Pearl Jam Issues a Stern Warning to Ticket Scalpers

Ticketmaster has issued a stern warning to anyone who’s considering scalping tickets for Pearl Jam’s upcoming Gigaton Tour. 

Those attempting to purchase Pearl Jam tickets through Ticketmaster will be greeted with a message indicating that Gigaton Tour tickets are “mobile only” and “non-transferable.” To be seated together, fans must buy their tickets simultaneously, through a single mobile device; the primary purchaser must then check in alongside his or her guests.  Ticketmaster has been designated as the sole seller — and reseller — of Pearl Jam tickets.

Also, according to the Ticketmaster message, any fan who buys a ticket but is unable to attend will be able to sell only the “Fan-to-Fan Face Value Ticket Exchange,” which is slated to go live on Tuesday, February 15th. 

Despite the warning and the seemingly airtight scalping-prevention measures, a number of secondhand Pearl Jam tickets are currently listed for sale on third-party ticket marketplaces. 

Short of coordinating a transaction on the Fan-to-Fan Exchange and arranging for an additional payment after the fact, it’s unclear how resellers could possibly deliver the advertised tickets to buyers—making fraud a serious concern. 

Pearl Jam formerly clashed with Ticketmaster over what they considered to be unfair and monopolistic business practices. Pearl Jam went as far as booking tour stops exclusively in non-Ticketmaster venues and testifying against the company in court. 

Evidently, Ticketmaster’s current policy of giving artists a say in how their tickets are sold—by discouraging scalping, for instance—has made a positive impression on the Seattle band. All of their Gigaton Tour concerts will be held at Ticketmaster/Live Nation venues. 

The 30-show Gigaton Tour (the album of the same name is set to drop on March 27th) will begin in Canada on March 18th. 10 U.S. shows will follow, and the tour’s final leg will take place in Europe between June and July. 

Vanessa Bryant Will Receive Tribute Items Left Outside Of Staples Center

Since the death Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, thousands fans have made their way to Los Angeles’ Staples Center to pay their respects to the late legend by contributing countless items to honor their memories along with the seven other victims the helicopter crash that took their lives on January 26th.

Now as the Staples Center looks for a sustainable way to manage the items, according to Lee Zeidman, Vanessa Bryant has requested that all the items that fans have left outside Staples Center be given to her and her family.

Vanessa Bryant Will Receive Tribute Items Left Outside Of Staples Center

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“It will have been a week. We have contractually obligated events that are moving in,” Zeidman tells the L.A. Times. “Vanessa had reached out to us and said, ‘Our family would like the items out there.’ So we’re going to catalog every one them. By that I mean, T-shirts, letters, basketballs, stuffed animals, toys. We’re going to put those in specially made containers and we’re going to ship them to the family.”

As for the perishable items, Zeidman plans to follow the lead the ficials the Manchester Arena. After the 2017 terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert, the organization took all flowers and similar items, composted them, and spread them around the city.

“So we’re going to compost all those flowers out there and spread them around the plants in and around L.A. Live and in and around Staples Center,” Zeidman added. “So that means that all those fans that took the time to buy the flowers and plants and brought them down there, some that will still be around the site.

Live Nation Ordered To Pay $101 Million to Severely Injured Man

Compounding the it faces, Live Nation has to pay a New York man $101 million because of a fall at a concert that left him with a fractured skull.

A jury in a Manhattan Supreme court decided to award the payment to Mark Perez. In June of 2013, Perez fell ten feet from the Best Buy Booth in the Jones Beach Marine Theatre, which is located in Wantagh on Long Island. He has since underwent four separate brain surgeries. In addition to a deformed head, he also has memory loss and needs full-time care.

His lawsuit further alleged that the accident directly led to him losing his longtime girlfriend.

Perez fell after a forklift crashed into the booth while he was sitting inside it. At the time, doctors gave him only a 10% chance of surviving.

That same year, Perez filed the suit against Live Nation, which had been promoting the event.

He sought damages for pain and suffering — both in the past and in the future — as well as for medical expenses and for lost earnings.

In response to the suit, Live Nation allegedly offered Perez a $31 million settlement. But his lawyer Benedict Morelli says that, because the offer was made only one week prior to the trial, Perez decided to decline it.

This particular trial was just to determine what damages were to be paid to Perez. In 2016, a judge determined that Live Nation was liable for the man’s injuries.

Morelli says of the latest trial, “There was a lot to it and the defendant’s experts and lawyers never really took responsibility. They tried to diminish his cognitive deficiencies, almost blaming him, to get a discount.”

Perez himself issued a statement, in which he paid homage to the “dedicated jury that did justice to me and my family.”

So far, neither Live Nation nor its lawyers have commented on the verdict.

George Zimmerman Sues Trayvon Martin’s Family & Prosecutors For $100 Million

Despite being acquitted all charges in connection with his murder Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman is seeking compensation for defamation and malicious prosecution. Zimmernan, the Florida neighborhood watchman who shot and killed 17-year-old Martin in 2012, is suing Martin’s family, prosecutors, a publishing company and a law enforcement agency for allegedly constructing a false narrative about him. Zimmerman is being represented by Larry Klayman, who founded the right-wing activist group Judicial Watch in 1994. 

Zimmerman walked free after claiming self-defense when killing Martin, who was unarmed and walking home from a convenience store at the time. Zimmerman’s lawsuit is claiming that several parties “have worked in concert to deprive Zimmerman his constitutional and other related legal rights.” These same allegations are espoused in Joel Gilbert’s book and film titled The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America. A screening the film was planned to coincide with the announcement the lawsuit, but the Coral Gables Art Cinema pulled out after receiving complaints and learning the nature the film. 

George Zimmerman Sues Trayvon Martin's Family & Prosecutors For $100 MillionJoe Burbank-Pool/Getty s

Zimmerman is suing the publishing company Harper Collins, which published Open Season: Legalized Genocide Colored People in October. The book written by Ben Crump, the attorney who represented Martin’s family, is being accused by Zimmerman spreading false information about Martin’s murder. 

“The plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, revictimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions,” Crump, who is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, wrote in a statement. “He would have us believe that he is the innocent victim a deep conspiracy, despite the complete lack any credible evidence to support his outlandish claims.”

Antonio Browns Drops Gems While Motivating High School Team: Watch

Antonio Brown has been having a tough last few months as many the stories surrounding him have been negative, to say the least. With the NFL season winding down, Brown has made a concerted effort to change his image and provide fans with some more positive looks at his character. For instance, Brown has been working hard at being a father to his kids and has been surprising young football players at their practices and games. 

In AB’s latest video titled “Antonio Brown motivation,” the wide receiver heads to a local high school game where he speaks to the players on the losing team. Many the young men were crying and Brown did his best to console them and encourage them to do better. They seemed quite at ease with Brown talking to them, which is certainly a great sight to see.

Brown also told the young men to keep their heads up because their tears are a symbol how much the sport means to them. As he explains, if it means something to you, it means you’re willing to work harder, which will only help this team moving forward. Brown even had us wanting to go out and work harder which is a testament to his leadership skills.

With clips like this, Brown is certainly making a great case for himself to be back in the league sooner than later.

Donald Trump Met With Boos From Fans At Game 5 Of World Series

On Friday, it was announced that President Donald Trump would not be participating in any ceremonial activities during the World Series “in order to make the fan experience as positive as possible,” per MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

That, course, didn’t mean that he would not be making an appearance at the games. Well, it seems that even that decision was out the question for the sold-out crowd fans gathered at Game 5 the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals.

Donald Trump Met With Boos From Fans At Game 5 Of World Series

Gef Burke – Pool/Getty s

The president, who was in attendance with his wife Melania and other Republican lawmakers such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, sat in the Washington Suite after arriving at Nationals Park after the game’s first inning. 

As is the routine the Washington Nationals, a salute to veterans took place after the third inning with the crowd cheering for the veterans who appeared on the jumbotron before them. The tune quickly changed, however when Trump and his party were displayed on the screen as fans erupted in a concerted boo the commander-in-chief.

Chants “lock him up” were also heard in pockets the crowd as well shortly after the next inning got underway.

T-Pain Explains the Real Reason Why Artists Cancel Their Tours

T-Pain is refusing to lie about the reasons behind his recent tour cancellation.

Rapper T-Pain is being more than forthcoming on why he’s canceling next month’s 1UP DLC Tour: The reason for the cancellation, according to T-Pain, is simple: poor ticket sales.

T-Pain, whose real name is Faheem Rasheed Najm and who was the winner of the opening season of “Masked Singer,” insisted in an Instagram post that poor ticket sales are always the reason why artists cancel or postpone a concert tour.  Unlike him, he says that “Most artists lie.”

He went on to say that this is not only wrong but “fucked up.”

He further indicated that some of his people advised him to lie about the reason for his tour’s cancellation. They told him to say that he “needed some time, alone or with his family.”  They told him to tell his fans anything but the truth, which was that they “fucked up.”

But this is exactly what T-Pain did tell his fans: “We fucked up.” He also promised that he is “going to keep it real with y’all.”

Part of the problem with the 1UP DLC Tour, according to T-pain, was that his team did not make tickets for the tour available until September, even though it was to start in November.

He says that “some corners got cut,” and that he was not as “hands-on” as he should have been with the tour because of his busy schedule.  He may have also been a little complacent, too, considering that his previous tour “sold out every city.”

When he finally realized that tickets were not selling, T-Pain decided himself to cancel the tour, because he felt that it would have looked bad if he were performing in near-empty venues. It simply wouldn’t have been entertaining to his fans.

U.S. Department of Justice Urged by Senators to Investigate Live Nation, Ticketmaster

Two Democratic U.S. Senators are asking the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust division to investigate online ticket markets, which they insist “are not working for American consumers.”

The two specifically targeted Live Nation and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ticketmaster.

Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, who runs the DOJ’s antitrust division, asking him to not only investigate anti-competitive practices in online ticketing but to also potentially extend the consent decree that allowed Live Nation to merge with Ticketmaster pending completion of a probationary period.

The merger occurred in 2010, and under the consent decree Live Nation, which is a major concert promoter, cannot refrain from doing with business with those who do not contract ticketing services from Ticketmaster. Nor can Live Nation retaliate against those who sign with Ticketmaster competitors.

The consent decree is set to expire in July of 2020.

The two senators further criticized the effectiveness of the consent decree.  In their letter to the DOJ, they insinuated that Live Nation had “flouted its conditions.” They also said that the deal had left the company’s “dominance virtually unchallenged.”

While the DOJ has never accused Live Nation of any type of wrongdoing in regards to the consent decree, they have reportedly investigated the company in response to a number of complaints that have been made by the company’s competitors.

Unless the DOJ formally charges Live Nation with being in violation of the consent decree, it’s unclear if the decree will be extended.

It’s also unclear at the moment how much weight the letter from the senators will have, as the two are not exactly beloved by the Trump Administration. But many have applauded their efforts. This includes Ticketmaster competitor StubHub as well as NetChoice, which is a trade association that promotes free enterprise on the Internet.

So far, Live Nation has refused to issue a comment in response to the letter.

Dutch Regulators Force Ticketmaster to Refund Fees on Canceled Events

Ticketmaster Netherlands has announced that it has adopted a new policy that will provide refunds on ticket service fees to events that were postponed or canceled.

They are the first ticket agency in the country to adopt such a policy, and they did so after both a Dutch consumer affairs association and a government regulatory agency requested them and others to modify the policy.

When fans in The Netherlands — and most other countries — buy a ticket to an event such as a concert, ticketing agencies like Ticketmaster add a bevy of surcharges.  These fees range anywhere from 2-10 euros and are mostly tolerated by consumers.  But until now, they were nonrefundable regardless of whether the event happened or not.

Last month, the Dutch Consumers Association, which is also known as the Consumentenbond, demanded that ticket agencies change their service fee policy. They indicated that there was no good legal reason not to refund the service fee along with the price of the actual ticket when a scheduled event fails to take place.

The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), which is a government organization that protects consumer rights, agreed with Consumentenbond.

At the moment, the Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster is the largest ticket agency in the country. But Eventim, which is the second-largest agency, is said believed to be quickly narrowing the gap.  While Eventim has yet to change its service fee policy, the ACM is asking that it and other ticket agencies in the country follow the policy as well.

The price of seeing concerts in the Netherlands has been getting higher, irrespective of service fees. Not only did the price of concert tickets rise 3% this past year, but value-added taxes (VAT) on concert tickets rose as well, from 6% to 9%.

Ice Cube Reflects On The Days John Singleton Stalked Him Until He Agreed To Act

Ice Cube began his career as a rapper from Crenshaw who’s well known for his come up in N.W.A. alongside Dr. Dre and Eazy E. Ice’s career catapulted into even more success when he starred in John Singleton’s 1991 film Boyz n the Hood, a job he didn’t ever see himself doing but was brought to life thanks to John’s persistent ways. On a recent visit to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Ice detailed further on how he secured his first role.

Ice Cube Reflects On The Days John Singleton Stalked Him Until He Agreed To Act
Stephen Shugerman/Getty s

“I never even thought about it at first,” Ice said about acting. “John Singleton, rest in peace, he discovered me for real. He was an intern at the Arsenio Hall show and he came up to me, I was backstage, and said ‘you Ice Cube…Imma put you in a movie.” Ice didn’t take John too seriously since he was just a junior at University. A year later John and Ice ran into each other at a Public Enemy concert when the famed director was then a senior – still wanting to put Ice in a movie. 

Another year later, Ice’s manager hit him up about a movie opportunity but he was still hesitant since he wasn’t an actor. The “Friday” rapper attended the audition anyway and across from his was John. “He’s like ‘I told you!'”

Watch the full story below.

It's Happening: Khalid Reveals Details of El Paso Benefit Concert

Khalid that he’d like to hold a benefit concert in El Paso.  Now that the logistics and details are ironed out, the show has been made official.

On September 1st, Khalid will be part of A Night for Suncity, which will feature performances both from him and from supporting artists (the supporting artists will be revealed in the near future).

The concert will take place in the Don Haskins Center, and revenue from ticket and merchandise sales will be donated to the El Paso Shooting Victims’ Fund and the El Paso Community Foundation. The event is being sponsored by The Great Khalid Foundation and The Right Hand Foundation.

Tickets will be available to preorder on August 14th.

Though Khalid was born in Georgia, he spent his junior and senior years of high school in El Paso, and he considers the western-Texas city to be his hometown.

Though Khalid’s willingness to hold a charity concert is impressive in its own right, it’s made that much more special when his busy schedule is considered.

Khalid’s Free Spirit World Tour kicked off in May.  Khalid’s calendar is booked through December, during which time he’ll stop all over North America, Europe, and Oceania.  Even so, he’s found time to help others.

The Right Hand Foundation provides multiple forms of community support, with an emphasis on aiding single mothers.  The Great Khalid Foundation also provides community support, albeit with an emphasis on giving children the resources and tools they need to reach their full potential in adulthood.

At just 21 years of age, Khalid is already making a positive difference in many lives, and it’ll be interesting to see all the good that he’s able to do in the coming decades.

Ticketing Marketplace TickPick Raises a Whopping $40 Million

No-fee ticketing company TickPick was founded back in 2011, but received no institutional funding — until now.

Guess it’s never too late to attract insane funding levels and become a unicorn.  After eight years tinkering with its model, ticketing company TickPick has snagged a $40 million investment from PWP Growth Equity.

TickPick was originally created as a marketplace where users could bid for tickets, but that model became viewed as outdated.  These days, TickPick focuses on being a marketplace free of hidden fees, where users know what they’re paying upfront.

That’s not to say that TickPick doesn’t profit from fees; instead, the TickPick price reflects the various fees before you hit checkout. It’s a way to combat the unpleasant surprise of tacked-on fees that may double the cost of a ticket.

The result is a transparency play designed to attract consumers based on better behavior.  That will earn the company good ticketing karma, but it’s unclear if that will be enough to take on bigger players like Ticketmaster and Stubhub.

Founders Brett Goldberg and Chris O’Brien admit the model has its challenges.  For starters, most concertgoers are conditioned to believe there will be hidden fees in the checkout process.  That makes it difficult to compete on price. In a sign of the ticket-buying times, most buyers are padding ticket prices in their heads before clicking ‘buy’.

TickPick initially focused on selling tickets directly for major festivals. and Riot fest were two early partners, and other major partners include Florida International, Georgia State, and Santa Clara universities.

TickPick’s says it’s on track to handle $200 million in transactions for 2019, which is up 60% from last year.

It’s unusual for a startup founded nearly eight years ago to pursue institutional funding, especially at these lofty valuations. TickPick’s founders say they weren’t willing to sell a significant stake in its business given their core focus on profitability.

Out of the gate, TickPick will use the new funds to hire a Chief Financial Officer and a Chief Marketing Officer.  TickPick also hopes to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to help improve its customer experience.

In Heated 'Leaving Neverland' Case, a California Judge Asks Whether Forced Arbitration Would Violate HBO's First Amendment Rights

Does sending a questionable documentary back to arbitration violate freedom of speech?

That’s the question a California federal judge has in mind.

Earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu asked HBO and the Michael Jackson Estate to file a briefing.  Both parties must explain whether sending Leaving Neverland to arbitration would violate HBO’s first amendment rights.

In February, filed a costly $100 million lawsuit against the beleaguered network.  HBO allegedly violated a non-disparagement agreement first reached in 1992.  The late singer’s family claims the network signed the deal prior to airing Michael Jackson in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour.

HBO, however, soon scored a major victory.  A federal judge rejected a motion by Jackson’s Estate to transfer the case back to an arbitrator.  Both sides fought to determine where the case would ultimately be decided.  The late singer’s estate doesn’t want the litigation carried out in open court.  The network has long argued the 1992 non-disparagement agreement never existed.  This facilitates the need for a federal court to intervene.

Judge Wu’s latest move signals his intent to side with the Michael Jackson Estate and send the case back to arbitration.

On the network’s part, HBO’s legal team wants Judge Wu to declare the possible arbitration ruling “unenforceable.”  This wouldn’t only violate its First Amendment rights, argues the network.  The ruling would also violate due process and California public policy.  If denied, HBO argues this would open the floodgates to a slew of posthumous defamation claims.

According to Jackson’s estate, arbitration doesn’t violate the network’s freedom of speech.  Should Judge Wu rule against HBO, this wouldn’t count as the government interfering with the network’s First Amendment rights.

Telling both sides the issue will be further discussed in court, Judge Wu wrote,

While the Court agrees that attempting to enforce an arbitration agreement in a contract that includes a non-disparagement clause through the filing of a lawsuit does not initially suggest the presence of state action, the initiation of the litigation itself can trigger First Amendment concerns.

It cannot be doubted that Plaintiffs’ arbitration action is seeking to recover damages based upon Defendants’ broadcasting a documentary.

A trial to deal with the First Amendment issues will take place on September 16th.

 


 

Ariana Grande Explains St. Louis Breakdown: "I’m Still Processing A Lot"

Ariana Grande has without a doubt been through a lot over the last few years. From the very tragic Manchester bombing to the death her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and the sudden ending her engagement to Pete Davidson, the “No Tears Left To Cry” singer seemingly still has tears left to cry. Ariana was performing in St. Louis this past Saturday as part her Sweetener World Tour and began to break down as she sang “R.E.M.”

The 26-year-old singer has since shared a statement on Twitter, detailing just where she is mentally. “Tour is wild. Life is wild,” she began her statement, further expressing how thankful she is to sing to her fans every night, among other things. 

Ariana Grande Explains St. Louis Breakdown: "I'm Still Processing A Lot"
Mike Coppola/Getty s 

“I feel everything very intensely and have committed to doing this tour during a time in my life when i’m still processing a lot … so sometimes i cry a lot!” she added. “I thank you for accepting my humanness. i’m not sure what i did to deserve to meet so many loving souls every night / to feel so much love, but i want you to know that it really does carry me through. i feel it and appreciate it. and all you show much.”

Wu-Tang Clan Is First Hip-Hop Act To Headline Legendary Country Music Venue

Sunday night, the Wu-Tang Clan made history as the first hip-hop act to ever headline Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.

The venue is originally known as the Grand Ole Opry, dubbed the Mother Church Country Music and in its over a century-long history, it has never had a hip-hop act top it bill. 

“It’s just not intuitive to have necessarily a hip-hop show at the Ryman,” Nashville concert promoter and Belmont University pressor Eric Holt told NPR the venue’s history with the hip-hop genre prior to Wu-Tang’s show. “It’s going to be interesting. I mean, the energy, I think is going to be different.”

 

The venue’s former general manager, Pam Matthews went on to tell NPR that it was not for lack trying as she previously reached out to the likes 50 Cent and Insane Clown Posse to headline Ryman. 

Wu-Tang Clan Is First Hip-Hop Act To Headline Legendary Country Music Venue

Steven Ferdman/Getty s

Matthews adds that the venue’s set up, a 2300-person capacity theater with bolted down pews, could be a part hip-hop’s shying away from Ryman in the past, citing acts wanting their fans to be able to move around.

“You know, the Ryman has had to grow up too, and had to grow up into what the city is,” adds Shannon Sanders, a Grammy-winning musician and record producer in Nashville. “You know, the Wu-Tang is ready for the Ryman, but also the Ryman is ready for the Wu-Tang.”