TM Crosses Black Cat

The Black Cat in Washington, D.C., is leaving the Ticketmaster fold to go with Ticket Alternative effective Sept. 25, in part because of club owner Dante Ferrando’s concerns about the company’s pending merger with Live Nation.

Ferrando, who told Pollstar he prefers to keep ticket prices at the $12 to $15 range, also cited the economics of Ticketmaster fees, particularly the “print at home” add-on, as factors in looking elsewhere.

The economics driving a vendor change in itself wouldn’t raise eyebrows. But citing the Live Nation / Ticketmaster merger as a cause to drop TM has.

“The Live Nation merger just really makes it impossible to consider continuing with Ticketmaster,” Ferrando said. “I think the merger is a little bit nuts and I don’t understand why they’re doing it.

“I can’t imagine anybody who competes with Live Nation not switching. Nobody in any business hands their competition a percentage of all their income. It doesn’t make sense,” he continued. “Between losing all your information and a percentage of all your shows to your competition, I can’t imagine that everybody isn’t going to switch that doesn’t already work with Live Nation.”

But the bottom line, for Ferrando, was that it made financial sense to make the move now. He’d considered it six years ago.

“It might have made economic sense to switch but there were certain things that Ticketmaster offered that were important, that the other guys didn’t have, like the outlets. Now that’s not as important,” Ferrando said. “Now, nearly 95 percent of the people who buy tickets to one of my shows buys online. And I found that virtually no other ticket companies charged for the print-at-home option.

“It’s absurd anyway. We looked at a lot of ticketing companies before we decided to go with Ticket Alternative. Given the economics, it made sense to quit.”