On The Record

When it comes to the industry’s take on the Ticketmaster / Live Nation merger, the silence is nearly deafening. Pollstar contacted promoters, facility executives and other “disinterested” parties. We either got carefully worded commentary or nothing at all. We even received an off the record “no comment.”

We interpret this to mean one of two things: they have to do business with both parties now and in the future and aren’t sure where this is all headed or they are scared to death that an unfavorable comment could result in a bad mark going down in Irving’s permanent records.

The media, including bloggers, have made their feelings known, however. Plus, Bruce Springsteen has made it clear where he stands – and if more artists verbalize their opinions, it could sway the merger one way or the other.

The one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near monopoly situation in music ticketing. Several newspapers are reporting on this story right now. If you, like us, oppose that idea, you should make it known to your representatives. – Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and the entire Springsteen Tour Team.

There is not much we can say at this point in time since it would be purely speculative. That being said, we need to better understand what a merger of this magnitude means to the competitive landscape in the live music industry with all the stakeholders including, but not limited to, promoters, agents, managers, venues, ticketing companies, record
companies, merchandise companies and the fans.
– Jerry Mickelson, Jam Productions

I have to pause on this one. This one bothers me. … It looked like Live Nation was going to go its own way and kind of slug it out with Ticketmaster. This to me is further monopolization of the primary market. – Arizona State University professor Stephen Happel, who has studied the economics of ticket scalping, to the Los Angeles Times

If you want to point fingers, look to the long-gone Robert Sillerman, not Michael Rapino or Barry Diller. They’re just dealing with the aftermath of what Mr. X wrought. … It’s all about the Benjamins. And Rapino wants to keep his job. And the acts want that guaranteed money. And the public is at home playing Wii, which is reasonably priced and delivers more cluck for the buck. – Music commentator Bob Lefsetz

If everything we read is true and there is a merger, we should be able to count on better service for fans in 2010. It only makes sense since it is in the artist, manager, promoter, producer, and ticketing company…everyone’s best interest to keep the fan happy. – Jim Lewi, LiveWorks Newsletter

“Dynamic pricing” – corporate-speak for milking fans for as much as they’re willing to pay … While some fans might get bargains, as with the Priceline model in travel, the best seats would almost certainly be locked out in perpetuity for the biggest spenders. (To quote John Lennon: “Would those of you in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.”) – Jim Derogatis, Chicago Sun-Times

We feel that the industry dominance of Ticketmaster and Live Nation poses a significant threat to the existence of independent entertainers, venues and promoters. We view this independence as crucial to the artistic landscape of our communities and are taking these actions to preserve it. – TicketBiscuit CEO Jeff Gale, announcing a $20 million “independent” fund for those that avoid the merged entity.

President Barack Obama should crank up the thank-you machine, because the proposed merger of Ticketmaster Entertainment … and Live Nation … is his Administration’s equivalent of finding a pony by the tree on Christmas morning. … A nascent Presidency that is caught in the muck … can now go back, if only for a moment, to the clean and lofty ideals of the campaign. And pretty simply. All it would take is for the new Administration’s Justice Dept. – which, by one Beltway insider’s account is staffing up especially quickly – to kill this deal. – BusinessWeek

What’s going to happen next? In the next few months, expect executives to continue proclaiming the new Live Nation Entertainment will make the industry healthier and more competitive. But in the end, fans won’t buy it, and neither will the Department of Justice. – Forbes