Dark ominous clouds have formed over Wall Street: various news outlets are reporting that Ticketmaster and Live Nation have agreed to merge, creating a behemoth entertainment monstrosity that will surely devour music fans with gnashing teeth made of services fees and jacked-up secondary marketplace prices.
Ticketmaster will be bolstered by Live Nation's control of North American venues, including Toronto's Molson Amphitheatre, as well as their regional promoters, and exclusive management deals, which include "360" deals with moneymakers like Jay-Z and Madonna.
But more importantly for Ticketmaster, any threat of competition to the ticketing monopoly they control is now safely contained. Not that TM needed to worry all the much considering Live Nation's recent botched ventures in ticketing. Just ask Phish fans.
Still, makes you wonder how one company can be so dominant for so long in a free enterprise marketplace. You almost have to respect their warrior-like tenacity to destroy competitors.
Live Nation's main benefit, besides cost saving, is that elusive piece of the revenue stream that comes from gut-punching service fees tacked on tickets, from both their original services and the new ultra-gouging secondary marketplace system - the Craigslist-mimicking TicketsNow, a murky legal loophole subsidiary website where TM essentially becomes that a-hole scalper outside the venue.
The secondary marketplace website is a frightening glimpse into live entertainment's dark future. Take the recent on-sale fiasco for Bruce Springsteen. Sure, there is outrage right now; even an investigation, but how long before we become complacent to dealing with TicketsNow the same way we've become with their inexplicable-high fees? And you just know the time interval between buying from TM and being bounced to TicketsNow is going to get shorter and shorter.
Once again live music fans are backed into a wall.
Maybe it's time to reevaluate our priorities and rethink supporting stadium artists since they refuse to stand up for us and against an economic model with no future. The industry doesn't seem to care about its audience, so maybe the audience should return the favour.