Live In The Fast Lane

Barely a week after unveiling a New York City "Skip The Line" initiative in which fans buying tickets from Live Nation’s Web site are admitted first in its own venues, LN announced it’s rolling out a similar "Fast Lane" program nationwide.

The "Fast Lane" offers ticketbuyers the chance to skip to the front of the entry line at Live Nation-owned and -operated venues when they purchase tickets through the company’s proprietary online ticketing service.

The initiative rolled out June 25th, and is subject to ticket availability and, of course, available only at venues Live Nation owns. Other venues may still have existing exclusives with Ticketmaster, which maintains a contract with Live Nation through the end of the year.

"We want to reward music fans who purchase tickets through Live Nation Tickets … with a special perk – being able to enter our venues first with our complimentary Fast Lane ticketing program," LN Tickets President Nathan Hubbard said in a statement.

There’s not an obvious advantage for reserved seat ticket buyers, unless they like to arrive early at venues to get in line first for concessions. But the Fast Lane initiative will pay off for those with lawn and GA tickets at the sheds.

"With Fast Lane, general admission and lawn ticket holders will be more likely to get the vantage point they want for experiencing their favorite artists in a very close and direct way, while fans with reserved seats will get the convenience of not having to line up before the show."

Live Nation raised eyebrows in New York City when the Village Voice reprinted an e-mail blast from LN’s local office announcing an identical program it called "Skip The Line," that went into effect a week before the national initiative was unveiled.

Venues participating in "Skip The Line" are Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza, Blender Theater at Gramercy, Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballrom and the Roseland Ballroom – all Live Nation venues.

In an apparent poke at Ticketmaster, the purported e-mail emphasized that "customers purchasing tickets … will be afforded the privilege of entering shows prior to those holding tickets purchased [from] other ticketing services."

A source close to the situation said that it was doubtful such an arrangement would wash in a third party venue that had an agreement with Ticketmaster.

A Ticketmaster spokesperson declined to comment.