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DC Area Venues, Promoters Protest Ticketmaster Merger

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The battle against the proposed merger of ticket sales giant Ticketmaster and concert promoters (and soon to be record label) Live Nation just got local. Hours after the deal received its first stamp of approval from the United Kingdom’s Competition Commission on Dec. 22nd, Billboard‘s Top Club of 2009, Washington‘s 9:30 Club, released a statement to their e-mail subscribers lambasting the proposed merger and asking to concert-goers to submit letters of protest to the Department of Justice.

Entitled “Concert Fans Beware,” the message — which also counts The Black Cat, Merriweather Post Pavilion, The Ram’s Head and various local promotion outfits, including the 9:30’s own I.M.P. Productions, amongst its signatories — calls the combination of Ticketmaster and Live Nation “a train wreck about to happen” and suggests that fans will be the first to feel the pinch “if the two most powerful corporate interests in the live concert business get their way.” Here’s an excerpt:

As a concertgoer you have already felt the pain, and if Ticketmaster and Live Nation get their way, it’ll get worse. In the last 12 years, since Live Nation and its predecessor started its widespread takeover of the concert industry, concert ticket prices have shot up 82% while the consumer price index has gone up just 17%*. We are concerned that if the two concert industry behemoths, Live Nation and Ticketmaster, are permitted to merge, the variety and quality of artists coming to local venues will be affected, and your costs could rise further and faster.

(Read the statement in its entirety after the jump.)

The 9:30 Club — which split with Ticketmaster almost a decade ago to take up with their competitor, Tickets.com — is far from the first live music bigwig or social advocate to oppose the multibillion horizontal and vertical merger of the two music biz titans. Earlier this year, the always touring Bruce Springsteen publicly denounced the proposal, saying that it will create “a near monopoly situation in music ticketing.” At present, the merger remains under review in the U.S. and Canada with no date yet set for a final ruling.

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