Ticketmaster And Live Nation Agree To Merge

That booming evil laughter you heard echoing across the sky earlier today came from the board room where Live Nation and Ticketmaster agreed to an all-stock merger between their two blighted companies. Ticketmaster Chairman Barry Diller says the merger will benefit customers, who are frequently “frustrated by their ticket buying experiences.” Oh! So by merging the two companies most responsible for those frustrations, we’ll cancel them out! This is doubleplus good, right?

Diller blames artists for your lousy ticket experiences, by the way:

“Ticketmaster does not set prices, Live Nation doesn’t set prices. Artists set the prices,” Diller said on a conference call. “Everyone else is just a distributor or a service provider.”

Lawmakers say they’ll give the merger a supposedly thorough review:

The agreement would “send ticket prices through the roof,” U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said today in an e-mailed statement.

“I will take a very close look at this merger before anything moves forward,” said Schumer, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee and called on the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to view the deal skeptically.

The new company will be called Live Nation Entertainment, which Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff confirmed on a conference call was a deliberate attempt to get away from the negative associations of his current company.

Oh, also, it was Visa’s fault that they couldn’t sell those Springsteen tickets more fairly. Diller said so.

“Live Nation, Ticketmaster to Merge in All-Stock Deal “ [Bloomberg]
(Photo: gruntzooki)

Comments

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  1. full.tang.halo says:

    well isn’t that just a C in the A for everyone who used to enjoy going to live music….

  2. Saboth says:

    Combine to form….Asstron!

    I’ll only see bands in small venues that don’t go through Ticketmaster or their ilk. Too bad for me I won’t see mega huge stars in person from 1/4 mile away for $200…I guess.

    • downwithmonstercable says:

      @Saboth: Most of the little places around Seattle use ticketmaster, it sucks. The only places that don’t are crap venues with terrible local bands.

  3. GC says:

    Oh hell no.

  4. jennyplain says:

    What’s that? A $10 merger fee per ticket? Excellent.

    • Preyfar says:

      @jennyplain: Don’t forget the additional $5 Acquisition Fee required for both companies to “coordinate” the sale of the ticket together.

      • Hank Scorpio says:

        @Preyfar:
        The last time I tried to buy tickets through Livenation, there was a $4 “Ticket fee”! Seriously! Thought the price of the ticket was the ticket fee. I guess I was wrong.

  5. Joeb5 says:

    Artists may set the prices but Ticketmaster does not set prices, Live Nation doesn’t set there own fees and other mark ups.

    • ras_d says:

      @Joeb5: not. TM sets their own prices via the ridiculous service charges, and LN does the same, and will act as the reseller with another set of fees.

      • floraposte says:

        @ras_d: Right. When I bitch about buying from Ticketmaster, I’m not bitching about the 50% of what I paid that goes to the actual ticket. I doubt that anybody else is either, despite Diller’s attempts to suggest that his customers aren’t singling his company out for its seven-layer fee frosting.

    • SacraBos says:

      @Joeb5: Sure they do. The artist sets the prices, TM sets up a large fee structure, and if really popular, “sells out” the tickets and scalps them on TicketNow. I’d wager that TicketMaster makes more profit / ticket than the artist you hope to see/support.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @Joeb5: it’s not the per-ticket prices that bug me.
      it’s spending $15 in service charges on a $20 lawn ticket that bugs me.

    • darkmstr says:

      @Joeb5: You’re sort of half wrong on this.
      The Artist sets the price for their appearance.
      The event promoters set ticket prices based on projected cost per ticket needed to cover the event, + a moderate profit.
      The promoter then sends the ticket scale to TM to handle the ticket distro.

      For the most part, the Artist isn’t involved at all, and the promoter is only involved to the extent that they track the face-value ticket sales, and the ability to pre-allocate blocks of tickets for their own use. Otherwise, TM can do whatever they like as long as the promoter is compensated the face value of the ticket.

  6. rubyfrog says:

    It’s endlessly amusing to me that Halliburton won “World’s Worst Company” instead of Ticketmaster. In my eyes, there is no company more evil than Ticketmaster. It’s the only service I’ve seen that is capable of turning 2 $15 concert tickets into a $55 bill. Truly amazing.

    • ScottRose says:

      @rubyfrog: Halliburton probably got 1% of my salary last year without my asking. Ticketmaster got 0% with my asking.

      I’ll go with ol’ Halli any day of the week. And I’m down with nominating Dick Cheney for the World’s Worst Dick award for 2000-2008 too.

  7. Rashied Amini says:

    Having just paid $13 in fees for an otherwise $30 ticket (which I couldn’t buy at the venue…thanks), I can only hope that this merger is blocked. The system is effectively so close to a monopoly now that it’ll just be gratuitous highway robbery.

    Death to Ticketmaster.

  8. jpdanzig says:

    It appears that the Bush years aren’t over yet…

    • buckfutt says:

      @jpdanzig:

      Yeah, that evil Dubya, pawn of the music business. Why, it had to be because of all the money and support he got from all those bands and record companies.

      Oh, wait…

  9. Anonymous says:

    What’s funny is that Ticketmaster has service fees, but there is no service given. Everything is automated so there is no person that must be paid to process your transaction. It reminds me of when companies say “for your convenience” and it’s really for theirs at your expense. My motto is if you can’t beat them, join them. Time to start scalping!

    • howie_in_az says:

      @EvanEnemaster: A recent booking with an airline showed a “convenience fee” of $5 to book the flight via the website. Calling a representative to book the ticket resulted in a fee of $15. How does one avoid this fee, besides simply not booking at all?

      I’m pretty sure the same thing will happen here if it’s not already.

    • veronykah says:

      @EvanEnemaster: That’s exactly what I thought the last time I bought ticketmaster tickets, I pay YOU $5 [or whatever it was] for the CONVENIENCE of standing in line to pick up my tickets at will call?
      Really? That’s convenient?

  10. mariospants says:

    Wow, they’re only 10 minutes old and they’re already top contender for WCOTY!

    Congratulations Live Nation.

  11. chiieddy says:

    I paid $7.50 in fees on a $25 ticket recently. That’s a 30% markup on the cost of the ticket. Scam artists.

    • yagisencho says:

      @chiieddy:

      Note to lawmakers – this company respects its customers, and should be used to compare and contrast:
      [www.brownpapertickets.com]

      “Brown Paper Tickets prides itself on providing the best possible customer service and the richest tool set, all for the lowest price in the industry. Ticket sellers pay nothing to use our service and ticket buyers pay only 99¢ and 2.5%”

      • downwithmonstercable says:

        @yagisencho: Problem is the way the ticket market works, big companies like Ticketmaster pay the venue to use them. Brown paper Tickets can’t afford to do that, so they lose out.

    • montecon says:

      @chiieddy: Thats… not that bad. I went to get Lily Allen (LiveNation) tickets this morning which were $20+$10.25 in fees each. Uh, no thanks.

      • Clobberella says:

        @montecon: I once tried to get in on a $10/ticket presale that my radio station was promoting. So I went to the Ticketmaster website, picked two tickets, crossed my fingers, and magically saw the price change from $20 to $45. Yeah, I don’t think so. With prices like that, I can’t wait to see what happens with the merger! 200% markup standard, 300% if you want to print your ticket.

  12. Principia says:

    The $100 ticket cost may not be set by TM or LN, but the egregious fees slapped on to every ticket certainly are. And that’s not even getting into the fact that they also turn a pretty dime off of their own in-house scalping system.

  13. ceez says:

    the reason why i dont go to live events is because of the astronomical fees placed by the ‘ticketing’ industry.

    “hey look honey we can see xyz show for 30 bucks a tickets…that’s 60+tax….checkout time….oh way, it’s 120 with all the fees. lets stay home and watch tv instead”

    this merger is preposterous, i hopo they deny this merger….it’s like xm and sirius….jacking prices and there’s no competition to stop em’.

    all about the GREEEEEEEEED!

    This country should change it’s name to United States of GREEDY Americans! sadly enough :(

  14. JGKojak says:

    A few problems I have with this:
    1) Isn’t it illegal to contract w/venues and essentially shut out all non-Live Nation subscribing artists?

    2) If even the biggest civic minded artists (Pearl Jam, U2, Springsteen) are too small to run around these two, its a MONOPOLY.

    3) This merger should be stopped dead in its tracks.

    • golddog says:

      @JGKojak: I don’t know if it’s illegal but that’s exactly what they do. Venues are inextricably tied to ticketing which is inextricably tied to artists. If venues allow non-ticketmaster artists / ticketing that TM doesn’t like, the entire TM artist repertoire is held as blackmail to that venue, e.g., “Hey Theater X…stop booking gigs for Artist Y who sells tix through ticketing system Z if you ever want to see Devo (or whoever) on your stage again”.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This merger is the music buisiness equivalent of “breaking the seventh seal.”

    I’m sick of the fees, and I see it just getting worse.

    I can’t believe I actually miss standing outside the local record store on Saturday morning in order to buy a concert ticket…

  16. quail says:

    Hey, my cable provider has Palladium Channel. A high def, live performance channel. And the sound is great. I’ll vote with my feet and stay put for now. No need to spend the big bucks when I can catch a performance from a year ago. Don’t have to worry about vomit getting on my shoes either.

  17. Segador says:

    All hail Satan! Long live the death of live music!

  18. sonneillon says:

    Maybe we should avoid buying from Ticketmaster and start buying from their smaller competitors. If they don’t make any money from the tickets then they’ll have to charge more reasonable fees or go bankrupt.

    • tomok97 says:

      @sonneillon: Ticketing companies have exclusive deals with venues. So the only way to avoid using them is to avoid seeing you’re favorite artist if they choose to play a Ticketmaster venue. That’s something most people aren’t willing to do.

      • sonneillon says:

        @tomok97: It’s the only way to get ticket master to change. But since ticket master knows people will pay more than the ticket price sometimes many more times they will keep jacking up the price. It’s a shame really. There are alternatives and I’ve been to great shows done through the alternative ticket venders.

    • philipbarrett says:

      @sonneillon: Like $3.50 a share isn’t bankrupt already?

    • veronykah says:

      @sonneillon: I’d be happy to, if ANYONE else sold the tickets.
      I’m trying to see a show this weekend, small venue, small time band, no such luck. Either I fork out $8 in charges on a $20 ticket or go to the venue and hope to get tix at the door.
      I’m opting for the latter, if I have to pay the fee, I won’t buy the tickets.

    • Saboth says:

      @sonneillon:
      They’ll probably file for bankruptcy, get 20 billion in bailout money then continue business.

    • katekate is zombies says:

      @sonneillon: How exactly can we do that? They have no more competitors anymore.

  19. Hank Scorpio says:

    And the asshole of the year award goes to, drum-roll please, …

    Ticketmaster Chairman Barry Diller!

    Let’s give him a round of applause!

    • suburbancowboy says:

      @Hank Scorpio: HOly Crap. I had no idea Barry Diller was the chairman? I still hate that guy for cancelling Alien Nation when he was the CEO of Fox.

      Now I really hate that guy. He sure has his hands in a lot of piles of crap. He was CEO of QVC too. Boy that guy sucks.

  20. Wit says:

    Yes, the artists set the ticket prices. TicketMaster sets the fees for their distribution services that bring the price you pay from $10 to $35. Oh noes! Consumers can parse fuzzy PR-speak too!

    Also, I heart Senator Schumer.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Goodthinkful says “Ticketmaster is Live Nation. Ticketmaster has always been Live Nation. Any other thoughts should go in the memory hole.”

  22. ElizabethD says:

    So, maybe the ticket contracts should charge the *artists* (greedy, all of them!) those inflated handling fees instead of tacking them onto already inflated ticket prices for customers.

    Yeah. I can see that happening. :-/

  23. Hank Scorpio says:

    Burns: [chuckles] And to think, Smithers: you laughed when I bought TicketMaster. “Nobody’s going to pay a 100% service charge.”

  24. darkryd says:

    I’m sure Eddie Vedder is shaking his head in disgust right now. And rightfully so.

  25. downwithmonstercable says:

    Have to say LOL to the George Orwell reference. Nice touch.

  26. ScottRose says:

    Let them jack up prices for unnecessary entertainment in the middle of an economic crapstorm. Hopefully they’ll have to take the coke straw out of their noses long enough to Google “dollar vote”.

  27. UnicornMaster says:

    “Ticketmaster does not set prices, Live Nation doesn’t set prices. Artists set the prices,” Diller said on a conference call.

    It’s not the ticket prices that bother me, it’s the 50% SERVICE FEE!!!! Jackass!

  28. EndlessMike says:

    I try to avoid Ticketmaster as much as possible, but when even the competition is terrible, it doesn’t really matter. I paid $4 to have a ticket from Tickets.com mailed to me. $4 to drop a ticket and maybe an invoice in an envelope! And that was on top of the $4 “service charge.” You can’t win short of never going to live events, and what’s the fun in that?

    • floraposte says:

      @EndlessMike: And, of course, if you had gotten e-tickets and printed them out yourself, you’d have paid a special fee for that, too.

      • NinjaMarion says:

        @floraposte: Yeah, that’s the absolutely ridiculous part. On top of the insane service fees and stuff, if you want to be able to print your tickets, rather than having Ticketmaster have to print them, package them up in an envelope, and send them off to you in the mail (with no expected date other than “no later than 48 hours before the event”), they tack on an extra fee for using your own ink and paper to print them out. It doesn’t even make sense.

  29. audiochick says:

    A quote from the article:

    “Too many tickets go unsold and too many fans are frustrated with their ticket-buying experiences,” Rapino said. The new company will work to simplify the ticketing process and increase attendance at events, he said.

    As if. Ticket buying online is not in and of itself a difficult experience. The vast majority of the time, people are choosing to not go to shows because they don’t want to pay a 30%-50% markup on their tickets, not because can’t navigate the website. (Except for the whole Bruce Springsteen debacle. That’s outrageous!)

  30. Kaellorian says:

    Chuck Schumer’s on it, everybody! Relax!

  31. Omar Elizondo says:

    You gotta love ticketmaster because they make everyone laugh. I mean, come on…they rip everyone off and people still buy tickets from them.

    Regardless of prices people will still go.Ticketmaster knows this. It’s like those dumb movies “Meet the Spartans” and “Teen/Date/Blah Movies.” those are still made and people will still go. But Ticketmaster doesn’t seem to get better, only worse. I predict in the future they won’t have the fees added on to your ticket. But if you didn’t pay the fees you get punched in the face at the gate.

    I can’t wait until that place burns to the ground.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how much it’s going to cost now in order for them to process our credit cards in a “secure environment”. Let’s see, it costs me NOTHING to use my credit card at my local diner, but somehow to use my credit card online costs me 5 dollars. But even then, this fee only applies when ordering concert tickets. Every other product/service on the internet does not have an additional credit card or vaguely defined “handling fee” associated with it. But, apparently, Ticketmaster is getting screwed by whomever handles their internet security and are forced to pass this charge on to the consumer ( they must have signed a 30 year contract with the first ever company of this nature). I mean, if they didn’t pass the charge on to the customer, their completely unnecessary middleman position, in which they provide a non-existent “service”, would come to an end! And then where would we be?*

    Ticket selling should be done online by each venue. Period. And I’m sorry, it doesn’t cost Ticketmaster $10 per TICKET to “handle” them, especially in the case where people are printing their own tickets. In fact, I dare say there’s barely any handling going on at all. And consumers should be the ones charging Ticketmaster a “convenience” charge, as it’s awfully convenient for them to not have employees answering the phones or in ticket booths physically processing our orders.

    * a lot better off and in possession of more of our money.

  33. theblackdog says:

    Well I won’t be attending any sports events or concerts anymore, unless I find some season ticket holders who can’t attend a game.

  34. suburbancowboy says:

    The Sirius XM merger took well over a year to go through because of politicians in the pocket of terrestrial radio (mainly clear channel), even though that was not a monopoly.

    This is clearly a monopoly. Ticketmaster bought ticketweb, which was its only viable competitor. The Live Nation came along with an inferior competing product with even higher service charges than ticketmaster. But this merger will probably be allowed to go through because Live Nation owns so many politicians.

    It amazes me that ticketmaster charges “convenience fees” for buying online, when it is cheaper and more convenient for them too. An automated web ticketing system is far more convenient and cheaper for them than having live operators answer your phone calls. Remember Ticketron?

    I’ve seen convenience charges that were as expensive as the tickets were. Actually, K-Rock NY had a concert where the tickets were 92 cents. The convenience charge was like 5 bucks though.

  35. JollyJumjuck says:

    Maybe if enough people wise up and stop buying tickets through these scam artist companies, they will have to lower their prices. Of course, they’ll probably just blame it on something else like piracy.

  36. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    Too many tickets go unsold and too many fans are frustrated with their ticket-buying experiences

    Like how I tried to buy Jimmy Buffet tickets this weekend, somehow a huge amphitheater was sold out in under 3 minutes (including the lawn area, which never sells out)…and yet there were thousands available online at other ticket reselling sites at more than double the price…

    That is why I don’t buy tickets from Ticketmaster, but that was supposed to be as a gift this time…

  37. b612markt says:

    This is really really really really awful and I’m just sickened!

  38. RosalieCabatan says:

    who can i email at the DOJ to make my voice heard?

  39. Hank Scorpio says:

    There can never be too many Simpson’s references! Never!

    • Philthadelphian says:

      @Hank Scorpio: Other people’s perceptions of what constitutes too many Simpsons references may vary from those of Globex Corporation, its subsidiaries and shareholders.

  40. athmsVT says:

    Why are venues not required to list the ticket price with fees?

    - That is a simple regulation that does not interfere with free trade. It requires the venue be upfront. No fine print either. Maybe a Door – 10$/ TicketMaster 20$, but that would be it.

    - I never figured out was why venues do not release tickets in blocks more often. Generally they raise prices with each block, but they can also reduce the price if a block is taking to long to move. If they think tickets are going to move really quick, they can start high and lower the price as time goes on. The more a person wants a ticket the more they will spend to guarantee they get one. Conversely if you expect tickets to move slow or have a very large venue start low and go high. It ensures the artist and venue get the most out of ticket, as opposed to scalpers. As a venue or artist why let a ticket seller take money you could be putting your pocket.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Artists do not set ticket prices. They are paid a flat fee per performance or a percentage of the gross ticket sales. Ticket prices are set by the promoters, producers, and presenters (for Live Nation shows they are at least 2/3 of these). Diller either has no clue about that side of the industry or is a liar. Live Nation has an anti-trust history if you track it back to it’s original creator (Clear Channel Entertainment). They were sold to a Canadian mega company a few years ago, but the same business plan seems to be in effect.

  42. citybuddha says:

    Actually, the ticket prices are set more often by the promoter than the artist and that, in many cases, is Live Nation.
    The ticket prices are also set by you ,the concert goer is willing to pay these fees
    Is the experience worth it? Stop going to concerts, en masse.
    Watch the artists get the message and get more creative on the business side
    Stop supporting these rats.
    Then watch the price fall and hopefully the mergered king rat
    Get a massage instead!

  43. erikislame says:

    This is complete horseshit. If the gov’t doesn’t stop this, I have no idea wtf.

  44. Sarcasmo48 says:

    @undefined: @Hank Scorpio: It’s a policy that ensures a healthy mix of the rich and the ignorant, sir.

  45. Dan Kelley says:

    Something needs to be done that prevents them from legally scalping their own tickets. I’ll file comments with the justice department on this deal!

  46. Anonymous says:

    This is going to go as well for consumers as the Sirus-XM merger did. Congress will give it a “thorough going-over,” pass it with conditions to protect consumers, and those conditions will be easily circumvented once the merger goes through so the screws can be put to us for more money.

    I seldom attend concerts because I hate TicketBastard so much. Those a-holes had the nerve to charge me a convenience fee when I got up early on a Saturday and drove 40 minutes to a venue box office. What, pray tell, was so convenient about THAT?

    The number one condition for approval of this merger should be this: They cannot advertise the face value of the ticket, EVER. They must be up front about the ticket price INCLUDING any and all BS fees/surcharges/etc that get tacked on afterwards– up front meaning you see that price well before you get 4 pages into the ordering process on their website and find out that those two $20 tickets you want are actually going to cost you $75.

  47. RichasB says:

    Saying this merger will help the general consumer would be similar to when Hilter and Stalin joined forces to “Help Humanity”.

    Music is dead to me now….

  48. AldisCabango says:

    I quit buying tickets thru tickemaster when they started the “paperless” ticket. Way I look at it i’ll actually pay of my credit cards now that I am not charging 150 bucks a month on tickemaster.

  49. Desk_hack says:

    Just to clarify, the artists are only partially responsible for the ticket prices (or rather, their booking agents). The rest of it can be blamed on the concert promoter and the venue.

    But most everyone on here is right with regard to TM/LN. If Bruce Springsteen wanted to charge $100 for a ticket, his fans would pay it. In fact, they might even pay a small fee to not have to stand outside to buy them, maybe $5-$10. My issue, as is everyone else’s it seems, is with the extra fees, like the “handling” fee (what handling?), the “convenience” fee (convenient for them), and the “how nice we are to let you even attend a concert” fee. They f-ing suck. I want to see Modest Mouse in LA at the end of the month. Tickets are $35, which I think is fair. What isn’t fair is the extra $13 Ticketbastard is trying to get me to pay. I’m going to take my chances and buy tickets the night of the show so those a-holes don’t get that extra 33%.

  50. Anonymous says:

    When I went to the Livenation website, it redirected me to the Ticketmaster website. This leads me to believe that the companies are merging operations – even before a merger is approved.

    I am against this merger. Ticketmaster and Livenation already have too much control over the prices that the public pays.

    Today, the posted price of an event is never the final price. The final price includes fees upward of 25%. The consumer has no choice as the only place to buy the event tickets online is with one of these companies. If these companies merge, they will be able to hike the prices up as far as they like. The consumer will lose.

    Please fight against this merger and for the consumer.

  51. golddog says:

    Great. I can’t wait to not go to even more Ticketmaster ticketed shows. If there’s a band I must go see live, I’ll burn as much if not more of the equivalent in convenience fees in gas to go to the box office and get tickets directly.

    There’s no way this will get through Justice. In fact, I’d advocate that Justice look at breaking up their existing stranglehold on this market. Historically, TM has eventually crushed all smaller competitors. Ticketron and SCI Ticketing are two examples. I know its not a service essential to daily survival, but neither was bundling Internet Explorer with Windows and this is WAY more annoying.

  52. wmpp says:

    As sad as the conglomeration seems, I wish it would have happened a couple of weeks ago. Say what you want about Ticketmaster, but at least they’ve built an online ticketing system that can handle traffic spikes. Live Nation’s ticketing system is *TERRIBLE*. Very underpowered for the artists they thought they could serve.

    It took me two hours to buy tickets for a Phish show that went on sale two weeks ago. Their site was hammered and they had neither the servers nor the bandwidth to handle the load. I had excellent seats in my cart more than once and lost them to a timed out checkout process. A sad day for me indeed.

  53. Coyote says:

    All I can say is this is the best thing to happen to music ever. The last place artists had to make money after being forced into contracts with their CD sales was live venues. Now they don’t even have that. (not that this hasn’t been the situation for a long while now anyways, just saying this is another nail in the coffin)

  54. grapedog says:

    this is why I stopped going to most concerts…looks like that trend will continue.

  55. econobiker says:

    Something related about a “borg” comes to mind in considering this merger…

  56. lowercase says:

    Well, Justice says they’re going to look into it. Just like they did for XM+Sirius, I’m sure.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Irving Azoff is the CEO of Ticketmaster?? He’s the guy that came up with the idea to screw Don Felder out of royalties during The Eagles “Hell Freezes Over” tour. Don Felder ended up settling out of court for an un-disclosed amount but I bet it was a huge sum. This guy is a greedy scum bag. Ticket prices will go through the roof and theres nothing we can do about it.

  58. AgentTuttle says:

    Anyone want to play Monopoly?

  59. coren says:

    Hey, I’ll bet this goes through, and then we’ll get people claiming it’s not a monopoly cuz you have an ipod!

  60. shy31002 says:

    Fees are the least of my worries… Live Nation/Ticketmaster’s website was downed by the overwhelming demand they self-inflicted by beginning to sell tickets for 18 different Dave Matthews Band concerts today. If you can’t support the demand, well then why not spread it out a little?????

    This has been a repeated problem with this concert series, even since they began selling American Express pre-sale tickets. There’s got to be a better system!!!!