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-- The Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger "should not have been," according to an editorial in the New York Times on Monday. The combined company is a "juggernaut," said the Times, adding "it will be tough for a band to tour without doing business with the new firm." The Times rightly noted that some of the merger's provisions will be difficult to enforce. And it called for the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to eventually take a vertical merger to court. "If antitrust legislation, as it stands, proves unable to stop the foreclosure of competition," the Times concluded, "maybe Congress will take notice and act to maintain a competitive playing field." Overall, the op-ed made a fair case for opposing the merger but gave too little credit to Live Nation's competitors. Let's wait and see how AEG and others respond to the merger before we offer a eulogy to competition in the concert promotion business. (New York Times)

-- In the Joel Tenebaum file-sharing case, labels oppose the defendant's motion to reduce the jury's award of $675,000 for downloading and sharing 30 songs. Tenenbaum is a "long-term, hardcore and willful copyright infringer" who time after time "falsely denied responsibility for the infringement, blamed his friends and family for his own illicit activities, and lied under oath." In addition, labels attacked the court's belief that a fair use argument may be been a valid excuse for file sharing during the gap between the creation of P2P software and the arrival of digital downloads in a format preferred by consumers. That line of thinking is "obviously antithetical to fundamental tenets of copyright law," wrote the plaintiffs. A hearing on Tenenbaum's motion is set for February 23. (Copyrights & Campaigns)

-- MySpace Music is testing 30-second audio ads. A user can listen to up to 100 songs on a playlist or album with just a single advertisement after the first song. The response from users "has been positive," a MySpace Music spokesperson told the AP. Once predicted by some to be the doom of ad-supported music, people are warming to audio advertisements. The trick is to find the right balance between frequency and the level of encroachment. Too-frequent ads for, say, a monster truck pull would not go well with smooth jazz. (AP, via Music Ally)

-- A new study of office workers conducted by Microsoft and the University of Washington shows how PC usage is different from mobile. The short version: PC users consume more data, mobile is used for voice, text messaging and maps. Both PC and mobile were used for email and Web. Even though mobile devices are increasingly becoming like PCs, they are not popular for using programs like Word and Excel or for interacting with files. (IP Carrier)

-- Which drummers use click tracks? Use a new web application called In Search of the Click Track that uses a new API released in late January by the Echo Nest. This post at Music Machinery has numerous graphs that plot the tempo of songs. Each plot shows tempo deviations that reveal if a song has a rhythm kept by machine (a click track, drum machine or studio engineering) and by a human. You may find instances of a song created totally by machine, like "Gantz Graf" by Autechre, that has many tempo variations and thus a far lower machine score than something like "Hero" by Nickelback. (Music Machinery)

-- Gibson Guitars denies claims it colluded with other manufacturers to fix prices and calls lawsuits "wholly without merit." Gibson, along with Yamaha, Fender, Guitar Center and the National Association of the Music Merchants (NAMM), are being charged with conspiring to fix prices in a number of lawsuits in California and Washington D.C. The suits, brought by purchasers of guitars, allege Gibson and others set mandatory minimum prices, a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The FCC investigated NAMM between 2005 and 2007. Last year, NAMM agreed to stop activities that may violate antitrust laws without admitting guilt. (Nashville Post)