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Ticketmaster + Live Nation = Raw Deal For Music Lovers? Or, What’s wrong with the music business these days

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An interesting article on the music industry by John Seabrook in the New Yorker magazine (available in full only to subscribers) uses the pending merger between Ticketmaster Entertainment, “the world’s largest ticket seller,” and Live Nation, “the world’s largest concert promoter”, to talk about the business of tickets, the nature of rock concerts, the past and present of ticket scalping (“The Internet has made scalping as common as day trading.”), and, fundamentally, the not-so-slow-death (or at least radical change) of the music industry.
The most interesting comment to me was from the head since last year of Ticketmaster, Irving Azoff (who’s actually more optimistic than most about the continuing health of the music business). “The way the industry is monetized has totally changed. The order used to be: first, records; second, live; third, merchandise. Now it’s: first, live; second, third-party sponsorship; third merchandise; fourth, publishing; fifth, records. So that’s a big difference…And the business model has changed. THe old model was: put a single on the radio, put a video on MTV, and sit back and watch the music sell. That is gone. MTV doesn’t play many videos, and radio has playlists that are targeted toward a specific, narrow demographic — white females between thirty-five and forty-five say. Well, that’s not a group from which to build a large fan base.”
Azoff, by the way, was a manager representing the following musicians and bands: Journey, Jewel, The Eagles, X Japan, Bush, REO Speedwagon, Seal, Christina Aguilera, David Archuleta, Alter Bridge, Van Halen, Neil Diamond, New Kids on the Block, Steely Dan, Morrissey and Guns N’ Roses.