Venues and promoters voice concerns over Ticketmaster and Live Nation merger

February 2010

Live events Industry

Prior to the US DOJ approval of the Live Nation – Ticketmaster merger, but after the rather unusual U-turn by the UK’s Competition Commission which also allowed the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, a number of consumer protection groups and the National Association of Ticket Brokers expressed concern about the merger and these concerns were repeated by several of the US’s prominent independent venue operators and concert promoters who banded together to oppose the planned merger. In an email being circulated to fans and industry organisations, titled “Concert Fans Beware!”, the group of venue operators and promoters urged people and fellow industry members to oppose the proposed deal because it could severely affect the concert landscape.; The venues and promotion companies that signed the email are Minnesota’s First Avenue, Washington DC area stalwarts The 9:30 Club, Merriweather Post Pavilion and The Black Cat; Jam Productions, Metropolitan Talent; Another Planet; Frank Productions; Stone City Attractions and Rams Head Live.

It has been interesting that the main focus of regulators looking at the merger seems to have been on the ticketing market – whereas many commentators say that the ‘bigger picture’ is the effect a merged company might have on the industry as a whole. Apart from its worldwide ticketing empire, TM has a substantial management arm (Frontline, whose clients include The Eagles, Neil Diamond, Jimmy Buffett, Aerosmith, Seal and Christina Aguilera). Alongside its global concert promoting business, festivals and venue ownership, Live Nation has a number of high profile 360 degree deals with major artists including Jay-Z, the Jonas Brothers, Shakira, Madonna, Nickleback and U2 as well as venues, touring operations and promoting. The Combined venture will own 140 venues worldwide, promote 22,000 concerts each year, sell 140 million tickets annually and manage the careers of over 200 artists. Many say that the combined operation will be a dominant and monopolistic force in many markets worldwide and the merged group would have the capacity to shut independent operators from many parts of the supply chain.

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