WSJ: What can you tell us about your plans for your ticketing business, which you’re launching in 2009?
Mr. Rapino: If there’s anything that has been underplayed and overshadowed, there is one reason you should buy our stock or you should watch our company: It’s because we are entering the ticketing business next year. We think that is 90% of the equation on why our business model comes together.
We’re pretty archaic in the concert business. We’re still making people line up on a Saturday morning at 10, while the rest of the world is trying to figure out how to be a 24–7 experience for the customer.
We are spending immense amounts of time on dynamic pricing for airlines and hotels. We think there’s a way that the artist can make more money but the consumer can pay less money if we can sell more tickets.
WSJ: How do you see the broader economic picture affecting your business?
Mr. Rapino: If we get to $7 gas, the natural [thing] is to assume that because it’s a luxury item or a consumer item that it’s affected. But we have found that most consumers only go to two shows a year. And even if you look at the data for the last 15 or 20 years in the concert business, there’s no correlation between recession down times and declining ticket sales. No matter where the price of gas is, the consumer’s still got to get out. They’ve still got to save their money to go see Tim McGraw.