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?