Your Ticket to Understanding Merger Madness

It was a busy week for live music and our nation’s political process. From live blogging Senate hearings, to RollingStone.com getting called out, music writers and fans were treated to a week full of potential merger C-SPAN craziness.

I don’t remember the political process being this engaging growing up. Of course, when you’re in high school and college you have to care (or be convince you should care) in order to be get involved in a cause. But if any political sciences teacher is look for a way to connect with his or her students, then I think the last few weeks (and year) have given many reasons why we should find some way to get involved in our nation’s political process, if only because of our love for live music on our terms.

Needless to say, I was stoked to see our political process at work and in favor of our live music experience this week. And I’ll try to make this as easy as possible because I know reading all these blog posts and merger stories, fan comments, can really make your head spin.

It’s easy to boil down the Live Nation-Ticketmaster story to a good guys (fans, music writers, indie promoters, senators) vs. bad guys (corporate promoters, and ticket sellers) standoff, but I think the issue might be a bit more complicated than that.

Human behavior is a peculiar and complex thing. Sometimes we don’t mind being controlled by or working for a corporate conglomerate. Because it either helps us pay the bills or their current corporate practices don’t upset us or impact our daily lives enough to challenge them.

By the quick rise and response to the Live Nation and Ticketmaster merger, it’s clear that live music is very important to us all. From blog comments to Senate hearings, we’ve spoken making it clear that live music means a lot to us and it more than just a source of entertainment. It’s our right.

And the current economic climate just makes it all the more important to us. If we fear that a monopoly will raise ticket prices and force us to stop going to shows, or make us pay more for our concert experience when we know we shouldn’t, then we do stand up and challenge them.

I know I’ve been impassioned about a few political and social events in my life but thinking through and writing my thoughts about this merger (my way of fighting back, I guess) has forced me to refine my thinking about what it means to stand up and say something.

So I ask you, fellow live music fan…what’s your calling? What’s your weapon of choice: a blog, your wallet, or the fear having to give up a concert of your favorite band?

What would you do to stop this merger, or fight against if it did get approved?

To help you think through things, here’s a list of some blogs and links that have helped me make since of it all, and challenge me to get involved. Please feel free to add to it by emailing me or dropping a comment.

First, here’s a list of links from music journalist Bill Wyman’s Hitsville blog. Much thanks to his chronological order of the live blogging of the Senate Subcommittee hearings this week. It was a great help.

Wyman passes along a Billboard article that dissects the merger by crunching the numbers.

Then Wyman turns to his own journalistic skill and calls out Rollingstone.com for committing an act of “lazy journalism” for “copying” a large portion of Sun-Times reporter Jim Derogatis merger story.

Though the circumstances are promising for live music, it’s still great to see the live music community, our government and fans coming together via the blogs and Internet. The digital democracy is fantastic and inspiring.

I didn’t ever think I would be forwarding you a C-SPAN video on Live Exhaust, but here’s a video of Tuesday’s hearings in their entirety.

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