On Monday, the David and Goliath of concert ticket promotion and sales -- Live Nation
-- joined forces to become Live Nation Entertainment, a music industry behemoth that promises to force other music labels and promoters to rejigger their business plans to accommodate. The U.S. Department of Justice approved the merger after nearly a year of discussions about how to prevent the industry giant from monopolizing the concert ticketing and promoting business.
When Live Nation and Ticketmaster announced the merger last February, smaller competing promoters, including the Bay Area's own Another Planet Entertainment
(exclusive promoters for The Greek, The Independent, and The Fox), protested that the merger would undoubtedly drive competition out of business, ultimately putting concertgoers at risk of getting completely bilked (yes, even more than we are already). Live Nation disagreed, and a congressional hearing later, the DOJ has finally approved a merger agreement that they hope will take care of that little potential monopoly problem.
According to representatives for the DOJ, the final agreement includes stipulations that will replace whatever competition might be lost in the merger. Included in the stipulations: Ticketmaster will have to license its ticket-selling software to a competitor, Anschutz Entertainment Group
(also known as AEG or Goldenvoice, exclusive promoters for The Warfield), and required that Live Nation Entertainment refrain from retaliating against venues that use competing ticket vendors. In addition, Live Nation has agreed to sell its subsidiary ticket seller, Paciolan