Posts Tagged ‘Aspen’


April 8, 2013

Watching last night’s ACM Awards reminded me of a conversation a group of us were having at February’s Pollstar Live Conference.  Everyone was asking what panel to go to.  I said I was headed to the Country Music panel and a member of our group blurted out, “why, to hear Brian O’Connell tell us all how great he is”.  At the same time, myself and a very prominent agent from Nashville said, “He is great”.

Ok so he dresses and travels (a tour bus with more large screen TV’s than your local Best Buy) like a rock star.  If you helped develop the number of superstars he has, you could to.  Let’s name a few…Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Brooks & Dunn, Tim McGraw, and many more.

Brian created Live Nation’s “Mega-Ticket” which gives country music fans the chance to purchase tickets to all country shows playing their local amphitheatre at a significant discount.  It works great.  Most recently, he has launched The Faster Horses Festival which Brian described to Ray Waddell of Billboard as a “three-day hillbilly sleepover”.  The event takes place July 19-21 in Brooklyn, Michigan and you can find out more at

So you want to be in the country music business, you better know Brian…and Louis Messina @ AEG too, but that’s for another newsletter.


The Aspen Live Conference, 2013 (December 12-15 @ The St. Regis, Aspen) will be going on-sale this Wednesday, April 10th at Noon Eastern / 9am Pacific  Last year’s highlights included talks by festival streaming guru and CEO of Springboard Productions, Hank Neuberger, Andrew Dreskin, CEO of Ticketfly, John Boyle from EDM giant, Insomniac, and Q&A’s with The Lefsetz Letter’s Bob Lefsetz interviewing Live Nation CEO, Michael Rapino while Square Peg Concerts’ Dan Steinberg took us Inside the Agent’s Studio with The Agency Group, NA’s President, Steve Martin.

This year’s line-up is shaping up nicely.  Due to demand, we are capping this year’s attendance at 200.  You can find out more by following us on Twitter: @aspenlive Hashtag #aspenlive, Facebook:, and Instagram: #aspenlive.  To register Wednesday, go to  The site also has information on special hotel rates, ski/snowboard rentals, activities and more.

Don’t miss out, space is limited and prices go up the longer you wait.






August 1, 2012

The Aspen Live Conference 2012 goes on-sale today at 12pm (Noon) Pacific.  Thanks to Ticketfly, and Bill Young Productions…with help from Access Pass and Design, you can save $100 by booking now.  It is only $150 to register through August 7th

Our schedule is still under construction but you will see from what’s listed on the site we already have a great program lined-up for you. 

There are two host hotels this year, The St. Regis Aspen and Limelight, both with incredible rates. 

Go to and register today.

See you in December!



November 6, 2011

The Steve Jobs book is having a big effect on my thinking lately.  There’s a quote from Jobs about halfway through that hits like a sledgehammer.  “In the end, you just don’t want someone else to control a big part of user experience.”  In Live Entertainment, that’s all we do…with a few exceptions.

The talent/artist/act/athlete/producer/director has their vision and from there, the watering down begins.  Costs play the biggest role in diluting the message.  The show needs a place to play (w/ venue ops people, box office, security, ticket takers, ushers, parking attendants, customer service, etc, all between the show and guest) , marketing, ticketing, production and design, crew, etc, which can all have negative impacts…yet can be cost prohibitive to carry.  Cirque du Soleil has their touring shows in tents and the others, installs/sit-downs (Vegas, NY, LA, etc) where they can transform and control the environment.

Disney is similar in wanting control of the experience.  With Broadway, the theme parks, cruise ships, adventures and vacations, guests are coddled from the first interaction. The exception would be Feld Entertainment’s Disney On Ice which is a license that has been in place for decades. 

So what do we do?  It needs to start with a hybrid model.  Let’s use Feld as an example. 

Tickets are sold, mostly through Ticketmaster rather than Disney or Feld’s own ticketing.  This is necessitated by the multiple venues the show plays under contract (although Feld does have their own promoter agreements with TM).  The same with ticket takers, security, ushers, box office, etc.  Yet Feld does promote the shows internally (w/ help from venue marketing), caries production, crew, performers…and their own merch and concession operations and sales people (to the dismay of venues around the world).

Take a look at your upcoming projects and find every touch point with guests that you can take control of.  Apple, along with Disney and Cirque believe in the end-to-end user experience.  You should too. 

Aspen Update – The 16th Annual Aspen Live Conference is filling up like it hasn’t in years.  At this point, The St. Regis, Aspen is completely sold-out.  There are still Grand Deluxe rooms available at the Limelight Hotel.  Please go to and register today.


October 18, 2011

Beginning next Monday, the LiveWorks Newsletter will start posting a weekly “Weekend Roundup”.  The idea is to promote your events (successes and lessons learned), on-sales, marketing tools, production tips, best practices, what’s trending, and any other news we can gather from Thursday through Sunday. 

Please send anything worth sharing to  We currently have over 1300 Live and Branded Live Entertainment subscribers (w/even more who read online) that you can reach…with more each week. 


There are currently only 5-rooms left in our block at the St. Regis for December’s Aspen Live Conference  Although we’ve been told we can add more rooms to our block, the hotel can only guarantee our conference rates through November 7th.  There are also 14-rooms still available in our block at the Limelight.  Should you need a room, please click on the link above for registration and room reservation information.

Don’t forget to email your news!



September 20, 2009

It is good to know that all of you are alive and well.  The last LiveWorks Newsletter on Live Nation’s new Passport got a lot of you writing… whether it by email or Facebook.  In that time, I’ve learned a lot.  First from our friends Debbie Speer at Pollstar and Jim Steen from Live Nation who informed me that I had it wrong on the number of venues in each market that are participating.  It is all Live Nation clubs (and some small theatres), not one per city.  Then came the rest…

Going back to the last LiveWorks Newsletter again, we talked about our conversations at the Aspen Live Conference (this year’s dates are Dec. 10-12 @ the St. Regis, Aspen…please call (310) 385-2800 and ask for Jim for more info) regarding “Season Passes” at clubs to help grow developing artists.  More specifically, the problems agents and managers might have with this concept.  Well, look no further than the Live Nation’s website for your answers. 

For instance, take LA where I live.  The Wiltern Theatre has 28-shows remaining this year according the calendar on their website.  Of those, Club Passports can only be used at three; Billy Squier, Enanitos Verdes, and Moby.  The House of Blues Sunset’s percentage is better.  According to their website, of the 25-shows (excluding Sunday Gospel Brunches) remaining on their schedule, the Club Passport is good for 9.  But before you get too gitty, the “new music” fans will be discovering include Better Than Ezra, Dinosaur Jr., The Sippy Cups (guessing this is either a kid’s group or a new fad from The Hills), and K.C. & The Sunshine Band.  Looks like not too many managers or agents bought into the concept of having the Club Passports competing against their artist’s hard tickets.  I’m not sure what’s going on in the real world, but many of you wrote screaming foul and pointing at Live Nation.  Is it really them?

I’m going to stay out on my limb and continue to say that no matter what, Live Nation’s Club Passport is good for our business.  If it does nothing but generates publicity for Live Nation, that’s still drawing attention to Live Entertainment and Branded Live Entertainment. It still gets a dialogue going about concerts.  How about a few more of you sign-on with Live Nation’s program and see where it gets you?  What are you doing to help after all? 

It is time to innovate…and I for one think we should start with our marketing!  Who is going to have the first TV or Radio spot that looks and sounds like those of “national brands”?  When are we going to see our industry take a serious look at communicating with consumers?  Not talking at them but with them.

Let’s get a movement going!  It can start at our next “Dinner Club”.  The summer is just about officially over now and it is time to get to work.  How about Wednesday, October 7th for our next Dinner Club meetings?  For those who have never been, it is time you came.  Put the date in your calendar and stay tuned for the times and locations in your city (some locations may choose a different date too) or area.  It isn’t so much about dinner as it is drinks and socializing.  Sharing ideas face-to-face.  You know, LIVE!!!

Till then…speak with you soon…



September 17, 2009

For those of you who read Lefsetz, you may remember a few years ago when he wrote about our discussions at the Aspen Live Conference regarding a Season’s Pass to rock clubs.  In fact, Don Strasburg from AEG in Denver actually tried the idea out with a limited number of passes at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO (Bob wrote about that too).  The passes sold-out as soon as Don’s team put them up on the club’s website.  In Aspen, the big questions were “what will the agents and managers say…and how do those tickets count towards the show gross.”  Those were the exact reasons why Don only sold a limited number of passes at the Fox.  He didn’t want to make things messy but wanted to try the experiment for us. 

So, now Live Nation is doing it in their smaller rooms.  $49.99 gets you into all shows to Live Nation clubs (it will be limited to one club in each market) from now through the end of the year (roughly 3-months).  This fee does not include parking according to what I’ve read on Pollstar Online.  Obviously, someone spoke with someone before pulling the trigger on this…but there is a lot of screaming going on right now.  Me, I think even if Live Nation did it for the most selfish reasons imaginable, it is good for our business…and great for Live Nation!

Here is my case.

  1. The program will hopefully fill the clubs which is good for the acts and LN
  2. LN said that when they went into the ticketing business they would share data with the artists…This could be a great way for artists to reach out to fans too
  3. Hopefully the price point turns someone onto live music that might not otherwise (for the price of going to the movies a few times, I can see 4 of my favorite bands)
  4. It is the fourth quarter…everyone could use a bump (no not that kind)
  5. The program is only 3-months…so a good test period without giving the store away
  6. LN says that the Passports are competing with hard ticket sales but I bet there is a way around that for artists that will sell-out quickly…I believe we call that the pre-sale
  7. The clubs, artists and thus the business are getting a free ride on the press that LN is generating…how are you going to take advantage of that

It will be interesting to see how the business feels when the dust settles, but I’m going to go out on a limb now and say you will all be happy about it…and will start to emulate what Live Nation did.  The “Season’s Pass” is here to stay!  Everyone in Live Entertainment should follow the lead of the amusement parks.  If Disney can figure out a way to make money with it, so can you. 

Aspen Live Room Registration Open

This year’s Aspen Live Conference, December 10-12,  is really about the Live Entertainment Industry getting together.  There will be no official meetings or speakers planned…at least for now.  We will send out more information about the program as we get closer in.  For now what you need to know is that room registration at the St. Regis, Aspen is now open…and we have held very few of them.  If you would like to reserve a room at our conference rate of $260 per night, please follow the information below. 

A personalized Web site for ASPEN LIVE occurring
(December 09, 2009 – December 13, 2009) has been created for you.

Guests can access the site to learn more about the event and to book,
modify, or cancel a reservation from September 17, 2009 to December 16, 2009.

Below you will find the appropriate link for participants to access the site:


 Guests can also make reservations by calling the Hotel directly at 970-920-3300 or 888-454-9005 and reference that you would like to make a reservation under the Aspen Live Ski Weekend group.

Speak with you soon…



July 2, 2009

Many years ago, I received a cherished gift from Nikki Wheeler’s (UTA music agent for those of you who don’t know her) Dad.  If you have ever visited my office, you may have seen the mini-statue of the Lincoln Memorial on my desk.  The crazy thing is, Mr. Wheeler is “from the land of Lincoln” and had no idea how much the President meant to me…shaped my beliefs…actually did a whole tutorial on him in college, etc.  I just hooked Mr. Wheeler up with lift tickets or something like that (I honestly don’t remember) when my family was still living in Aspen.  He wanted to give a gift (classy guy) for the effort.  Since that day, Mr Lincoln has sat on my desk.  Whenever I’m thinking my life is hard, I look over at President Lincoln.  Whatever is going on couldn’t be as bad as blaming yourself (as many biographers say Lincoln often did) for a civil war, countless lives lost, and a country divided. 

After Lincoln’s assasination…as the Civil War came to an end, General Robert E. Lee, Commander of all Confederate Forces wrote that he had serendered as much to Lincoln’s goodness as he had to Grant’s armies.  This one sentence has always moved me.  Someone who led forces against Abraham Lincoln’s government was talking about how the man’s goodness pushed him to peace.  This is a great story to pass on to your friends and family as we all celebrate the birth of our country.  It is people like Robert E. Lee and Abraham Lincoln that make me proud to be an American.

Happy 4th Everyone!