Obama‘s Non-State of the Union wasn’t the only action on Capitol Hill yesterday. Executives from Ticketmaster and Live Nation (formerly Clear Channel) went before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights to discuss their proposed merger. Jim DeRogatis recaps the hearing for the Chicago Sun-Times:
All of the senators voiced strong skepticism about the merger–including traditional foes Orrin Hatch (R-UT, and an amateur recording artist) and Charles Schumer (D-NY, and a Bruce Springsteen fan outraged by Ticketmaster’s handling of the upcoming tour)–and they hurled barbed questions about skyrocketing prices, duplicitous ticket schemes and unfair competition at Ticketmaster head Irving Azoff and Live Nation boss Michael Rapino.
A native of downstate Danville, Azoff stressed his background as a music fan who traveled to Comiskey Park to see the Beatles and who promoted acts such as Dan Fogelberg and REO Speedwagon during his time at the University of Illinois. “This business is in far worse shape than many people realize,” he said, adding that the merger is necessary to save it.
DeRo had also liveblogged the hearing as it took place, so check that out for more details like this gem: “Curiously, when Azoff says the word ‘merger,’ it sounds a lot like ‘murder.'”
Despite the Senators’ apparent outrage, I’m skeptical that anybody’s actually going to stop the merger. The era of Teddy Roosevelt‘s trustbusting was 100 years ago…