Is GrouponLive Good for Consumers?

Live Nation Entertainment and Groupon have partnered to form GrouponLive, an online ticketing deals channel that will apply Groupon’s discounting approach to Live Nation events. GrouponLive is scheduled for launch “in time for the summer concert season,” according to a statement released by Live Nation Entertainment in late May. The announcement comes a little over a year after Live Nation completed its merger with Ticketmaster Entertainment to form Live Nation Entertainment, solidifying Live Nation’s control over live event ticketing at thousands of venues worldwide.

The launch of GrouponLive is part of Live Nation’s ongoing effort to boost floundering ticket sales, particularly after last year’s disappointing concert season in which Live Nation Entertainment saw a significant decline in profits. In a 2010 address to investors, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino acknowledged that a reduction in ticket prices was essential to revitalizing the struggling concert industry, while ticketing CEO Nathan Hubbard confirmed Ticketmaster’s commitment to phasing out services fees for customers who print their tickets at home. Previous efforts by Live Nation to offer fans reduced ticket prices have taken a blanket approach with multi-show ticket packages and promotions like 2010’s No Service Fee June.

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Both Live Nation and Groupon executives expressed enthusiasm for the partnership, viewing the venture as a win-win situation for both parties. For Live Nation, GrouponLive provides an opportunity to fill seats that might otherwise have gone unsold without resorting to slashing ticket prices across the board. Groupon, which typically offers its subscribers discounts to local services, restaurants and retailers, will expand its platform to include concerts, sporting events and other live entertainment at major venues throughout North America. Stated Andrew Mason, Groupon’s founder and CEO, “With unprecedented access to Live Nation’s expansive roster of performers and events, GrouponLive will be the destination for exclusive live event deals.”

GrouponLive will appeal to fans eager to see their favorite performers but frustrated by high ticket prices and service fees. The venture will follow Groupon’s popular formula of offering subscribers limited-time, region-specific discounts on tickets to Live Nation events. Discounted ticket prices will be made available to subscribers via email as tour dates and entertainment schedules are announced.

Financial arrangements of the partnership were not disclosed, but GrouponLive’s ability to offer discounted tickets will presumably depend on an event’s projected ticket sales. Statements by Live Nation indicate that GrouponLive offers will apply to North American venues only at this time. Like Groupon, GrouponLive is a free service.

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