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.
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