Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

Live Nation/Ticketmaster: Let the spin begin

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By mid-afternoon Tuesday, Live Nation and Ticketmaster finally had confirmed their merger as Live Nation Entertainment -- and the process of trying to portray this as a good thing for consumers instead of a disaster was well underway.

In an interview with the Associated Press, current Ticketmaster Chairman Barry Diller, who will also be chairman of the new company, was quick to say it will not raise ticket prices.

"Ticketmaster does not set prices. Live Nation does not set ticket prices. Artists set the prices," he said.

Of course, Ticketmaster DOES set the service charges, which can increase the price of a ticket by as much as 50 percent. And if Live Nation owns the venue, it DOES set the costs for an artists playing there, which DOES affect the price the artist decides to charge. (In other words, if an artist wants to charge $1 a seat, but the venue puts the cost of opening its doors at $5 per seat, the artist can't quite charge what he or she would really like to--unless of course they're willing to end up paying Live Nation to play.)

Diller also took aim at a new Canadian lawsuit essentially charging Ticketmaster with acting as the biggest, baddest ticket scalper on the block.

"They are just chasing cars down the road," he said. (Take that, Canada: You're nothing but the mangy dogs of North America!)

And Diller offered a little history on the merger:

"I have been trying and mostly consistently failing to put these companies together for many years now. Now is the time to do this."

So far, Wall Street does not seem to agree: Live Nation shares fell 42 cents, or 7.9 percent, to $4.87 in afternoon trading Tuesday, while Ticketmaster shares dipped 39 cents, or 5.9 percent,
to $6.18.

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I hate them too, but the market fell today because of the stimulus plan. EVERYBODY's stock price fell today.

Does anybody really care anymore about this stuff? If people don't like the prices, don't go. Vote with your dollars.

There are a bazillion things to do in Chicago, many free: Go to a park, walk a dog, go to one of the 400 street festivals featuring cover bands that still play The Outfield, walk in one of our many iron-fenced parks, read a book, walk an old person.

Re the stock, I say it is a Buy. Limited resources, endless demand = higher stock price. I guess evil does pay.

Whoa.... maybe Pearl Jam was right to take on TicketMaster all those years ago... cost them a bunch of 'fans' but they stood on their principal while the Corporate Mainstream Media poo pooed them....

Wake up people. The Bush Administration would approve this anti-competitive merger without batting an eye. Lets see if the Obama administration is a truely progressive one and cuts this down!

Hey Anonymous (if that's your real name!):

Yes, I am sure Obama has nothing more important to do than to make sure you don't pay too much to see Billy Joel and Elton John. Oh wait...any dollar amount would be too much.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on February 10, 2009 4:34 PM.

Live Nation's local execs: Merger, what merger? We're here to talk about Billy and Elton was the previous entry in this blog.

More Live Nation Entertainment spin is the next entry in this blog.

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