Live Nation's Ticket Sales Are Up, But Are Musicians Down?

Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) recently published their Q1 earnings, which indicate the first sign of diminished losses and added ticket sales since the much-publicized merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster in January of 2010. While their latest numbers indicate that things are looking sunnier for the promotions, venue and ticketing giant, it remains unclear whether this growth benefits the broader live music community, or just LNE.

We tend to think that re-energizing the live music space doesn’t so much depend on giant corporate mergers, but rather increased investment in local arts and performance spaces, access to technology and greater competition in the ticketing marketplace. But for any of that to be possible, you need enforceable rules to prevent big companies like LNE from taking total advantage.

To help ensure that  Live Nation Entertainment doesn’t abuse its market power to the detriment of other players, the Department of Justice (DOJ) placed conditions on the company when it approved the merger last year. To help make sense of the conditions, FMC partnered with Fractured Atlas to create “Too Big to Fail,” which also outlines some of the complex issues in the live music space.

Many musicians make a substantial part of their income through performance, so this is pretty serious business. That’s why FMC spent a fair amount of time last year talking with musicians, managers, booking agents and venue owners to get a sense of the music community’s core concerns about the merger. We’ve outlined the majority of them in “Too Big to Fail.”

The document also aims to explain specifically what Live Nation is permitted to do and what would be considered a violation of conditions. We hope that “Too Big to Fail” will help make sense of some of the dense legal language and help hold Live Nation Entertainment accountable for its marketplace behavior.

Too Big to Fail” also includes a means through which those who feel they’ve been harmed by the merged company to register their beef with the Department of Justice. This is important, because the conditions can only be enforced if the DOJ knows what’s actually happening out there.

We hope that Live Nation Entertainment’s stronger showing is a sign of a healthier live music ecosystem, but we still think there’s much more to be done to improve conditions for artists and fans. What do you think needs to be done to improve the live music space?

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