First Avenue abandons Ticketmaster in favor of eTix
"Frankly a lot of people like us that are indie promoters, indie clubs, aren't real comfortable with the Ticketmaster/Live Nation situation," explains First Avenue's general manager Nate Kranz. "We've been with Ticketmaster since I think 1993, and for a long time they seemed like the natural option. But we saw that our contract was coming up on March 31, and we decided to review all of our options and meet with some other companies."
Kranz says they chose eTix not only because its behind-the-scenes operations are more convenient ("their process is a lot more streamlined, it's a much more modern platform than Ticketmaster," he says), but because the new ticket seller will save First Ave customers a significant amount of money in fees.
"So many of our customers are buying online at this point," he says. "There's still going to be fees, it's not a free system or anything like that, but it is going to be, depending on the ticket, 20-40% per ticket lower than what they were with Ticketmaster."
The move away from Ticketmaster has become quite the trend in the Twin Cities. "You can see it in Minneapolis right now," Kranz says, pointing out that the Varsity Theater and Triple Rock are using TicketFly, while the Cabooze uses TicketFusion.
"At the club level at least, a lot of people are already on these alternative sites," he says.
The user experience will stay pretty much the same overall: Tickets for First Avenue shows will be available on their website, over the phone, and will continue to be sold at local record shops (list of participating stores), the First Avenue box office, and at their neighboring restaurant, the Depot Tavern.