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Live Nation can't keep up with Phish demand

Millions went online to buy tickets for the fabled jam band's reunion but Ticketmaster's first serious competitor failed its first serious test.

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.

Error--tickets not found. Phish Dry Goods

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.