With great fanfare a couple months ago Ticketmaster and Live Nation announced their proposed marriage. They suggest this union will result in savings to consumers, greater choice and even greater revenue to artists. It appears to be a deal that is too good to be true. That’s because it is.
The history of Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s past acquisitions gives one no reason to hope for a rosy future. Their past acquisitions have not resulted in either lower prices or better services so consumers have not received benefits from the deals. Ticketmaster’s use of the recently acquired TicketsNow to manipulate the ticket distribution for Bruce Springsteen concerts demonstrates the company’s proclivity to use acquisitions to manipulate the market, dampen supply and ramp up prices. Moreover, Live Nation’s addition of venue ownership and management to its concert promotion services has led to exclusivity arrangements that diminish alternatives for artists and audiences, as well as significantly increase prices. Combining a ticketing monopolist with the dominant firm in concert promotion hardly seems like a recipe for anything procompetitive for consumers.
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