By Mike Bruno
January 09, 2009 at 12:00 PM EST

Been wondering what Live Nation’s gargantuan “360 deals” with artists like Madonna and Jay-Z will mean for music fans? Well, we just got our first taste: stomach-turning ticket prices. Live Nation has just launched its own in-house ticketing service and, like the evil Ticketmaster, is tacking on a massive double-digit service charge. Tickets for the Pretenders’ show at New York’s Roseland Ballroom on Jan, 31, for example, are sold for $49.50 with a $13.50 “ticket charge” added by Live Nation. $13.50! (Ticketmaster tacks a whopping $15 charge onto $35 tickets to the Pretenders show in Philly, by the way.)

Ticket prices in general are just out-of-control, and there’s plenty of blame to go around. Need more evidence? Motley Crue playing Atlantic City: $75. The Killers playing Madison Square Garden: $54.25. Lil Wayne at Kansas City’s Sprint Center: $44.75 – $130.75. Pop music (that’s “pop” as in “popular,” as in “for the masses,” not the elite) has become as expensive as Broadway and the symphony. You’d think all this nonsense would have fans flipping the bird to Live Nation, Ticketmaster and the bands they pimp. Mind bogglingly, that isn’t the case. Although the public bought 3 percent fewer tickets last year, revenue from those tickets was actually up almost 8 percent, according to this report, which means plenty of people are paying these outrageous prices. Wealthy people, anyway. People who haven’t lost their jobs. It’s a simple case of supply and demand, I suppose, and as long as the “more money/fewer tickets sold” model keeps increasing revenue, Live Nation and Ticketmaster will keep jacking up the prices until they find the sweet spot.

Anyone else fed up with climbing ticket prices and gagging on Live Nation’s entering the game with these huge service charges? Has the rising price of tickets caused you to see less live music? What can we do to stop this madness?