If the Boss was upset about
( TKTM) pricing practices before, wait until he gets a load of this.
The ticketing giant said Tuesday it will merge with concert promoter
in a deal that could fly in the face of antitrust rules. All that remains to be seen now is how high they set convenience charges.
You have to give Ticketmaster and Live Nation credit, though, as they got right to defending the deal, arguing that it will help improve access, transparency, ticket pricing options, event attendance and ticketing technology.
"Ticketmaster does not set prices. Live Nation does not set ticket prices. Artists set the prices," Ticketmaster Chairman Barry Diller said, according to a report by
The Associated Press
However, Diller failed to mention the so-called "convenience" fee his company charges to buyers, which can sometimes double the cost of a ticket. On top of that, Ticketmaster also operates its own reselling subsidiary, TicketsNow, in order to combat ticket scalping on other Internet sites like
TicketsNow recently came under fire from the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. When some fans attempted to purchase tickets to a Springsteen concert through Ticketmaster, they were automatically redirected to TicketsNow, which offered seats well above face value, even though tickets were still available through Ticketmaster's main Web site.
"The abuse of our fans and our trust by Ticketmaster has made us as furious as it has made many of you," Springsteen's Web site read last week. "Some artists or managers may not perceive there to be a conflict between having the distributor of their tickets in effect 'scalping' those same tickets through a secondary company like TicketsNow -- we do."
A class-action lawsuit in Canada claims that Ticketmaster engaged in a similar practice for a Smashing Pumpkins concert, although Diller said the Canadian lawsuit is "without merit."
Even Senator Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) has gotten into the mix, expressing his anger over Ticketmaster's practices. "It was a classic bait-and-switch," said Schumer. "We don't have the tickets at $75, but maybe this site has them at $200 ... . That means that something is rotten in the state of Denmark when it comes to how concert tickets are sold online.
"If the two entities were to merge, the sale of tickets, control of concert venues, and the representation of artists in those venues would be controlled by one organization, a potential problem for ticket buyers who could see prices skyrocket," Schumer added.
It's now up to the new Democratic administration in office, one that is perceived as seeking more regulation, to either force Ticketmaster and Live Nation to abandon their convenience fees and fix their reselling networks, or completely block the monopolistic deal.
Maybe we should've taken Pearl Jam more seriously when the group fought Ticketmaster more than a decade ago.