Today, Kelly Curtis logged into the PearlJam.com Forum to discuss the European pre-sale problems with fans. Obviously, emotions ran high. I found two take-away messages. (1) Crowd Surge was a strongly vetted, experienced company, but the investigation into the sabotage is on-going. (2) A second show has been set for Manchester (June 21), but the band did not have time to notify fans prior to the public sale.
You can view the thread here, or a transcript of the questions and answers follows.
Q: what happened? what was the "sabotage"?
KC: honestly, we do not know. what we do know is that since the alpine/canadian fiasco.. we have sought out the best ticketing company that we could find. we selected a state of the art company called crowd surge. who have have successfully handled massive ticket sales for paul mccartney, rhcp, and foo fighters. they've never had problems like this ever. so, we have a completely different company, system, server, staff in completely different cities.. and we have a very similar problem.... if you have any ideas.. please send our way
Q: can the band / management do anything to help those of us who would have got tickets to shows originally, but missed out due to the public on sale sell outs?
KC: while we wish we could. we have never been able to guarantee tickets to every fan club member. we try and be clear as possible.
Q: Why was there no 10c announcement of the second Manchester show?
KC: we would never assume that we would automatically get to two shows.... sometimes we don't get there.
Q: what about, those that bought seating tickets is there any chance for an upgrade to better seats. should the 10c have arranged to leave a block empty for this if not??
KC: we cannot upgrade your seats but we are working on early entry wristband per the post on the pj.com news section
Q: Will the Band add another couple of Fan Club Only Shows? -- that would be sublime and I am sure all would be enormously grateful.
KC: have not even had time to address this idea yet
Q: Will 10C add something to the membership as a way of saying sorry for how they have handled things this week? I.e 30 hours to response to the fans
KC: you know what...? i am very sorry. but i can't really answer the rest if i don't know or understand what exactly has happened. when and if we do... you will be the second to know.
Q: What assurances did Crowdsurge give that they could cope with the pre-sale?
KC: their track record and history is/was outstanding for comparable artist
Q: Why did it take so long for the 10C to communicate with fans about what was occurring regarding the recent European pre-sale? The fans waited for over 24 hours without hearing anything and Crowdsurge indicated that that they were also waiting for information from Pearl jam's camp.
KC: it took us that long to get the information ourselves.
Q: Can PJ get over the Ticketmaster debacle from the 90's and move on now? Pre-sales have been disastrous and I don't see why they couldn't leave it to the professionals to handle such affairs? We deserve an organization that can cope with PJ's demand given that it us who put them and keep them where they are now. Do the band know how bad the ticketing fiasco is?
KC: yes we worked with tm in canada.. it is not an option in all places in the world
Q: IS THE TICKETING ISSUE FIXED FROM HERE ON OUT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for the past few years buying tickets through 10c has honestly drove me up a wall ..... and im close to taking my TICKET PURCHASES else where.
KC: don't blame you.. we all feel the same way. of course we are working on the perfect system.. any ideas? send them along
Q: Why sell the tickets all at the same time?
KC: no matter how many shows we put up.. we are still getting a similar amount of traffic... and as of what we know right now.. it is not a traffic issue.. the servers were humming along fine.
Q: Could you please clarify the way 10c members will be entitled wristbands with GA tks bought through the general sale? Will single 10clubber buyers (buying 1 tkt each) be allowed a wristband?
KC: details for wristbands coming next week per ten club news post.
Q: Why won't Pearl Jam play The South?
KC: never say never
Q: Why was it not possible to hold back the 10c tickets although the public pre-sale started and, additional to that, since they 10c-pre-sale did not work out, hold back an extra amount of tickets from the public pre-sale? Would that have been so difficult? I don't understand why they had to be "thrown" into the public sale.
KC: we are dealing with a public on sale following our pre-sale in a very short window…. our fan club pre-sales are not very popular with promoters and therefore there is not a lot of help offered. one of the main reasons… is that SOME ..NOT ALL promoters would love to sell our fan club tickets at a very high price….. this is how pj has been abe to avoid widespread scalping. our goal has always been to get you .. the loyal pj fan the best of anything we have to offer at the best price possible.
Q: Can anything be done for those of us who actually had tickets in our basket, and had entered all the credit card info and were in the process of checking out when the system crashed?
KC: sorry no.
Q: Can we go back to post cards and money orders? My guess is no, but maybe this is best, the good old fashion way, kinda like playing a record!
KC: believe me… this is being talked about very seriously….
Q: Will there be any measures to "compensate" the 10c members that were caught in this nightmare and didn't score any desired tickets for this tour?
KC: working on ideas..
Q: Are the actual band members kept up-to-date with the problems that 'joe public' have went through?
KC: of course
Q: have you thought about doing pre sales the way that dave matthews band and phish do theirs?
KC: with all due respect... phish nor dmb are not big sellers outside the US... where our problems lie today.
Q: I feel sometimes we are given 1/2 truths about touring info.....like as an American I feel tempted to go to Europe but when I do I know a US tour will be announced. Could this info be given out in a more timely manner? Why in this band's 20th anniversary have they not hit their home city?
KC: we cannot announce everything at once because we don't alway know what we are doing … once we get through routing, venues, time period , personal schedules.. we move on to the next.. this band has never planned very far ahead.. thus keeping it real and fresh always.. and not one big treadmill obligation….
Q: Do you think that the growing rift in many fans' eyes between Pearl Jam / Ten Club is a problem? Isn't this a PJ management issue?
KC: everything pj is a management issue.. the good or bad...
Q: In 2006 I think it was, You announced a 5 show tour of Australia, with 10C tickets to one show in each City. Melbourne #2 went on public sale with no announcement to the fans, or anyone 10 minutes before Melbourne #1. Surely you must have some idea...especially with a 12 hour lag in time as was the case with Manchester.
KC: i have been cocky in the past and it has come back to bite me…..it is a different world out there and money is tight.. again.. i would never presume anything anymore..
Q: Please address why it took more than 24 hours for 10C to issue any sort of statement regarding the ticketing issue. This is a huge point.
KC: i am going to say this one more time... we did not know what was happening..we were all working for that 24hrs to find out what was wrong.. and we still don't know.. you know what we know..
Q: Was anyone in this lineup [Nickelback] a suspect of the sabotage?
KC: funny stuff
Q: is it just a case of too much traffic overwhelming the server? whether it be crowdsurge or 10c? or is it not even known if that is the problem?
KC: servers were fine.... humming along
Q: Why don't bands even larger than PJ have these fanclub ticketing problems? (Bruce, Petty, Phish, DMB)
KC: most of those are Ticketmaster fan clubs. Ticketmaster is owned by Live Nation. nothing wrong with that, but just so you know. our goal was to keep Ten Club independent. we felt there were advantages to that. do these other fan clubs you mention really never have ticketing problems?
Q: Why are you, after 20 years of doing this, still so badly organized??? You charge us 50$ a year. You should be more responsible for your deeds. Sometimes we feel like you don't care,..
KC: no way to convince you . but we all really do care.. we all love this band and our jobs.
Q: Does the band know about the numerous ticket sale fiascos that have taken place over the past years, and why was it not a concern until now? Can you and the band implement a more "open" line of communication between the 10c and the fans/forums?...it seems like there is a very strict policy of any release of infomation by moderators...when they are the closest to the fan base and can easily clear up misconceptions and falsities... How is information passed from band management to 10c management...official press release? email? phone call? snail mail letter? Who is responsible for updating the website, and why is there no consistency in respect to when items are released and the announment of such releases?
KC: you are not wrong at all… we have been chasing this thing every year since technology became a player and the primary way people purchase tickets… info comes in at all times and places….. and we have to make sure . depending on what the subject that it is correct and that the band.. the whole band has signed off.. that can be a task in itself...
Q: Is our personal information safe? Do we need to be worried about our credit card information?
KC: we have been assured by CrowdSurge that your credit card information is secure.
Q: why would we come up with the ideas? YOU'RE THEIR MANAGER! I'm a school teacher and wouldn't ask you how to teach a good WWI lesson on trench warfare.
KC: come on… really? was not trying to make you mad.. seriously…i was looking for feedback/help…
been interesting everyone.. especially you sawyer.
Q: oh and no offence Mr Curtis... are you suggesting to us, the fans, that the 2nd night has never been discussed with you? Are you suggesting that TM sell the 2nd night out and then dictate to the band that they MUST play a 2nd night? please do not insult our intelligence... the band, the mgt and all staff would have known about a 2nd night so why could that not have been announced before TM released tickets? I know for a fact that webpages can be set to go live at certain times... i.e. a news item on PJ could have been set to go live at 8.55am UK time this morning with info about the 2nd night. You're evading the most burning questions. Whilst i'm sure everyone appreciates the fact you are here.. please don't skip the most emotive points.
KC: let me try again...i can tell I either missed the point of this question or didn't answer it clearly. this is an industry standard, not something specific to the way i do it. there are some cities where i think we might be able to play more than one show, but I don't assume that until after we put the first show up for sale, and we see what the demand is. (there are exceptions to this rule...of course...there are some cities where we know for sure there will be demand for multiple shows so we put them both up at once. but more often i am making the decision in real time.) if the first show sells out and it seems like there is demand for a second show, i will approve for another show to go on sale right after the first one sells out or looks like it is going to.
from now on, we can post on the ten club site right when we approve for another show to be added so that you guys know.
KC: thanks everyone for your time..really appreciated. i know it's late in europe.. i will continue to answer new questions…. that come along..