Senate Urges Review of Ticketmaster-Live Nation Merger

Yep, elections have consequences and after years of hyper capitalism and oversight-free marketeerism, the Big Wigs in Washington are starting to think bigger isn’t always better for the consumer.

This week Rolling Stone reports that lawmakers have asked the Department of Justice to review the merger between live event ticketing mega-giant Ticketmaster and event promoter Live Nation.

The proposed merger would find Ticketmaster, the nation’s biggest ticketing service and owners of Front Line Management and secondary ticketing site TicketsNow, joining up with Live Nation, America’s biggest concert producer. Live Nation, which also owns dozens of amphitheatres and has inked 360 deals with artists like Madonna and Jay-Z, launched their own ticketing service late last year in a move that was expected to create competition in the ticketing market. Instead, the two companies quickly began talks to merge, announcing plans to create a joint company called Live Nation Ticketmaster in February 2009.

For some reason, Senators think that an expansion of an already shitty ticketing service with the nation’s largest concert promoter might be a bad thing for music fans. Go figure…

The cornerstone of the free market system is that competition will result in better services and lower charges for the consumer. That Ticketmaster is once again eating its competition seems to be a concern for lawmakers.

“Our concerns are heightened by the fact that Live Nation recently entered into the ticketing business to compete with Ticketmaster. This needed competition will be lost if this merger is completed,” [Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, the Chairman of the Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Subcommittee wrote in February after the merger was announced.] “What does Live Nation’s decision to merge with its competitor rather than fight it in the market tell us about any company’s ability to compete with Ticketmaster? If Live Nation can’t compete, who can?”

Who, indeed!

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