Ticketmaster And Live Nation To Merge?????

noah | February 3, 2009 10:15 am

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Ticketmaster and Live Nation are close to a merger that would bring the United States’ two largest concert-promotion/ticket-sales companies under one roof. Um, I guess the whole Phish tickets onsale was more of a disaster than previously thought!

The newly created company would be called Live Nation Ticketmaster, and would combine the world’s biggest concert promoter with the world’s dominant ticketing and artist-management company. The combined firm would be able to take advantage of close relationships with hundreds of major artists to find new ways to do business in the ailing music industry.

The boards of both companies have yet to approve any merger, these people said, and sticking points remain. One potential hitch: Because the merger would concentrate so much power in the music industry under one company it would require review by antitrust authorities. Nonetheless, the deal, which would not entail an exchange of cash, could be announced as early as next week.

Spokesmen for Live Nation and Ticketmaster did not respond to requests for comment.

The new company would have close ties with over 200 artists, thanks to Ticketmaster’s acquisition last year of Front Line Management, a firm whose dozens of artist managers handle the affairs of around 200 major acts, including The Eagles, Miley Cyrus and Christina Aguilera. That transaction vaulted Front Line’s veteran chief executive, Irving Azoff, to the helm of Ticketmaster.

Live Nation brings to the table close ties of its own to several major artists, including Madonna and Jay-Z, both of whom have signed far-reaching pacts that pay them hundreds of millions of dollars for a broad range of rights.

So this is one of those path-clearing moves that allows lots of smaller organisms (which the people geared toward norms would refer to as ‘weeds,’ but which I know too better to do so with) to grow and maybe thrive, right? Anyone want to start their countdown clock to the real end of the Major Big Huge Music Industry As We Know It yet?

Live Nation, Ticketmaster May Merge [WSJ]