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Ticketmaster In Merger Talks With Live Promoters

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Ticketmonster is on the warpath. Again.

The live music sector is inching ever closer to becoming, er, how to put this politely, more ‘consolidated’ today with the announcement that ticketing behemoth Ticketmaster is in merger discussions with promotion giants AIG and Live Nation.

The story, first broke in the New York Times, seems to confirm the rumor which has been circulating for some years now, namely that Ticketmaster is SEEKING TO RULE THE LIVE ENTERTAINMENT WORLD. Last year, the company made waves in the US with its purchase of IAG’s Front Line Management (the home of stadium rockers the Eagles and singing munchkin Myley Cyrus) as well as its acquisitions of secondary ticketing companies TicketsNow and Getmein (UK).

So, let’s do the math:

Artists? Check. Tickets? Check. Scalper Tickets? Check. Venues? Boo-ha-ha-ha!!!

Music Industry? Check mate.

Rumor has it that Ticketmaster is leaning towards Live Nation, the ‘pioneer’ of so-called 360 artist deals and the label home to cutting-edge artists such as Madonna and Jay-Z. Recall that back in November 2007, Ticketmaster and Live Nation had a rather loud public display of disaffection over revenue-sharing from ticket sales (see NY Times article here).

How times have changed.

The real question here is: How will it take before someone cries foul? Surely there must be a few people left at Obama’s US Justice Department who remembers the Pearl Jam surcharge fiasco back in 1994? Actually, maybe there isn’t.

Anyway, if almost complete vertical integration of the live music industry does not begin to ring at least a few anti-competitive alarm bells somewhere in Washington or Brussels, we wonder just what it WILL take?

Perhaps they’ll wait until Ticketmaster extracts Jo Walsh’s DNA begins cloning in-house rock bands? Or starts buying out cotton futures for its t-shirt factory? Or starts hacking down Rain Forest to pulp into tickets?

The music world cringes ever-so-slightly and awaits the outcome of these discussions. And if you really have in in for ‘ole ‘Ticketmonster’, check out Savvy Buyer’s blog post here. Now there’s a man with a bee in his bonnet!

(In other, slightly more modest news, HMV announced last month that it has acquired a 50% stake in the UK’s Mama Group, owner of 11 live venues including the iconic Hammersmith Apollo in London. Read here.)

 

Author

  • Wayne Rosso

    Wayne Rosso has worked in music and technology for decades. He has worked with such artists as Aerosmith, Bee Gees, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Public Image LTD., Beach Boys, Phillip Glass, Fleetwood Mac, Rick James, New Kids on the Block, Slash, Evanescence and scores of others.

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