Where exactly are our family values? In another blow to the American ethics system at the hands of high-profile celebrity couples, the country's most greedy ticket retailer, Ticketmaster, and its concert promoter beau, Live Nation, have halted negotiations, indicating a likely split come the end of the pair's contractual obligations in 2008. Per the Wall Street Journal, House of Blues venues and their parent company Live Nation accounted for nearly 20% of Ticketmaster's $1.1 billion generated last year. Ticketmaster, who's responsible for almost half of all ticket sales in North America, has sought to retain a level of autocratic control over sales, while Live Nation hopes to center more ticket-buying around their own website. Let's just call it irreconcilable differences.
Less of a couple than a money-grubbing corporate conglomerate, the pair have done their best to rid the concert-going public of any semblance of options, damning music fans from coast to coast and beyond to outlandish "service" charges and "processing" fees with few viable, or convenient, alternatives. Even TicketWeb, ostensibly a substitute, shares parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp with Ticketmaster. All this in the name of supporting "venues" that veer more toward tourist traps, the House Of Blues pairing stages with family dining and $15 hamburgers.
While the divorce is far from final (and what of the children!?), it has been reported that Live Nation Chief Bigwig Michael Rapino is considering his own ticketing venture as a way to pad profits, barring a reconciliation. So while the two industry behemoths jockey for position, I am reminded of the tagline for the fine feature film, 2004's Alien vs. Predator. "Whoever wins... we lose."