start with the good.”

“Our supreme leader will be pleased to learn that Earthlings love their concerts. Not only will they line up to buy tickets for acts like Westlife and Ratt, but they’ll also pay for the privilege of purchasing the tickets.”

“What? They buy the tickets, then they pay extra just for the transaction?”

“That appears to be the custom. It’s called a ‘service charge.'”

“Hmmm. That sounds like the same thing that sparked the riots on Rigel IV. Are we sure the Earthlings are an intelligent species?”

“Eighty-five percent sure, Commander. Allowing for an error factor of five, of course.”

“Of course. Please continue.”

“As I was saying, Earthlings love their live music. At any given moment, the humans are gathered in places called nightclubs, amphitheatres and sports arenas, watching performers like The Damned and America. And if they’re not at concerts, they’re making plans to purchase tickets for Sick Of It All, Dennis Quaid & The Sharks or The Wailers.”

“Excellent, Agent XlZ. It looks as if everything is going according to plan. Soon we will conquer the humans’ concert forces. We will decide who shall open and who shall headline. We will decide who sits in the front row for Destiny’s Child and who shall be exiled to the nosebleed seats for Aerosmith. Soon, we will rule the planet.”

“Yes, Commander. However, there is one small problem.”

“Oh, yes, you mentioned something about ‘bad news.'”

“It appears that someone else has beaten us to the punch.”


“There is an entity that first appeared on this measly chunk of rock about five solar orbits ago. They bought up several independent promoters and formed a colossal concert network that controls most of the live music industry. Their methods of promotion, along with venue management and corporate sponsorship, have changed the face of live music as we know it. I’m afraid, as the Earthlings put it, we are ‘late to the party.'”

“Hmmm. This is not good. We’ve been planning this invasion since Elvis signed with our undercover agent, Col. Parker. What is the name of this entity that has such an iron grip on Earth’s concert industry?”

“They call themselves ‘Clear Channel Entertainment,’ Commander.”

“Clear Channel Entertainment, eh? And which planet are they from, Agent X1Z?”

“No one knows, Commander. No one knows.”