A Talk With Irving

When Irving Azoff speaks in a public forum, it’s going to resonate, and that’s what happened at the D7: All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad, Calif., May 27.

The Ticketmaster Entertainment chief, currently in the spotlight because of the company’s intentions to merge with Live Nation, had an onstage interview with the co-executive producer of the Wall Street Journal conference, Kara Swisher.

After going over the details of his operation, such as the 16 management companies he has “strategic alliances” with, Azoff responded to questions about the descent of the recording industry, the future of the business, the outlook for the merger and, of course, Bruce Springsteen.

“I would say that Bruce is uninformed about the potential of what this [merger] could be for him,” Azoff said. Springsteen came out publicly against the merger, saying it would be bad for the fans. Azoff suggested the merger could help bundle his songs with tickets, along with other options.

Azoff said he’s “very optimistic” the merger will be accepted by the Department of Justice and it should be completed by the end of the year.

The reason Ticketmaster should merge with Live Nation is simple: Live Nation will give Ticketmaster the marketing and promotion necessary to keep the company alive.

“Any of you guys can write a program that does what Ticketmaster does,” Azoff told the conference, according to the WSJ. “I’ve been there a couple of months and I have gripes myself.”

He also made clear the service fee is not going entirely to the company – something that has been known inside the industry for years but only recently has been publicly acknowledged. Ticketmaster Entertainment, he said, is a “collection agency” and it is ultimately the act that picks the fee pricing.

Dynamic pricing had its moment in the spotlight. The industry hasn’t done enough of it, Azoff said, and “we have to keep the press from chastising artists that use dynamic pricing.”

As for Twitter, some artists find it a useful tool but others “refuse to get a mobile phone.”