The Live Nation, Ticketmaster merger has been the talk of the industry for the last few days, with every media outlet speculating about the effect of the deal on the music industry landscape. Below, a selection of analysis and opinion from around the Web.
The L.A. Times' Todd Martens picks apart the official merger announcement and determines that no matter how you spin it, the deal means higher ticket prices. Although he says the proposed "dynamic pricing" scheme is unfair, similar strategies are used by many industries, including the airlines and clothing retailers.
Jim DeRogatis offers an insightful history of the two companies and details the feud that took place before they decided to bury the hatchet. He also points out that the merger would severely limit the options of major touring artists, who would find it difficult to tour without dealing with the new Live Nation Entertainment. DeRogatis also casts a more balanced eye to the idea of dynamic pricing, acknowledging that some fans might get bargains.
New York Times
New York Times media columnist David Carr disses the deal, quotes Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello -- a bright Harvard grad but no expert on anti-trust law -- and then tells the world about Jill Sobule's great new album.
Music blogger Coolfer takes an oppositional position and writes that much of hand-wringing over the merger is overblown. He adds that the secondary ticket market not controlled by Ticketmaster or Live Nation has already created a dynamic pricing structure, then points out that dynamic pricing would only take effect if a surplus of tickets were left -- and that offloading extra goods at a lower price is not a new concept.
Business Week's Jon Fine writes that the proposed merger is "a pony under the Christmas tree" for the nascent Obama Justice Department. He says the DOJ could earn points by stopping the major, especially with young people, who despise Ticketmaster. Unfortunately, a company's relative unpopularity isn't enough to kill a proposed merger; if it was, there wouldn't be a bank standing.
Forbes picks apart the notion that the merger will lead to rising ticket prices, using Barry Diller's comments about artists being the one to set prices. The piece argues that Ticketmaster, secondary ticketing agencies, and the music industry all have a hand in driving prices, but closes by saying the whole thing is a moot point because the DOJ will block the deal.
Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal's Ethan Smith points out that Ticketmaster and Live Nation aren't exactly raking in cash right now, and that a merger could result in a stock bump for both. He raises the usual arguments about the merger shutting smaller players out of the market.
Hitsville has links to a lot of the recent coverage, including a round-up of bad merger coverage. He calls out the Journal for not questioning Azoff and other publications for buying the notion that prices will automatically go up.
The site snarks on the corporate PR speak and picks apart the official release.