Monopoly money- Live Nation + Ticketmaster BFF!

Anti-trust alert! Here's another awesome idea from the creeps currently trying to squeeze any profit possible off of mid-sized to ginormous bands, comedians, & musicians- not to mention from us fans through modified fees, higher face prices, and insidious auction sites run by, uh, Ticketmaster. (see the recent Bruce Springsteen flap)

Billboard confirmed the news that Live Nation & Ticketmaster are planning to merge. Waaaay down in the article are these 2 sentences:

"Opposition is likely to come from competitors in the concert promotion and ticketing worlds. Anti-trust issues could well loom, Live Nation/Ticketmaster are sure to point out that the two companies currently only compete in the realm of ticketing, with Ticketmaster being larger by far. Ticketmaster is not a promoter. Live Nation is not a manager, but they have secured long-term multirights deals with some of the biggest artists in the world."

The "opposition" actually has a lot more pessimistic points to make about this. Pitchfork quotes a Wired writer:

While the combined company might take the opportunity to ditch the 'convenience' fees that are detested by fans -- or at least internalize the fees (which are divided between Ticketmaster, the promoter, and sometimes the performing artist and other parties) -- the idea of bypassing the primary ticketing market entirely and introducing them directly into the TicketsNow auction system could give prospective audience members with more cash to burn a big edge over impecunious fans -- even if those other fans are quicker on the draw when it comes to buying tickets.

"In other words, thickness of wallet -- and not quickness of response -- would become the salient factor when trying to buy tickets for hot shows."

From Portfolio, a comment from the owner of alternative ticket-seller LiveStub, Michael Hershfield:

"This deal would mean that Live Nation would have direct access to Ticketmaster's ticketing solution, including its resale marketplace TicketsNow. Live Nation could potentially harness Ticketsnow and begin to offer performers the opportunity to list tickets on the resale system without ever listing in the primary market.

Hershfield calls this "the dirty secret of this deal" -- a way to give performers and management a way to directly benefit from secondary-market ticket revenues."

Later on, Portfolio points out:

"With Live Nation increasingly moving into recording deals, a Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger would create a soup-to-nuts music powerhouse with huge amounts of monopoly power: having two monopolies puts you in a much stronger position than having just one."

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