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