Groupon, Live Nation partner for concert ticket discounts

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Chicago-based daily deal service Groupon announced a partnership today with Live Nation Entertainment to create a new site, GrouponLive, offering bundled discounts on concert tickets.

GrouponLive will be hawking tickets for Live Nation concerts, plus other entertainment events ticketed through the now Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster. The new site, according to the press release, is expected to be operational “in time for the summer concert season.”

No details yet about how the specifics will work — how many shows will be offered (just the ones that are tanking?), how deep the discounts, whether service fees will be hidden or whether the service would be (hopefully) connected to Groupon Now, Groupon’s mobile app expected to launch any time now.

Live Nation chief Michael Rapino says in the press release: “By adding this channel to our ticketing platform, we will also provide our venue partners with another option for driving ticket sales across a wide range of events. Our success is based on selling tickets and filling seats and GrouponLive gives us another platform to achieve this.”

However mercenary Live Nation’s rep, they are at least creative with their ideas to stanch the flow of dollars out of the concert industry. From last summer’s No Service Fee June to the deep discounting they did on their own the year before, Live Nation throws ideas against the wall to fill those dusty seats. Their whiffs of desperation at least present a way for fans to sniff out some occasional deals.

How much have fans benefited from this? Not tons, but a little. GrouponLive deals could be the deciding factor for waffling fans. Who, for instance, would want to pay $65 for a good seat and get stuck in Tinley Park traffic jams this summer to see Def Leppard? But maybe the discount would cover the cost of gas for that one fair-weather f-f-f-fan. If it catches on, fans would at least have a slim chance at seizing a depreciated ticket instead of being solely at the mercy of scalpers’ steep mark-ups.

Groupon, which mostly offers deals on shopping and restaurants, has offered some concert deals on its own before, including last year’s Bon Jovi show at Chicago’s Soldier Field (offering a 300-level seat costing $66.50 for less than half, $30 — and that was a deal made with AEG, Live Nation’s national competitor).

Financial terms of the new partnership were not disclosed.

As of March, Groupon had 70 million subscribers worldwide (about 31 million in North America). Live Nation produces about 20,000 events a year and sold 120 million tickets in 2010.

The press release also thanks Madonna’s manager, Guy Oseary, for being “instrumental in helping develop the partnership.”

UPDATE 5/12: Live Nation spokesman Ray Yeung clarified some details about this new partnership in a quick Q&A yesterday …

Q. How will Live Nation or Groupon be selecting the concerts for discount offers? (Will all shows get them, a certain amount, or is this only a way to buoy struggling shows?)

A. There will be no set prices and deals will vary and will be up to the artist and venue. This will be a collaborative effort and Live Nation and Groupon will begin testing various offers this summer.

Q. Ticketmaster gets grief about service fees. What are the fees involved here, if any?

A. There will be no additional fees added to ticket purchases on Groupon

Q. Any specific idea when GrouponLive will go live?

A. The website is already live. Fans can sign up now for local notifications at to get daily offers, or visit the site to browse current deals.

Julie Mossler at Groupon added that there are no plans yet to link the concert deals to the company’s new mobile app, Groupon Now, which has already “soft launched” in Chicago.

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