As the Internet has supercharged ticket sales for top acts like Madonna, ticket brokers are inventing new ways to grab the attention of music fans.

"Besides allowing people to purchase tickets at lightening speed, the Internet also plays a large role in reaching out to consumers," said Tom Patania, president of the National Association of Ticket Brokers.

In an effort to get a jump on the market leader Ticketmaster, Beverly Hills-based Live Nation teamed up with Facebook last week to create a social network for ticket sales called My Live Nation. The network allows fans to customize their search pages to receive a personalized touring calendar tailored to their musical tastes.

Live Nation has been gaining momentum in the concert promotion arena, recently moving into the No. 4 slot of the nation's top ticket sellers, following Ticketmaster and its subsidiary Tickets Now and independent seller StubHub, according to TicketNews, which publishes rankings for the ticket industry.

The move to the Internet is one of several initiatives from Live Nation to expand its reach into the music business. In the past few months, the company has signed Madonna and rapper Jay Z to record deals, acquired a handful of merchandising companies and announced plans to start its own ticketing agency once its deal with Ticketmaster expires next year.

Funny Pages

Looking to cash in on the comic book superhero phenomenon, the Walt Disney Co. recently formed Kingdom Comics, a graphic novels and feature-film projects division. The venture is part of a multiyear agreement with late musician Frank Zappa's son Ahmet Zappa, a comic fanatic and author of the novel "The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless," which Disney purchased as a development possibility. Harris Katleman and Christian Beranek are coming on board as executives of Kingdom.

This isn't the first time that Burbank-based Disney has launched a comic book franchise. In 2003, Disney teamed up with Gemstone Publishing to create Disney Comics, which mostly featured traditional animated Disney characters like Mickey Mouse.

Desperate Times

At least two Los Angeles radio talk show hosts and a local radio trade group blasted the Los Angeles Times recently for what they say was a misleading ad claiming that the paper and its advertisements reach more people than do drive-time local radio stations. The ad campaign sent afternoon radio talk show host Tom Leykis KLSX-FM (97.1) into an on-air rant, threatening to call on his listeners to drop their subscriptions.


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