Ticketmaster merger on hold because of fears over pricing
Andy and I went to see Oasis play at the the Stadium of Light last night. They were, in a word, shite. Some of you will be wondering why we expected anything more. Fair point. But it still stands that Andy would have been outraged even further if he'd paid more than he did for his ticket, and I'd have been very cross indeed if I'd had to pay anything at all for mine.
Ticket prices for gigs are already dizzyingly high, and a deal earlier this year meant they were set to creep even higher. Ticketmaster and venue operator Live Nation unveiled an agreement in February to merge their businesses, a move which would have given them a near-monopoly on live music ticketing, not only here but in the US. One company would effectively control the majority of ticket sales, thereby setting the prices without competition to force them to remain competitive. Yes, they're competitive at the moment, apparently.
There's already an agreement of sorts in place - Live Nation already uses Ticketmaster as its principal ticketing agent, but the deal is due to expire in December 2009, when it had agreed to switch to European group CTS. A merger would rule that out, so now the The Office of Fair Trading has stepped up to the microphone, and referred the deal to the Competition Commission. A spokesperson said:
"The proposed merger risks potentially prompting the exit of what would likely have been a third large player from the UK, or at least significantly stunting its effectiveness. It creates a realistic prospect that the merger will deny those attending live music events the benefits of more competition in the distribution of tickets, which could include lower overall prices."
It doesn't matter. However many ticket vendors there are, the prices to see Oasis will never be low enough. Have I mentioned what a lot of ropey old cock they were?