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Music Business' Next Big Fee: Premium Aisle Seats

Get ready to be charged like you are booking plane tickets.
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The music business is at it again. The music business has taken to replicating one of the least popular industries in the world – airlines – for a new tactic to make money. Now customers going to shows will be hit with the possibility of extra fees – as if the ticket fees weren’t already criminal. Now some Live Nation concerts are charging extra for aisle seats.

According to Billboard, Live Nation has started to charge $5 to $30 for aisle seats at select shows. The aisle seats are dubbed “premium aisle seats,” which are the seat at the end of the row and potentially up to three seats in. They are charging extra so fans can “enjoy the convenience of easy access to refreshments, restrooms and venue exits.” Sweet.

This was apparently the idea of Live Nation senior vp touring Brad Wavra to help get artists more money. To add premium aisle seats, the promoter and the artist must approve the fee.

A few examples are given in the article that we verified. One was for Sara Bareilles' upcoming show at Hollywood Bowl on November 2. Many of the aisle seats are sold out, so this must be popular, but there are still some that are available.

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"Lots of artists are doing it -- people will pay more for them. You look at the seat map and the aisle seats are all sold," says Paradigm agent Larry Webman to Billboard, who helped book Sara Bareilles' latest tour. "Live Nation pitched that it works, and in Sara's case we rolled the dice with them and it seems to be coming to fruition."

The Game Of Thrones Music Experience tour with show composer Ramin Djawadi also has these fees, to bilk customers out of every penny they have over the show. Game Of Thrones is charging $10-20 per aisle seat fee and tagging those to four seats in from the aisle, which could eventually gross GOT over one million dollars in extra revenue if all seats are sold.

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"It's such a no-brainer it's amazing it hasn't been thought of before," says Artist Group International chairman Dennis Arfa. "Many of our shows, whether it's Billy Joel or Rod Stewart, we've noticed that the aisle seats are a contribution to the face-lift of the tickets. On an arena or stadium act, it could easily be six figures a night. If you're a theater act and it's 20 grand a night, that's a big number."

We will see how widespread this becomes and is soon adopted as an industry standard or just something at Live Nation and Ticketmaster. Either way, get ready to pay more for certain seats. 

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