Live Nation and Ticketmaster: “Don’t stop Believing”

February 24, 2009

Live Nation and Ticketmaster might have plenty of people out there who are not pleased with the idea of the two companies coming together but they have received support from several superstars in the run-up to a U.S. anti-trust hearing in Washington DC on Tuesday.

Names like Seal, Shakira, Journey, Van Halen and Billy Corgan (The Smashing Pumpkins) have all offered support to a merger some legislators, smaller rivals and fan groups worry will put too much power over the U.S. and global live music industry in the hands of just one company.

Some of the superstars have long-running relationships with Live Nation’s concert promotion business or are clients of Front Line Management, the artist management firm owned by Ticketmaster. Front Line has more than 200 acts under its wing giving it plenty of leverage in dealing with many promoters, venues and even record labels.

Eddie Van Halen, of 80s rockers Van Halen, wrote in a letter to the anti-trust committee seen by Reuters that the merger could help up-and-coming musicians like his 17-year old son Wolfgang (pictured together}) who joined the band as a bassist a couple of years ago:

There are so many problems facing the music industry today. Van Halen suceedeed based on our record sales and the many tours that we did to increase our record sales. But that business model just doesn’t work anymore. Today, the majority of artists earn their living from playipng live. What my son — and any future band he plays in — needs are new and innovative approaches to the problems facing the live entertainment industry. And I believe that the merger of Ticketmaster/Live Nation is one of those solutions.

Pop act Journey, probably best known for their anthem “Don’t Stop Believing“, were also supportive of the deal:

The music industry has changed dramatically in the last several years. As technology changes the way people get access to their music, one thing stands true — the live show. And the live show has become an even more important jumping off point to maintain the relationship between artists and our fans. The proposed merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment will provide artists at all levels of their careers with the opportunity to leverage a broader universe of venues and to expand their ability to reach current as well as new fans.

Seal, one of the few stars not currently in business with either company, wrote in another letter that in spite of his own success, he recognizes the music business has become a different place from when he started out in London, England, 20 years ago:

The record business is not what it used to be. That is why I support the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger — because not only would it benefit established acts like myself, but the up-and-coming acts who are trying to build a following, as well.

As an artist, I’m constantly searching for new and better ways to connect with fans, get my music to more people, and be fairly compensated for my work in the process. The merger will help me and countless other artists do that.

Do you think these artists are right? Can this merger be a positive step towards helping fix the music business as the two CEOs Irving Azoff and Michael Rapino say?

We’d like to hear your thoughts.

(Photo: Reuters)

6 comments

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This merger’s the biggest nightmare to the music industry since Billboard Top 40! Who are these people kidding??? Do even the largest stars want to have to deal with a monopoly on the combo of live booking agent & ticket sales. With these two combined who knows how expensive shows will be. And albeit, if you really want to see a band you love…you’ll pay the price, but more and more dinero will be going into the gutter that is these companies. BAH! BOOO BOOO!!! down with the industry!

Posted by David | Report as abusive

Live Nation is already a monopoly and after this merger they will finish the remaining independent promoters. The artist’s like Live Nation because they can do 30 concerts for them in a tour. Now with Ticketmaster the fans/consumers will pay more money for the tickets and the service fee and help these company to become bigger and the artist’s richer. I hope congress blocks this merger.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

TicketMaster and Live Nation together? How about we get rid of TicketMaster first with their monopoly on virtually all ticket sales to any major event. TicketMaster should be criminalized for raping ticket buyers with their ridiculous “convenience charges” which elevates a $40.00 ticket to $55.00 by the time all sales taxes and “convenience charges” are added.

I for one would go out of my way to get tickets through other avenues than TicketMaster, but guess what? There are none! You can’t hardly get tickets at a box office anymore!

For Live Nation to form an allegiance with TicketMaster is outrageous and will just serve in creating more “convenience charges” and “convenience, convenience charges”.

Way to rip off the fans (in yet another way), guys!

Posted by DJ | Report as abusive

The answer is to break up the current Ticketmaster monopoly. Also, no large venues (lets say over 5,000 capacity) should be able to enter into any sort exclusive agreement with any one of these companies. That would fix the problem.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

This is a horrible idea! I stopped going to major music events because the fees are insane. A $35 ticket has $25 worth of extra fees. This is a merger for the corporate aspects of music. Van Halen is my FAVORITE band but at this point, they are corporate rock. Same as Journey, Seal, etc… Halen’s entire set on the Roth tour was synced to a track for timing. Where is the spontaneous aspect of a fun party rock show? All this does is put money in the pockets of the companies and the ‘industry’ supported bands. This only hurts the fans.

Posted by josh | Report as abusive

These acts have no integrity. They’re shilling out of self-interest – and dishonesty and even ignorance.

Just more evidence as to why the dinosaur that is the record industry deserves to be extinct.

Posted by TD | Report as abusive