No, it’s not a joke. The Ford Amphiteatre in Tampa, Fla. has actually, truly been renamed The 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre. Good Lord.
As reported by Kim Wilmath and Sarah Hutchins at the St. Petersburg Times, the new name comes from the lowest pits of hell a three-year, $1.1 million deal between the Live Nation venue and a local injury lawyer referral hotline owned by Gary Kompothecras.
The reporters managed to find one person in Florida who was excited about what’s clearly the stupidest venue name in America. That’d be a “close friend” of Kompothecras who goes by Bubba The Love Sponge Clem, and man, when I look for advice on names, he’s the guy I consult.
The rest of the folks, including the venue manager himself, could only offer somber reminders about the economy and the venue’s financial straits, which is what every single venue says while forcing the music-loving fans of their community to utter words of complete shame when talking about going to concerts.
Let’s repeat it, just for effect. It’s called the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheater. Say it out loud. I dare you. We out here in the Bay Area have had to live with AT&T Park, the Oracle Arena, the HP Pavilion, Network Associates Coliseum and plenty of other horrendous corporate names, but this is without a doubt the worst venue name in history.
To the people of Tampa, I send my deepest condolences. Really. I’m truly sorry for you. And your children. You don’t deserve this. The rest of the nation is laughing at you, and it’s not your fault.
So I have some advice.
Do like we do in California when this type of insulting malice is foisted upon the public and simply refuse to acknowledge it. Call the place The Amp. “Whatcha doin’ Friday night?” “Oh, going down to the Amp to see Rihanna.”
And if that doesn’t quell the resentment? I can’t officially recommend breaking laws of any kind, although I will point out that spray paint is cheap and venue signage is accessible. Do with this information what you will, Floridians.
With the “advance” of online ticket sales, we all went from standing in line outside the Wherehouse on a Sunday morning to standing together in a dark room with our hands outstretched, blindfolded, hoping that when the tickets fell from the ceiling we might catch one. Today’s news confirms what we all suspected: someone snuck in a vacuum.
This just in from New Jersey, via the Star-Ledger:
Federal authorities in New Jersey today charged four men with hacking into websites of online ticket sellers and illegally buying tickets to Hannah Montana, Bruce Springsteen and other shows around the nation.
The massive conspiracy virtually hijacked the online ticketing systems and prevented average consumers from buying prime seats.
The men, who ran a Nevada-based company called Wiseguy Tickets Inc., employed a computer programmer in Bulgaria who crafted software to swarm the websites of Ticketmaster, Live Nation, Major League Baseball and other companies, according to a 60-page indictment unsealed in Newark.
In essence, the company was able to cut in front of thousands of fans and buy the best seats in the house, authorities said. Wiseguys allegedly sold the tickets at a steep mark-up to brokers, who in turn sold them at an even steeper price to fans, according to the 60-page indictment. The firm bought more than 1.5 million tickets and grossed more than $25 million in profit between 2002 and 2009, according to the indictment. Wiseguy bought at least 11,700 tickets to Springsteen shows alone between September and December 2007, authorities said.
Goes without saying, but may these guys burn in hell. May we also further discover ways in which technology has actually made things worse, says the weirdo who just typed a postcard on a typewriter to send through the United States Postal Service.
What’s especially maddening is that these can’t be the only people hacking the Ticketmaster system. Nor will they be the last.
Billy Corgan made a less-than compelling case yesterday before Congress in support of the Performance Rights Act, which would force radio stations to pay royalties not only to the songwriters of the songs they play but to the performers on those songs as well. It’s a nice thought and all, especially considering stories such as Standing in the Shadows of Motown, but not a very nice thought when considering Billy Corgan, who is a multimillionaire.
Though I myself am a music performer who has been played on the radio, I’m against the Performance Rights Act and I’ll tell you why. It should have been enacted 60 years ago, when the “hit single” came into being and when radio had the prominence to absorb such payments. Corgan states the laws on radio compensation haven’t changed for 80 years. That’s the very reason radio can’t bear the undue burden.
The business model of radio stations has evolved around the long-held and reasonable idea that it’s the record labels’ responsibility to compensate their performers. Radio advertises the record, the public buys it, and the artist gets whatever deal the artist signed with the label for.
If the artist signs a shitty deal (all major label deals are shitty deals), or if the label is stiffing the artist, or—this one’s good—if the digital age comes along and destroys music sales, why go after analog radio? Simple: because people like Corgan can. Because it’s there. He can’t demand money from “sdream75,” an anonymous user who can’t stop uploading torrents of Siamese Dream, but he can go after radio stations, who are one of the few institutions left in the music business doing the relatively right and honorable thing.
The Performance Rights Act would misdirect understandable frustration with the self-cannibalization of the music industry at large toward a valuable—and similarly struggling—friend of the performer. It would absolutely kill small local stations like the KRSH. What we’d be left with is ClearChannel stations with corporate-issued playlists, prerecorded shows streaming from a computer, and DJs who may as well be programmed robots.
Incidentally, Corgan also spoke out a few weeks ago in support of the Ticketmaster / Live Nation merger (he’s managed by Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff), which officially makes him a mouthpiece of the devil.