Posted in industry | music on February 4, 2009

Madonna Ticket

Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. and Live Nation Inc. are close to a merger, people familiar with the matter said, in a deal that would consolidate two of the most powerful forces in the music industry under one roof.

The combined company would be called Live Nation Ticketmaster, and would merge the world's biggest concert promoter with the world's dominant ticketing and artist-management company. The resulting firm would be able to manage everything from recorded music to ticket sales and tour sponsorship. It could package artists in new ways, for example, allowing corporations such as a cellphone provider to sponsor a concert tour and to sell an exclusive download of a song.

Live NationBecause it would be so vertically integrated, the new company would also be able to muscle out competing concert promoters and have more power to dictate ticket prices to consumers.

The boards of both companies have yet to approve the all-stock merger, these people said. Terms of what these people described as a merger of equals have yet to be worked out. It was unclear last night which company would be acquiring the other. Live Nation's market capitalization, at $390 million, is slightly higher than Ticketmaster's $351 million. But the concert promoter has more debt and less cash.

Sticking points remain to any deal. Because a merger would concentrate so much power in the music industry under one company, it would require review by antitrust authorities. The deal, which wouldn't entail any exchange of cash, could be announced as early as next week, these people said. [Wall Street Journal]

Crazy. I'm guessing if it goes through, Live Nation would go back to selling tickets on Ticketmaster. That would also be weird since many of Live Nation's competitors use Ticketmaster and Ticketweb to sell tickets (Bowery Presents and AEG for instance).

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Comments (50)

Jesus. This American economy is truly headed for the shitter.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 2:19 AM

This is great news for those of us who enjoy being repeatedly fucked hard in the ass.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 2:20 AM

NOOO! I don't want to pay the inconvenient "convenience" fees. That's the reason Live Nation exists/

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 2:20 AM

This is terrible news. With Circuit City out of the picture Best Buy has already increased its prices. Everything's getting worse. Only downhill from here.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 2:47 AM

you know it's important when it's posted at 2:00 am and there are five comments by 3

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 3:01 AM

Bad news for everyone. Where do I sign up in protest?

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 3:35 AM

Instead of $10 add on fees - the add on fees will be $20 per tkt?

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 7:02 AM

not defending ticketmaster, because it truly IS evil, but ever since LiveNation started ticketing, their convenience charges have been HIGHER than ticketmaster's....amazing.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 7:22 AM

there really should be a govt investigation into their BOHICA business practices

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 7:23 AM

Yeah insance ticket surcharges Franz Ferdinand $32.50 came to $47.70! No thanks!

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 7:28 AM

So lets get this straight....
nearly all venues booked by Live Nation used Ticketmaster already, then Live Nation started their own ticketing system like a month ago with a lot of problems , so now Live Nation just merged with Ticketmaster.
Meet the new boss.... same as the old boss

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 7:53 AM

"Bad news for everyone. Where do I sign up in protest?"

Don't buy anything from ticketmaster. You'll miss some shows but you might not feel as violated.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 7:59 AM

what happened to cash and the good old box office?

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 8:14 AM

what happened to cash and the good old box office?


a thing of the past... even if you buy in person with cash at box offices (if they still exist) they'll charge you another $2.50 or something.
Theres no such thing as a face value ticket when it comes to Live Nation and T M

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 8:25 AM

"This is great news for those of us who enjoy being repeatedly fucked hard in the ass."

While I get your point, you haven't lived until you've been fucked hard in the ass by a trusted lover who knows what he (or she) is doing.

Posted by Goatse | February 4, 2009 8:26 AM

You can buy without service charges at the Mercury Lounge box office for all general admission Bowery Presents shows. Oddly, Live Nation lets you buy w/o service charge at Irving Plaza for NYC Live Nation venue GA shows as well. Cash only at the Mercury Lounge, but Irving Plaza takes credit cards.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 8:30 AM

Nokia Theatre, BB Kings, Highline Ballroom & many other area venues still take cash or credit at the box office with no fees. It's the convenience of ticketmaster and laziness of the American population that makes the convenience charge so convenient.

That's a lot of convenience, hence the $$$$$.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 8:35 AM


>Live Nation lets you buy w/o service charge at Irving Plaza for NYC Live Nation venue


are you sure there's no service charge at all ?
also is there anyone worth seeing at Irving Plaza
anymore ?

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 8:37 AM

Last time I bought a ticket for a show at B.B. King's at the box office there (a little over a year ago), they did charge a small fee (nowhere near as much as Ticketbastard's, though).

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 8:41 AM

Convenience fees wont go up (so as to appease the 'public' on a sensitive topic) but by taking control of promotion, they'll raise the overall cost by upping the ticket prices....across the board. Vertical is right...

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 8:42 AM

Somebody call Pearl Jam

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 8:51 AM

From the Live Nation website:

Cash, Visa(R), MasterCard(R), and American Express are accepted. The Fillmore at Irving Plaza Box Office sells tickets for most Live Nation events at The Fillmore NY @ Irving Plaza, The Blender Theater @ Gramercy, Roseland Ballroom, Hammerstein Ballroom, Warsaw, McCarren Park Pool, and Central Park Summerstage. Tickets cannot be purchased over the phone. Tickets can also be purchased through Live Nation.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 9:04 AM

"You can buy without service charges at the Mercury Lounge box office for all general admission Bowery Presents shows. Oddly, Live Nation lets you buy w/o service charge at Irving Plaza for NYC Live Nation venue GA shows as well. Cash only at the Mercury Lounge, but Irving Plaza takes credit cards."

This is true and in theory it really is best way to avoid convenience charges. But one quick question - how many shows will still have tickets for sale by the time someone heads to Mercury Lounge after work?

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 9:14 AM

So the Sirius/XM merger took well over a year to be approved because the radio industry had so many politicians paid off. Despiter the fact that the merger would not be monopolistic.

Now we have these two massive companies which would truly create a monopoly, and I am sure the merger will just fly through. Remember, Live Nation is a spinoff of Clear Channel, which owns so may politicians. Most people also don't realize that Ticketweb is owned by Ticketmaster. They try to keep it separate so Ticketweb keeps its "little guy" image.

We The People should be able to oppose this merger and prevent it from happening.

Convenience charge for buying online? It's more convenient for them too! It costs almost nothing to run a few web servers, compared to having a live human being on the phone to take a call. but if we want our tickets we have no choice but to take it from them.

Posted by Kurt C | February 4, 2009 9:14 AM

"how many shows will still have tickets for sale by the time someone heads to Mercury Lounge after work?"

I've been able to get tickets at Mercury for almost every show I've wanted after work. Even sold out shows ... and MHOW sells them on Saturdays too.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 9:25 AM

Call and write to your 2 Senators and your one representative. Don't fool around with silly petitions.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 9:27 AM

save youself some money by starting a lame-ass blog so you can get yourself on the guestlist for whatever show you want.

Posted by Musicsnobbery | February 4, 2009 9:32 AM

Get Obama to help! He wants change and this merger will leave NO change in anyone's pocket!

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 9:35 AM

This is going to have HUGE anti-trust problems, dont expect this to go through quickly.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 9:47 AM

Just stop going to overpriced shows that's all.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 10:42 AM

Agree with anon @10:42. I'm skipping Cat Power at the Apollo and Antony at Town Hall as I'm tired of paying around $50 to see a gig. Plenty of small shows for $20 or less and you get to support artists that could really use the money.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 10:55 AM

"... and MHOW sells them on Saturdays too."

Mercury too. I didn't realize that MHOW had a daytime box office, though. Thanks!

But I agree that this "vertical integration" of the largest ticket seller in the US with the largest concert promoter in the US sounds like unfair competition to me. TicketMaster is already using it's market leverage to charge excessive fees.

BTW, does anyone else think that LiveNation's apparently failed attempt at ticketselling seems to have been more of a bluff than a serious business expansion? I think this merger has been in the works for a lot longer than it looks.

Posted by Aaron | February 4, 2009 11:08 AM

Cat Power...very good but not worth more than 25 bucks to see.

Antony....DO NOT MISS AT ANY PRICE!!!

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 11:09 AM

oh it's definitely been a ruse - this has shadiness written all over it.

Furthermore, I'm surprised no one has really considered the fact that Clear Channel and Live Nation shared board members when they were separately "spun off" a few years back - doesn't it seem as if this is all truly even a larger move to integrate all ticketing with Clear Channel?


The music industry will be one.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 11:11 AM

>Agree with anon @10:42. I'm skipping Cat Power at the Apollo and Antony at Town Hall as I'm tired of paying around $50 to see a gig. Plenty of small shows for $20 or less and you get to support artists that could really use the money.


you can just as well blame the unions for expensive theater prices
I guarantee you there are individual stagehands making more than some band members at these shows.
I'm not against unions by any means but it's gotten out of hand. Also I'm not saying that some shows aren't too expensive but you would be surprised how little of that money you pay actually goes to the artists in some of these theaters... which is a big reason why bands end up playing places like Terminal 5

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 11:12 AM

Will they be able to handle Phish shows?

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 12:30 PM

geez obama, do something!!!

Posted by sarah | February 4, 2009 1:04 PM

"you can just as well blame the unions for expensive theater prices"
"you would be surprised how little of that money you pay actually goes to the artists in some of these theaters... which is a big reason why bands end up playing places like Terminal 5"

I don't follow the logic. I get that you think stagehands are overpaid, but why does this force bands to play Terminal 5? Are you saying Bowery gives a bigger cut than LiveNation?

Posted by Aaron | February 4, 2009 2:27 PM

I don't follow the logic. I get that you think stagehands are overpaid, but why does this force bands to play Terminal 5? Are you saying Bowery gives a bigger cut than LiveNation?


its about the costs / overhead, Terminal 5 is a big open rock club in a lower rent area , they don't have the union & rent costs of proper theaters. It doesn't matter whether its Bowery or Live Nation promoting the theater shows. Bands get way more money at Terminal 5 because they don't have those crazy costs... so the only way bands can get paid close to what they get at Terminal 5 is to charge high tickets. Most of the time this works because people will pay a little more for a seat at a nice theatre but when you start adding big TM fees the price goes way up

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 4:14 PM

11:12 is correct about the stage hand unions gouging the hell out of anything that they can.

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 5:51 PM

"geez obama, do something!!!"

You mean,

WHERE IS OBAMA AT? HURRY UP

Posted by Anonymous | February 4, 2009 7:22 PM

"So the Sirius/XM merger took well over a year to be approved because the radio industry had so many politicians paid off."

i wonder why people are so dead set on creating this battle between terrestrial and satellite radio. there is NO battle. terrestrial radio hasn't "paid off" politicians to keep satellite down, and frankly, given how poorly satellite's doing and how they're finding any way possible to inflate their numbers [including cutting deals that involve putting their mediocre systems in new cars & counting those as sales], terrestrial radio's got nothing to worry about.

but i digress...

i'm almost glad now that i moved somewhere where i won't be seeing any concerts anytime soon. they were getting expensive enough as it was before these shenanigans came about.

Posted by massromantic | February 4, 2009 7:29 PM

"its about the costs / overhead, Terminal 5 is a big open rock club in a lower rent area..."

Thanks for clarifying. Makes sense.

Posted by Aaron | February 4, 2009 7:54 PM

I agree, I think it is odd that two of the most successful companies, who were competing against one another a short time ago, are all of a sudden joining forces and becoming some sort of super-company. I'm also afraid of Live Nation Ticketmaster having even more of a monopoly on ticket sales than they already did. It's hard, especially in this economy, to afford to go to shows. We all know that a monopoly is not good for the economy, and Live Nation and Ticketmaster's extra fees really add on a lot to the general ticket price, and have often been the reason why I choose not to go to a specific show. If the high ticket prices of Live Nation and Ticketmaster continue, myself and many others may be forced to just attend the local $10 shows.

Posted by radiohead | February 5, 2009 1:45 AM

Gee, the ability to avoid a $15 surcharge at the Mercury Lounge & Bowery Ballroom would be swell if Van Morrison was playing there. Or, say, Fleetwood Mac. Or, Bruce Springsteen.

I know I lack the "credibility" of some without having a Brooklyn address, trust fund, goatee, & fondness for smoking & not bathing regularly, there are more venues in NYC than those owned by Bowery Presents.

This is ridiculous, especially as I've had two or three tickets in recent years get "lost" in the mail, despite Ticketmaster's "expert" handling abilities.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 3:20 AM

Chip on your shoulder, anon @ 3:20?

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 4:07 AM

Clue in your head, anon 4:07?

Fact is, Ticketmaster & its kind are a problem, but so are the people here who cannot think past how that problem might be solved in their own miniscule little worlds "Gee, I'll go to a show at the Mercury Lounge."

Retreating for lesser quality bands in cramped quarters doesn't make the problem go away.

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 11:05 AM

fucking money!!! damn it!

Posted by Anonymous | February 5, 2009 6:02 PM

i don't like bigger shows generally but sometimes a solid one will come up. if i have to go to irving plaza, oh excuse me, "the filmore" barf, i'll get my ticket from the master of tickets at the boxoffice and avoid the charge...i really want to see isis and pelican next week but i heard [and i unwittingly exerienced] live nation has a service charge AT the box office too?!?! THIS MAKES NO SENSE!!! the whole point of the service charge was that they were doing you a service by giving you a means to get the ticket away from the venue.

Now i'm not sure if i want to see isis enough to pay 29 dollars. the "ticket" is 20...the "service charge" is almost 50%!! this is ridiculous.

i really dig the bands but i don't know if i want to pay 9 dollars to support an organization i don't think is needed in any way shape or form.

we should really start banding together against these fees. like pearl jam.

Posted by :: smo :: | May 25, 2009 12:32 PM

To give you some perspective on people's attitudes on working people generally and the working stage technicians in particular, go to 2/04/09 4:14PM.
"you can just as well blame the unions for expensive theater prices
I guarantee you there are individual stagehands making more than some band members at these shows."
The venues cited as having overpriced union stagehands, men and women that work under difficult conditions and with erratic hours, the Bowery, Irving Plaza, etc don't have union contracts and the stagehands live a hand to mouth existence. The venue he lauds as making more money for band members, Terminal 5, has a Local One, IATSE, contract.
The problem stems not from the people that make the show work, who load-in the gear, set up the event, help to make the band look and sound good, load out the gear and get home in time to see the sunrise.It stems from the people that are creating the entertainment monopolies, who are running the clubs. Blaming working people is so Reagan.

Posted by One NYC Stagehand | September 22, 2009 12:21 PM

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