It happened. In a huge blow to music fans, artists, and venues, The United States Justice Department has approved a merger of companies Ticketmaster and Live Nation, making the new company the biggest monopoly in the entire music industry.
Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff is quoted in a CNN article as saying, “Their resolution is a great win for fans. The entertainment industry needs innovation and we are ready to deliver.” This could not be any less true. If you’ve ever been to an event put on by Live Nation or Ticketmaster, you’ve likely payed anywhere from $10 to 30, just in “service” fees. Sometimes these fees can be nearly as much as the base ticket price itself. With the new merger, these fees are likely to go up even more. These fees are in no way “innovative,” but in my opinion, a greedy way for the two companies to grab even more money from the concert-goer.
Proving that both companies are either egomaniacal or delusional – I would guess it’s likely the former – Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said in the same article, "This is a good and exciting day for the music business, and we are close to finalizing the creation of a new company that will seek to transform the way artists distribute their content and fans can access that content.“
I don’t think there is anything good or exciting here, folks. The only transformation in the way fans are able to "access that content” are likely to be, as mentioned before, even higher “service” charges.
If this hasn’t convinced you that Ticketmaster and Live Nation are bad companies that care nothing about music, take this into account: Ticketmaster runs a ticket-resell site called TicketsNow. Prices for tickets on TicketsNow are not simply $10-20 dollars higher than the actual ticket prices. Try multiple times the actual ticket price. The really bad part? Ticketmaster takes a cut of the profits earned from this site, directly promoting humongous, greedy markups on ticket prices. Last year, when tickets for Bruce Springsteen’s US tour went on sale, when fans went to the Ticketmaster site to purchase tickets, they were automatically redirected to TicketsNow. The Boss was not happy.
I could go on about the myriad other ways this merger is detrimental to the music industry. Instead, however, I recommend reading the “Key Facts” page of the Ticket Disaster website, as well as exploring the rest of the site and signing the petition. You can also email your State Representatives asking they take action to pass laws against this type of merger. The music community, whether it be artists, fans, or venues, need to stand up and fight back against the bullying that Ticketmaster and Live Nation have been doing for so long.
*Thanks to music blog Consequence of Sound for the tip