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Van Halen Accused of Ticketmaster Scalping Scheme

from www.spinner.com – Van Halen allegedly worked with scalpers during its fall 2007 tour in order to pull down an extra $1 million, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal. The financial paper says the band was involved in farming out of up to 500 of the best seats from about 20 of its concerts with original frontman David Lee Roth to secondary ticket brokers.

In a move that was part of a Ticketmaster initiative named “Project Showtime,” the desirable tickets were pulled from the company’s system and passed directly to private sellers. These secondary ticketing firms reportedly kept 30 percent of the inflated sale price for themselves and pushed the remaining 70 percent back to Ticketmaster, the band and its handlers.

According to reporter Ethan Smith, the move by Ticketmaster was in effort designed to capture a piece of the sky-high prices charged by scalpers, which can exceed a ticket’s face value by hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.

Van Halen’s manager Irving Azoff — who was the CEO of Front Line Management, which Ticketmaster then co-owned, and who now serves as Ticketmaster’s chief executive — is said to have spearheaded the scheme. “Project Showtime” fell apart because of distrust between participants, but not before the secondary ticket brokers were given tickets to scalp for Van Halen with Azoff’s blessing.

Azoff has since condemned ticket scalping in the press and distanced himself in the practice after the subsequent merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation, which occurred earlier this year.

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