Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger under Justice Department review

Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger under Justice Department review

The whispers that a proposed merger between the world's two largest ticketing and promotional companies could threaten consumers with astronomical fee increases can scarcely be called news. Between Live Nation's incompetence and Ticketmaster's penchant for shaking down its customers by the ankles, the proposed $2.5 billion merger spells certain doom for concert goers, and Uncle Sam is taking note.

There is no drought of outcry against Ticketmaster, who has spent the last couple decades making itself the enemy of thrifty concert goers by charging well above face value and, more recently, diverting online consumers to secondary sites that gouge even deeper into the thinning wallets of American consumers.

Bruce Springsteen himself, who often professes in song and speech to be a champion of the little guy, has joined the posse. Sharpening his pitchfork and lighting his torch, the Boss denounced Ticketmaster for a re-route to a New Jersey site that charged as much as $5,000 for tickets to his recent New Jersey show (though it could be alleged that his huffery and puffery may be due to the fact that those dividends never reached his account).

In any case, a thorough inquiry is about to get underway, and it seems that those in charge are anxious to put some heads on some silver platters. In a recent CNN article, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-New Jersey) said that "the deal could put concert-goers nationwide at risk of
permanently increased ticket prices and should not gain regulatory approval."

Ticketmaster and Live Nation certainly couldn't have picked a much worse time to expose themselves as unscrupulous commercial entities. As a wise old action star once quipped just moments before his on-screen demise, "today is not a good day to be a bad guy."

What can the consumer do? Look in the mirror, ask yourself if you're the car or the thimble, and remind yourself that it'll all end with you storming bankrupt from the table.

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