Music forums were abuzz all weekend about Live Nation's inability to handle the millions of simultaneous online requests for Phish tickets. The fabled jam band is reuniting for a summer tour after several years off, and is playing some Live Nation-owned venues, which means that tickets for those shows were available only through Live Nation. Unfortunately, Live Nation (a spin-off of Clear Channel) is relatively new at ticketing and its Web ticketing service couldn't handle the strain. The worst: apparently some would-be purchasers were offered seats, only to have the system break down when they tried to complete their purchase.
Maybe they should have tried the phone.
While I've never bought a ticket from Live Nation, I've turned to phone orders with Ticketmaster twice in the last year--for Bruce Springsteen and Sigur Ros--when the Web site was slow or offered only undesirable tickets. Each time, I got a much better seat than I could have gotten online. I imagine Ticketmaster allocates a certain number of seats at each purchase level for phone, and the lines aren't nearly as busy as the Web site, meaning the decent seats last longer.