With the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger facing an antitrust subcommittee right this moment, several artists have come out in support of the proposed merger that would unite the concert giant with the ticketing leader. Seal, Shakira, Journey and Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen are among the artists who have spoken out in favor of the merger in letters to be presented to the antitrust committee today, according to Reuters.
"Anything that can strengthen the link between music creators and music lovers has my support," Seal wrote. "I believe the combined company will achieve that by aligning resources, talent and services." While Seal has no stake in either company, Shakira's support should come as no surprise, given she signed a $70 million deal with Live Nation last year.
According to prepared testimony, Live Nation's Chief Executive Michael Rapino and Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff will insist the merger "will help save jobs in the beleaguered music industry by forming a strong American company that can fend off foreign takeover threats." They also argued that the new powerhouse would merger would "aid ticket price transparency, boost sponsorship revenue, and help small venues." However, critics of the merger complain that it would have almost a monopolistic hold over too many facets of the music industry, including ticketing, venues and artists. "This merger would give a giant, new entity unrivaled power over concert-goers and the prices they pay to see their favorite artists and bands. It must be viewed skeptically and scrutinized," New York Senator Chuck Schumer said in a statement yesterday. Schumer, along with Bruce Springsteen, have openly opposed the perspective merger.
If you want to follow along with all the Department of Justice fun live, the U.S. Committee on the Judiciary site has a Webcast of the hearing starting at 2:30pm EST today.
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