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Blockbuster to sell Live Nation concert tickets

Maria Halkias
The Dallas Morning News (MCT)

Blockbuster to sell Live Nation concert tickets

In its quest to become an all-purpose entertainment store, Blockbuster Inc. will sell concert tickets and related merchandise next year as the exclusive retailer for Live Nation Inc., the world's largest concert producer. The three-year agreement begins in January at 500 Blockbuster stores that are in cities with Live Nation venues. The Beverly Hills, Calif.-based company produces more than 16,000 concerts a year for 1,500 artists worldwide. Currently, Live Nation concert tickets are sold through Ticketmaster outlets. Starting in January, Live Nation tickets will be available only through its Web site, venue box offices and Blockbuster stores. Dallas-based Blockbuster expects the new service to drive hundreds of thousands of customers to its stores, where it will also sell concert-related merchandise such as T-shirts and DVDs and CDs of live performances. The deal with Live Nation diversifies Blockbuster's mix of products and services as it tries to remain relevant to consumers, said Jim Keyes, Blockbuster's chairman and chief executive. The fees charged by Blockbuster to consumers picking up tickets at its stores have not been disclosed, but they will be nominal and will vary by artist, a spokesman said. Live Nation wanted to concentrate its retail presence under one brand, said Nathan Hubbard, chief executive of Live Nation's ticketing division. The company approached Blockbuster after it surveyed concertgoers about places they would prefer to buy tickets, he said. Live Nation is the latest company that Blockbuster has partnered with to advance its entertainment focus beyond DVD rentals. Last week, Blockbuster unveiled a digital media player from 2Wire Inc. that brings on-demand movies to customers on their televisions. It has partnered with Sony to promote Blu-ray viewing on PlayStation 3. It's teaming with Microsoft Corp. on mobile services that will let customers watch more movies on even more devices. And it's working with NCR Corp. on vending and digital kiosks. Live Nation informed Ticketmaster more than a year ago that it was developing its own retail plans, said Albert Lopez, a Ticketmaster spokesman. In 2007, Live Nation ticket sales represented about 14 percent of Ticketmaster sales, but since then the company has expanded its business and the Live Nation share is smaller, he said.

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