Ticketmaster and Live Nation, two of the biggest corporate powers in live music, are ready to join forces. We'd need to go all the way back to, well, the beginning of this week and the Bruce Springsteen fiasco to see the potentially deleterious nature of such a merger. And for the love of god, hasn't anybody ever heard of an anti-trust lawsuit?
If, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, Ticketmaster and Live Nation do indeed merge, it could be a nightmare scenario for music fans (and also fans of sporting events, theater and other live events). Live Nation, which had been part of Clear Channel (as if that wasn't bad enough), is a promoter of live events and concerts, and has recently entered into album release deals with Madonna and Jay-Z as well as started its own ticket-selling operation. Ticketmaster is, well, the devil. You know who it is. It's the company that charges you $17 extra dollars every time you buy a ticket to a show.
Even though there are alternatives, the small fry get locked out of ticket-selling to A-list events. The power the two companies already wield, as the largest concert promoter and the most dominant ticketing force in the nation respectively, is enough to cause considerable ripples already — before they've even merged. Live Nation's new ticket service was a real threat to Ticketmaster, and in truth, the only viable competitor that could have fought to bring down exorbitant service charges (10 to 15 percent) and perhaps stop the joke of the "convenience" fee (wait, what was the service charge for?). So far, reports say the two companies are close. Hopefully regulation scrutiny and public outcry will push them further apart again.
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