Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger approved: What's in it for you?

Almost a year after Ticketmaster and Live Nation announced their intention to combine into one massive megacorporation, setting off a thorough anti-trust investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice has approved the merger. As of yesterday afternoon, the way is clear for the two concert-industry giants to become one, under the name Live Nation Entertainment. Ticketmaster currently sells tickets and manages artists, while Live Nation books tours and owns venues, among other things. So what does their merger mean for you, the everyday ticket-buying consumer?

According to DOJ chief Christine Varney, the answer is more money in your pocket: “We expect that we will see [ticket prices] coming down,” Varney said at a press conference attended by the Wall Street Journal. I wish I could believe she’s right. The sky-high ticket prices and out-of-control scalping you see today are symptoms of a concert industry that’s already dominated by these companies on their own. Call me a cynic, but given the way Ticketmaster in particular has historically treated its customer base — as walking ATMs, always ready to chip in a few more bucks for some made-up convenience fee or other — I’ll believe that this merger will benefit consumers when I see it.

That said, the Justice Department has extracted some key concessions to make sure the new company doesn’t abuse its power by retaliating against competitors, and I’m neither a lawyer nor a business expert, so maybe my skepticism is uncalled-for. How does this deal strike you? Do you believe that the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation will actually increase competition and bring down prices, as the DOJ is now convinced? Weigh in below.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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  • Jen

    BS – compainies that merge to increase their monopolies over the market always result in more expensive products.

    • Jen

      THat was directed at the quote, not the article, obviously.

    • JACK HART

      you read my mind jen … i will be watching more concerts on palladia

  • Joe

    To take to 2 dominate companies and combine them into 1 will lower prices???? Ummm, apparently, someone needs to retake economics 101. Having a monopoly has NEVER been in the consumers best interests. UGH!

  • Sen

    Actually, in this case it may actually work in our favor. Consider that these two companies merging will give them both more resources and less fees between the 2 (i.e. rental fee for the venue, etc..) so they may not need to charge customers as much. Even if this is not the case, there is also the possibility that other, smaller companies will lower prices to be more competitive for fear of losing more business as a result of the merger. You may think that I am naive, but I like to look on the brighter side.. it is possible :)

    • audrey

      It may make things more convenient and less expensive for them, but it is highly doubtful that they’ll pass those savings on to the consumer. I for one am PUMPED to pay a ridiculous convenience fee the next time I buy concert tickets. Grr.

    • MrNiceGuy

      Yea, right. I have oceanfront property in Pittsburgh that you may be interested in.

  • BW

    I agree with Joe. Its simple supply and demand. They will control about 95% of the supply, and seeing that demand won’t go down, its silly to think that they would lower thier prices, effictively lowering their profits. I truly have no idea how this merger was approved.

  • hc

    Economics is sort of irrelevant. Demand for concert tickets is pretty inelastic and going from 2 distributors to 1 isn’t that significant of a difference. When Live Nation first got into ticket selling rather than just promotion I had hope that it would bring service charges down, but Ticketmaster continues to charge ~$8 service fees and I just bought a ticket from Live Nation with a $14.00 (!) service fee. These companies never really competed so I wouldn’t expect to see much difference either way.

  • Bobby

    the sky is falling, the sky is falling!

    (heads off to buy tickets while everyone else is complaining)

    • peter

      the sky may not be falling, but while you’re buying your concert tickets you’ll still be taking it up the butt (probably even more so now) by LN and TM!

      • Bobby’s boyfriend

        That’s exactly the way Bobby likes it. He’s been a loyal Ticketmaster supporter for years…

  • William

    I just want them to put the complete price of the ticket as the “Ticket Price”. I am sick of them gouging under the guise of more and more “Fees”. American companies in general are shameless for this crap, but TicketMonster is the worst offender ever. I typically avoid going to concerts precisely because of the games they play. “sold out” until one or two days before the concert and then miraculously front section tickets come open for a super cheap price because they could not sell them all in “premium packages”? Nice, except for everyone else that had to pay as much for much worse seats because they were “sold out”. Honesty and Integrity sold out long ago I guess.

  • Louis

    Ticketmaster already dominates over 80% of the market, and overcharges. What is their incentive now to lower prices? Heck, they’ll probably charge more in the interim to cover the extra costs incurred in merging the companies. The DOJ forced some laughable “concessions” to save face, but none of them will stop a monopoly. If anything, the DOJ should have supported the two companies staying seperate since Live Nation was the best true competitor in the market in years!

  • John

    We’re screwed.

  • Dan

    Best case scenario is ticket prices stay the same. Any savings they make because they don’t have to pay each other’s “fees”, they will just keep as extra income. It doesn’t matter much to me anyway, they already priced me out of the market–I can get the same entertainment value by going to a small club or independent venue and paying half as much for a ticket. I don’t go to nearly as many big name concerts as I used to, I can’t afford it.

    • jwall

      diddo.

  • mike

    Historically when there is a monolpoly, prices go up. Based on their history, I would not expect them to turn any savings over to the consumer. This never should have been approved. The comsumer is going to get screwed.

  • Richard Kastelein

    Two huge publically traded companies merge to completely dominate the market – globally – as one publically traded company. Come on folks. It’s all about the money and the shareholders. Let’s face it.

  • Joe M

    I hate Ticketmaster. I go to the venue to buy tickets whenever possible to avoid their outrageous fees (often at least 33% of the ticket price in my experience). I encourage you all to do the same! There is NO WAY prices will come down as a result of this. Prices will stay the same, the fees between the companies will decrease (or be eliminated), and their profits will increase. I would love to be proved wrong, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Mario

    Ticketmaster is buying their ONLY real competitor. This will encourage competition how? I once tried to buy tix to a charity hockey game: $15 seats, $12 convenience fee plus $2 to ptint it myself. Since then i never buy from them. i go to the box office or go to smaller venues.

  • jwall

    As much as we’d all like to think this merger will be of benefit, I think your doubts are absolutely warranted both technically and practically.
    Technically, because there is a reason anti-trust laws exist- to protect the consumer from price gauging. That is one of the main points of a free market, and this is the one area where even the most conservative of economists warrant government intervention. Absence of competition is bad for the consumer.
    Practically, because any concert-goer has seen the unmitigated greed of corporations like Ticketmaster. As a teenager, I scoffed at the $7 fees tacked onto my ticket purchase. As an adult I scoff at the $27 fees tacked onto my ticket purchase. Needless to say, I have already refused their services.
    It would be counterintuitive to think that this merger would benefit our pocketbooks. But trust me, for the sake of the consumer, I hope I’m wrong.

    • SayWhat?

      Put down your thesaurus until you learn how to spell “gouging”.

      • OhLook

        A Troll!

    • SayWhat?

      Yea, one that knows how to spell and punctuate.

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