National stage for music merger


The CEOs of Live Nation and Ticketmaster were grilled Tuesday in Washington by a Senate Judiciary Committee panel and independent concert promoters, who questioned the motives and potential outcome of the proposed merger of the live entertainment giants.

The subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights used the 90-minute hearing to discuss how the merger might affect ticket prices, the impact it would have on new ticketing businesses wanting to enter the marketplace and how it might expose sales data from rival promoters, among other issues.

"This is vertical integration on steroids," said Jerry Mickelson of JAM Prods., who served as a witness during the hearing.

Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff defended the deal, pointing out that the combined companies could bring new revenue to artists, which could potentially lead acts to lower the prices of concert tickets. (partialdiff)