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Corgan to Congress, Part II: Here, at last, is the Great Pumpkin's letter supporting the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger

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Billy Corgan declined to give the letter to the Sun-Times, and a spokesman for Sen. Herb Kohl, chairman of the Committee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, said that as of Monday evening, his office has yet to receive the elusive missive.

Thankfully, Ticketmaster has finally provided a copy of Corgan's letter endorsing its merger with giant concert promoter Live Nation. The full text follows.

Dear Chairmen Kohl & Leahy and Ranking Members Hatch & Specter:

The merger as proposed before you on the surface may seem to be too much power in the hands of the few, and I can understand the need for Congress to review this matter. Here I would hope that my 20 years in the recording and touring business will allow me some candid authority on these issues, and would help shed some light for you on some of the nuances that perhaps could easily get missed.

The 'system' that was once the modern record business, essentially ushered in with the meteoric rise of the Beatles, is now helplessly broken. And by almost every account available cannot be repaired. Personally I would add to that a healthy 'good riddance,' as the old system far too often took advantage of the artists as pawns while the power brokers colluded behind the scenes to control the existing markets. This control often saw the sacrificing of great careers to maintain that control. Look no further than the major record labels' intense fight to slow down the progress of Internet technologies that more readily brought music and video to the consumer because they couldn't completely control it. This disastrous decision on their part has destroyed the economic base of the recording industry. It is now a shadow of its former self.

Artists now find a heavy shift of emphasis to the live performance side, and this is where this merger finds its merit. The combination of these companies creates powerful tools for an independent artist to reach their fans in new and unprecedented ways, all the while restoring the power where it belongs. In today's ever changing world, the ability for artists to connect to their fans and stay connected is critical for the health of our industry. Without sustainable, consistent economic models upon which to make key decisions, it is both the music and the fans that suffer.

In short, we have a broken system. This is a new model that puts power into the hands of the artist, creating a dynamic synergy that will inspire great works and attract healthy competition. The proposed merger you have before you helps create those opportunities by boldly addressing the complexity of the existing musical and economic landscapes.

Billy Corgan

The Smashing Pumpkins


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Mr. Corgan was busy in Washington today, first appearing before the House Committee on the Judiciary in a hearing on Performance Rights Act, then delivering a letter in support of the controversial Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger. You can read some of... Read More


I can't believe this. He may be right about the "system", but nothing he addresses can't be fixed by the existing companies competing against each other. There is no reason that it would take a monopoly to create more and better opportunities for emerging artists to sell their music. In all likelihood it will create less. That's what we get from monopolies -- less product at a higher price designed to maximize profits. Smashing Pumpkins will still sell music, but not the smaller, unknown acts. I actually believe that if we maintain a competitive environment, the companies themselves will adapt to the new music market. Then power will be back where it really belongs - in the hands of the FANS.

Does anyone think he really wrote -- and believes -- this one sentence?

"This is a new model that puts power into the hands of the artist, creating a dynamic synergy that will inspire great works and attract healthy competition."

When was the last time you ever heard an artist use the word "synergy"? And just how will this attract healthy competition? Or "inspire great works" for that matter?"

Oh, that's right. Irving Azoff, the head of Ticketmaster, is the manager of The Smashing Pumpkins... Now I get it.

The "system" is just fine; the business *model* is what is broken, and thank heavens! Finally, the playing field is that much closer to being leveled. So aging, has-been rock "legends" are finding themselves having to live on mere commercial licensing because the Interweb has destroyed their album sales - to quote the Interweb, BFD. When the big names aren't making money, the little guys can all crawl in and swipe a piece of that expendable income the Clearchannel addicts have in their wallets. This destruction of the failing (failed?) music business model is what is initiating the ability for indie and unsigned artist to break out, claw their way into the limelight (however divided that limelight may be now), and make a name for themselves. There are hundreds to thousands of amazing bands out there no one's ever heard of, and now is the time when twenty or thirty (or more?) of those bands - the ones willing to put in the legwork and the effort, the ones willing to fight for recognition, sacrifice sushi and a condo for gas station chili and the back seat of an '87 Dodge Ram passenger van, the Tom Schraeders and Offices of this country - will finally be in control of their own destinies (and art) as musicians. I, for one, am happy that there is something tangible to strive for, as opposed to the previously adhered-to mentality of "getting discovered" dominating the local industry. I'd be happy to live in a musical world where hard work pays off and dedication to the product and the fans actually stands for something. And if the big goal these days is to get a slot on a good bill at Metro as opposed to an international arena tour, I'm just fine with it. The scale may be smaller, but the opportunities are growing exponentially - as a musician and a supporter of music.

We are at a point where every supporting act matters, every set list matters, and every venue matters. Artists are just as likely to sell merch, find fans, and make gas money at Quenchers as they are at Double Door - there is no more hoping for the big time and going through the motions until some A&R rep stumbles into their set on an Emergenza bill (ha!). While the industry's "business model" may have crumbled into an absurd pipe dream of profitability, all I see is a flourishing and ever-expanding local music scene that Mr. Corgan should pull his head out of his ass and put an ear to.

Corgan has always been a tool of the industry so OF COURSE he supports the merger.

ellie said it better than i ever could. *applauding*

I applaud Ellie as well... this sounds like a gun-to-the-head letter to me.

Jerny also got it right, he's always been a tool of the industry and has admitted at several occasions that the Smashing Pumpkins never did much with their power. He's even brought up groups like Led Zeppelin who revolutionized the concert promoters position and reworked how large shows are put together, placing the control INTO THE HANDS OF THE ARTIST. Perhaps this is just another effort to put him name on the biz... but unfortunately, he's on the wrong side of the fence now.


EVERY ONE. has nothing to do with manager working for ticketmaster

Hmmmm I remember a few years ago seeing Billy on FOX 32 Chicago blasting American Idol cause it lets the corporation create the talent and cramming it down our throats. Maybe Billy should win this years Idol. Actually I have that news on my hard drive. Maybe I'll post it.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on March 10, 2009 1:23 PM.

UPDATED: Mr. Corgan goes to Washington for a bigger piece of the radio pie was the previous entry in this blog.

Cursive, "Mama, I'm Swollen" (Saddle Creek) [3.5 STARS] is the next entry in this blog.

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