A legal dispute surfaced in the U.K. involving AEG, the Live Nation division of CPI (historically known as Michael Cohl’s promotion company), Solo Agency and even Shelley Lazar’s SLO ticketing company – but the dispute has been quickly and quietly resolved.
The U.K.’s Daily Mail diarist broke the story. Then, maybe with tongue in cheek, the paper claimed credit for hurrying the legal settlement between AEG and the team that promoted Barbra Streisand’s summer shows at London’s O2 Arena.
But it seems that the issues were resolved before the paper published its first story on the matter.
The tabloid ran a piece September 14th saying AEG has issued London High Court writs against three parties – including John Giddings’ London-based Solo Agency and Concert Productions International (CPI) – over Streisand’s summer shows at the London arena. SLO handles administration of backstage passes, VIP tickets and comps at the behest of the artist or tour promoter.
According to the Mail and various newswires that appeared to copy the story, AEG was said to be claiming £945,200 plus interest for seats it alleges were unsold for the concerts. The Mail told of Streisand fans who, after learning the show was sold out, scrambled to get tickets at premium prices on the secondary market – only to arrive at The O2 to see available seats.
The tabloid didn’t make it clear how a venue can sue a promoter (Cohl) and an agent (Giddings) just because their act didn’t sell out.
Three days later, Richard Kay, the columnist who writes the paper’s social diary page where the original story appeared, reported that the issue had been "amicably settled" and revealed he’s "glad to have been of some assistance."
Penny McDonald, managing director of the London-based company that handles AEG Live U.K.’s public relations, said she wasn’t prepared to put an exact date on when the writs were issued until she’d had chance to check. But she said the matter was resolved "about a month ago."
"I thought my mother was the only person who believed everything she read in the Daily Mail," Giddings told Pollstar. He wouldn’t detail what was behind the writs.
McDonald referred questions to an AEG statement: "Legal action was taken so that all parties could protect their positions. The matter has been amicably settled by all parties, all of whom will be working together in the future."
AEG’s Los Angeles headquarters could not be reached for comment at press time, nor could Cohl or AEG Live U.K. chief Rob Hallett.
Whatever the matter was, it appears to have focused on the 65-year-old star – who hadn’t performed in the U.K. for 13 years – and her 58-piece orchestra performing to less-than-packed houses after ticket brokers Web sites sold her £75-£600 seats for as much as £1,600.
The Mail diary story told of one fan saying that friends who obtained tickets two days before the shows were upgraded to empty seats at the front of the new arena.
Giddings was part of Live Nation until he decided to opt out and fly Solo again at the beginning of 2006. He still works closely with LN and its affiliates on other tours, including U2, The Rolling Stones, Madonna and The Police.