Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger hearings
February 26, 2009 by CMC
Jim Derogatis at the Chicago Sun Times and Greg Kot at the Chicago Tribune have been doing some really good coverage of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger talks now taking place before the US Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition and Consumer Rights. Given the nation-wide market share these two companies have in ticket sales, venue ownership and promotion, these hearings, and the ultimate Department of Justice treatment of the merger, will certainly have an impact on Chicago music. As Rolling Stone notes, Chicago’s concert industry has been front and center in the hearings so far, with Chicago-based Jam Productions’ Jerry Mickelson testifying against the merger. Some expect this merger to be the Obama Administration’s first big antitrust challenge. It’s good to know our local media is on the case.
EDIT: while the outcome of this merger (approved, rejected or modified w/concessions) will ultimately impact Chicago music, the specific focus of the Senate hearings is on how the proposed merged company will affect “market competition”. Which market(s)? Well, you antitrust scholars out there:) know that defining the “market” at issue is the be-all and and end-all for antitrust cases. Ticketmaster is arguing that they only play in the ticket sales market, and Live Nation is arguing that they only play in the promotion market, and to a lesser extent in the venue-ownership market. If this merger is challenged by the Obama Department of Justice, it will try to define the market at issue as broadly as possible (saying the merged Ticketmaster-Live Nation company will play in venue ownership, ticket sales, promotion) and that the merged Live Nation-Ticketmaster entity will use its dominant market power in that large market to unfairly compete against others, resulting in a bad deal for consumers.