What happened at the Ticketmaster/Live Nation hearing?
All of the senators voiced strong skepticism about the merger--including traditional foes Orrin Hatch (R-UT, and an amateur recording artist) and Charles Schumer (D-NY, and a Bruce Springsteen fan outraged by Ticketmaster's handling of the upcoming tour)--and they hurled barbed questions about skyrocketing prices, duplicitous ticket schemes and unfair competition at Ticketmaster head Irving Azoff and Live Nation boss Michael Rapino.
A native of downstate Danville, Azoff stressed his background as a music fan who traveled to Comiskey Park to see the Beatles and who promoted acts such as Dan Fogelberg and REO Speedwagon during his time at the University of Illinois. "This business is in far worse shape than many people realize," he said, adding that the merger is necessary to save it.
Rapino cited the benefits of Live Nation shows to local economies, claiming that one two-day event last summer at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisc., pumped $5 million into the area. He did not name the artist.
Rapino also argued that competition is alive and well. He cited the example of Chicago, claiming that Live Nation only promotes 16 percent of the concerts here versus 29 percent promoted by Jam. Nationally, he said Live Nation only controls 38 percent of the concert business.....
[Continued at the Chicao Sun Times]
Reuters covered it too, and points out that "Sen. Charles Schumer urged Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff to sell TicketsNow, which gave its parent company a public relations black eye just before the merger was announced."