By now you’ve no doubt read the reports that Live Nation and Ticketmaster are expected to merge to create one giant ticketing, artist managing, convenience fee-charging monolith. The story was first reported in The Wall Street Journal, so we guess that means the merger’s likely to happen. But, frankly, a partnership between these bitter rivals is so unlikely, we wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t actually take place.
Ticketmaster and Live Nation have each spent months trying to outdo the other one in a sort of concert industry arms race. First Live Nation says it will stop selling tickets through Ticketmaster, then Live Nation launches its own ticketing service, which has been thus far heavily criticised for poor service and outrageous convenience fees. On the other side, after Live Nation went and made 360 deals with Madonna, Jay-Z, Nickelback and Shakira, Ticketmaster announced a merger with Irving Azoff’s powerful Front Line management company, giving Ticketmaster access to a stable of artists ranging from Jimmy Buffett to Christina Aguilera.
So why after these high-profile, and no doubt expensive, attempts to cash in on the other one’s business strategy would the two companies decide to give up and merge? We don’t have the answer yet, but we’re trying to get it for you.