FROM THE NEWS NEST: Live Nation Entertainment: Merger or Monopoly?
After nearly a year hold from the Department of Justice, the path has been cleared for aTicketmaster +Â Live Nation merger, ultimately forming Live Nation Entertainment to begin merging operations as early as Wednesday.
Now what exactly does this mean for consumers, venues, and artists? There are widely varying opinions on the long-term effects of this seemingly live entertainment monopoly, but Ticketmaster’s CEO, Irving Azoff claims the merger creates “a more diversified company with a great selling platform for artists and a stronger financial profile that will drive improved shareholder value over the long term,” and that “this is a big win for fans.” What exactly will we win? So-called lower ticket prices and “convenience fees,” among other “benefits.”
With letters of support from top name artists like Billy Corgan, Shakira, Journey, and Eddie Van Halen (all managed by – ahem, Irving Azoff), it’s no wonder the Department of Justice saw through the stacks of consumer outrage. According to Jim Guerinot, manager of Nine Inch Nails and No Doubt, “my hope and belief is that there is going to be an expanded opportunity for touring artists to [experiment with] a variety of different products.” On the opposing side, Gary Adler of theÂ National Association of Ticket Brokers and vocal contributor onÂ TicketDisaster.org claims, “While today’s decision is not the strongest in terms of protecting consumers, competition, and choice in the industry, it is all the more reason why consumers should continue to stand up and voice their concerns with this live entertainment monopoly.” Chiming in with support are many artists such as The Boss himself, still fuming from hisÂ overinflated ticket disaster just a short year ago, alleging that even with the Department of Justice-mandated concessions, concert-goers will be potentially facing epically high ticket prices from the music industry’s (now) largest live entertainment Goliath.
Where is the leveled playing field for competitors such as AEG and Comcast-Spectator, not to mention the small ticket retailers like TicketNetwork in this kind of a situation? What are your opinions on the long lasting effects of this merger?