You’d think at the SXSW Music Festival we’d get some new discussions going about the impact of the Live Nation Ticketmaster merger. But that didn’t happen. So what exactly did the DOJ tell us about their decision to approve the merger? And who wasn’t there to explain themselves?
There wasn’t a whole lot of new news as Greg Kot points out in his Tribune report from SXSW Music Festival.
And like Kot, I’m sadly surprised.
But there was one word that made me very curious: innovation.
As Kot writes, the Department of Justice Anti-trust division head Christine Varney said that “Time will tell, if the merger was a good idea,” and that “We need to allow the market to innovate.”
So what exactly do they mean by “innovate.”
And what does the proposed innovation mean for concert fans? What benefits can fans expect besides the expected higher cost to see a show?
Innovation Via Social, Perhaps?
What specific things about the concert industry does LiveNation plan to innovate besides their 360 deals? Will they continue to innovate the concert venues or the social media communities the have on Facebook and Twitter or their interactive fan forums? They do a lot of giveaways and fan engagement on their social sites but how is that going to translate to a better fan concert experience for the entire concert industry?
And as Kot points out, Ticketmaster and Live Nation leaders Irving Azoff and Michael Rapino weren’t even there at SXSW to talk about the merger. And their absence doesn’t give me a good feeling about their plan to innovate if they don’t think it’s important to show up to one of the biggest music conference to explain themselves.
Yes, time will tell if the merger was a good decision.
But I still agree with Kot when he writes that time doesn’t really help “the companies and artists not under the Live Nation Entertainment umbrella..” because “…they may not have the luxury of time if they want to compete or innovate.”
But other than that, Verney’s statements and the other speakers didn’t really give us any new news that pushes the Live Nation Ticketmaster merger discussion forward, or answers any questions we all have about the historical merger.
If for nothing else, you should read Kot’s story just as refresher because there hasn’t been much in the news lately since the merger. And as fans, I don’t think it’s good for us to just blindly go to concerts without being informed.
Are Fans Comfortably Numb To The Merger?
I’ll say this, too. Ever since the merger happened, I haven’t heard a whole lot from the fans. And the silence of fans makes me think that the fans either don’t care or they feel completely powerless in the wake of the merger.
So what are fans to do? Stop going to shows of their favorite artists who are on the LiveNation roster?
Should fans stop going to shows if they have to buy the ticket through Ticketmaster, too? That’s always an option. But I don’t think Jay-Z or U2 fans will do that.
Tart over at Love Shack Baby blog offers up some alternative thoughts on what fans and bands can do about the merger. You should check out what she has to say and consider them, too.
Now, come on concert fans. This is your chance to speak up. Let’s here what you think.