Live Nation-Ticketmaster Merger Approved (Not By Us)

Before I go to a live music or sporting event, I weigh my ticket options carefully. Sometimes I’ll get my tickets from Ticketmaster, other times times I’ll buy them from Ticketmaster, or to save time and waste money I might purchase tickets online with Ticketmaster. That may all change, however, with the new Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, which plans to open a world of options for sporting fans and concert-goers (like myself) everywhere.

First, some background. Live Nation owns over 100 venues, promotes and/or produces 22,000 events annually, and sold over 50 million tickets in 2008. Ticketmaster—as if you didn’t know—is the US’s premier ticket sales and distribution company, selling over 142 million tickets in 2007. As a company, Ticketmaster is reviled (by just about everyone) for their notorious service charges and poor-to-non-existent customer service. Combined, these two already-powerful companies will coalesce into the perfect shit storm for ticket buyers, venues, and musicians.

So what do they have to say for themselves? In yesterday’s press release, the new super company assures us that, “Through this merger, the parties believe that the combined company will have the tools to develop new products, expand access, improve transparency and deliver artists and fans more choice. This will drive greater attendance at live events and bringing more value to all major constituents in the industry.”

More choice? More value? Improve transparency? Ticketmaster, please don’t piss on our backs and tell us it’s raining.

The merger was proposed last year in February, finally clearing with approval by the US Department of Justice on Monday, but not without some legal stipulations. According to the DOJ, the new company will be “watched” for 10 years and forced to obey “tough anti-retaliation provisions,” supposedly to prevent abuse to any competition. But then again, who could really compete with Ticketmaster before the merger?

To find out more about what’s being done to combat the merger, and to sign a petition against it, head over to TicketDisaster.org which is directly affiliated with the American Antitrust Institute.

Wilco is an Awesome Live band + Wilco Offer Concert Downloads for Haiti Relief = Get Out Your Headphones and Wallets

Paying for music content in 2010?? Alas, that kind of logic seems questionable at best these days. I’ll pass, man. DONATING for music in 2010??? Now that’s a horse of a different color!

To help raise a bit more dough for ongoing Haiti relief efforts, Jeff Tweedy and his compatriots in Wilco have posted two complete live concert downloads on their official site in exchange for a requested donation to either Oxfam or Doctors Without Borders. The live sets include a stint from Brooklyn’s Keyspan Park last summer in which Feist and Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste joined the band for a number of songs, as well as their gig last fall at London’s HMV Forum. “In exchange for the free music,” the band writes, “we ask that you make a minimum donation of $15 to the [Emergency Relief Funds of] one of the organizations listed above if you are able.”

These are some awesome Wilco shows, ladies and gents. But then again, any show that features these two monster shredders is bound to rule.

“Radiohead of the Midwest,” you’ve done it again! Here are those donation locations one more time:

• Wilco: http://www.wilcoworld.net
• Oxfam: http://www.oxfam.org/en/haitidonate
• Doctors Without Borders: http://doctorswithoutborders.org

New Irish Pub Fenn O’Berg Opens in East Village… Wait a Second, That’s Not a Pub…That’s a Fennesz, Jim O’Rourke, and Peter Rehberg Collaboration!

The other day in the East Village, Christian Fennesz, Jim O’Rourke, and Peter Rehberg were sitting in a new Irish pub when they realized that it had been eight whole years since their last collaboration (using the moniker Fenn O’Berg) had been released. They also realized that their previous two albums were just live edits and that they’ve never released a proper studio album together.

The guys were practically speechless and decided that this was a major deficit for the musical world-at-large and, after finishing their corned-beef sandwiches, agreed that they would remedy the situation and record a new album together that they would release on vinyl and CD through Editions Mego on March 2. They also decided that the new record would be called In Stereo, and that they would add to the “expected digital madness and sampling” by including guitar, piano, bass, and percussion.

Here is the tracklist that the boys decided on and, yes, the “parts” are purposely jumbled around:

In Stereo:

01. Part III
02. Part IV
03. Part V
04. Part I
05. Part VII
06. Part VI
07. Part II *

* vinyl only

Franz Ferdinand Angry At Label for McDonald’s Ad: “I’d rather eat a cow-pat on a bun than a bloody McDonalds.”

Because of unapproved usage of a Franz Ferdinand song for the website latenitemcdonalds.com, a ‘twat’ at Sony gets reemed out by Franz Ferdinand singer and author of Sound Bites (a popular food and travel book), Alex Kapranos. His twitter account reads:

Dirty bastards. Stupid arrogant motherfucking pig-brained arseholes. I’d rather eat a cow-pat on a bun than a bloody McDonalds.

Later, Kapranos said that he doesnt hate MickeyDeez, but he does consider them a “psychopathic corporation” and has similar feelings towards Sony because of their flavorless usage of the Franz Ferdinand song.

Another tweet mentions that he does have a soft-spot for fast food:

I’m just pissed off because I had a sponsorship deal with White Castle on the cards which is now totally scuppered…I was going to get a lifetime supply of those cute (much tastier than McD) burgers and they were going to open a Dennistoun franchise.

Epic is Franz Ferdinand’s American label, and it is under the greater umbrella of Sony (as are Columbia, Arista, J Records, Jive, and many others). Domino, the band’s UK label, knew nothing of the usage and are equally pissed off.

RIAA Victim’s $1.92 Million Fine Reduced to $54,000

The weirdness continues as Jammie Thomas-Rasset’s music copyright infringement fines are lowered by Judge Michael Davis. Thomas was the first individual to be tried (Capitol v. Thomas) before a jury in a file-sharing copyright lawsuit by major record labels, with the original case taking place in 2007 for illegally downloading 24 songs.

The damages of that original case came to $222,000 but Thomas was retried in 2009 due to an error in jury instructions. The second trial brought the damages up to a bloated $1,920,000—obviously the RIAA was giving the jury instructions this time around.

Ms. Thomas appealed against the $2 million damages claim, resulting in Judge Davis’s reassessment saying, “It was the jury’s province to determine the award… and this Court has merely reduced that award to the maximum amount that is no longer monstrous and shocking.” That new award was set at a still-shocking $54,000, and the RIAA was given a week by the court to challenge that reduced verdict.

The ultimate artifice in all of this comes from the announcement that any damages awarded to the RIAA will not go to the artists whose music was downloaded, but instead to more anti-piracy campaigns; a final “fuck you” to consumers and musicians across the US.

For those interested in the full chronology and details of the case, check out the heavily referenced Wikipedia page.

Tiny Vipers Tour Promises to Be the Saddest Tour Ever

No joke, have you heard Life on Earth (TMT Review)? It sounds like meeting everyone you’ve ever loved and lost over the course of an hour and being fired from your favorite job ever, all rolled into one, or as Tiny Vipers’ MySpace page says, “tssss ts tssssssss boom.”

Tourdates:

03.03.10 - Belfort, France - TBA
03.04.10 - Grenoble, France - Le Ciel
03.07.10 - Den Bosch, Holland - fabrIQ
03.08.10 - Haldern, Germany - Haldern Pop Bar
03.09.10 - Heidelberg, Germany - Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut
03.10.10 - Berlin, Germany - Sohpiensaele
03.11.10 - Chemnitz, Germany - Weltecho
03.12.10 - Numberg, Germany - K4
03.13.10 - Cologne, Germany - Kultur Bunker Mulheim

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