January 27th, 2010
The DOJ has given the go ahead for the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation.
Live Nation and Ticketmaster, the two biggest players in the $4.4 billion worldwide concert business, received U.S. Department of Justice approval Monday for a merger that is likely to affect every live-music fan, artist, agent, manager and promoter.
I have absolutely no idea if we customers are going to get slapped with another $5 surcharge or not. I don’t know how this will affect which performers come to town or not.
Here’s some reactions, &c:
Firstly, Greg Kot talks to Jerry Mickelson of Jam Productions, an independent concert-promoter in Chicago. In reply to a question about how his business will be affected, Mickelson responded:
It has already affected us. Before SFX came along [in 1997] we used to do 160-plus arena concerts a year, now it’s down to 30, 40. If [Live Nation-owned] House of Blues keeps expanding and builds critical mass at amphitheaters, we’ll start to lose smaller shows. They have tremendous leverage in that they can buy tours. They’ll say to an act, if you want to play a big amphitheater show, we have to get all your indoor shows too. Or they can say, we want an indoor tour or you won’t get a great deal on an amphitheater show. That’s what monopoly power can do.
Bob Lefsetz has his own opinion and gives no quarter to people who whine about high ticket prices.
And you’re sitting there at home, bitching about ticket add-ons.
Like Deep Throat said, FOLLOW THE MONEY!
The money is generated by the acts. And if Live Nation won’t pay the acts, then AEG or JAM or IMP will. So, there’s no downward pressure. The acts rule.
But the acts don’t want to APPEAR greedy, so they utilize Ticketmaster to generate more dollars. By adding fees, that are kicked back to themselves, or starving concert promoters, or utilizing TicketExchange/platinum packages to in essence scalp their own tickets. Because, you see, the acts are greedy, they want more money! But they don’t want you to know this…
The ticket brokers are up in arms, knowing that the acts and Ticketmaster want to squeeze them out, getting all that revenue for themselves, utilizing paperless ticketing amongst other techniques. So what do the ticket brokers do? They start a Website, http://ticketdisaster.org/, imploring you to block the TM/LN merger. Why? So you can buy overpriced tickets from them!
But you are angry. Because ticketing is a disaster.
Mainly because the acts are afraid to tell you the truth, that they’re breadheads. They take the money from AmEx for pre-sales, they form fan clubs so theoretically you can get good seats, even though you’re paying extra for this privilege.