It was not hard to foresee controversy for the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster – which, by the way, hasn’t even officially been announced yet. Bruce Springsteen is stepping up to denounce the idea, declaring that it would create “a near monopoly situation in music ticketing.”
Springsteen was already in a dispute with Ticketmaster over the sale of tickets last Monday (2/2) to an upcoming concert in New Jersey. State Attorney General Anne Milgram’s office is investigating complaints from consumers that they were shut out of buying tickets online from Ticketmaster, and instead were re-directed to a higher-priced ticket resale site, TicketsNow.
On his website, Springsteen denounced Ticketmaster’s deal with TicketsNow as “a pure conflict of interest.” And “The Boss” denied that he was getting any cut from sending consumers to buy the higher-priced tickets. “There are rumors that some artists or managers participate in Ticketmaster charges – we do not. There are rumors that some artists or managers are receiving a percentage of the amount above face value at secondary outlets like TicketsNow – we do not. Some artists or managers may not perceive there to be a conflict between having the distributor of their tickets in effect ‘scalping’ those same tickets through a secondary company like TicketsNow – we do,” Springsteen told fans.
“A final point for now: the one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near monopoly situation in music ticketing. Several newspapers are reporting on this story right now. If you, like us, oppose that idea, you should make it known to your representatives,” he said. “The abuse of our fans and our trust by Ticketmaster has made us as furious as it has made many of you. We will continue to do our utmost now and in the future to make sure that these practices are permanently curtailed on our tours,” Springsteen concluded.
RBR/TVBR observation: If the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger is proposed and heads into antitrust review, you can bet that there will be hearings in Congress. We would think it a lock that Bruce Springsteen will be invited to Capitol Hill to speak in opposition.