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Congressional Judiciary Committees Honor Pascrell's Request To Investigate Ticketmaster, Live Nation Merger

Washington, DC, February 18, 2009

Two weeks following U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell’s request for a Congressional investigation into the proposed merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation, Pascrell praised the House and Senate Judiciary Committees for scheduling hearings to examine the impact that such a merger would have on consumers and the music industry.  

“I applaud the Senate and House Judiciary Committees for moving forward to take a closer look into the impact that a merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation could have on consumers,” stated Pascrell.  “The merger, which holds the potential to stifle healthy competition in live music entrainment, has raised the ire of music fans and performers all over the country.  Given Ticketmaster’s recent mishandling of Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming tour and other shows, it is clear that this company’s questionable business practices warrant sharper scrutiny.  The American people are tired of being rolled over by corporate interests and deserve a fair chance to purchase reasonably priced tickets for live entertainment.”

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust will hold a hearing on Tuesday, February 24th.  The House Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy will have its hearing on Thursday, February 26th.  Witness lists are not available yet.

A copy of the letter that Pascrell wrote to Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Subcommittee Chairman Hank Johnson on February 5, 2008 is attached below: 

February 5, 2008
 
Dear Chairman Conyers and Chairman Johnson:


My office was deluged this week by calls from angry music fans in New Jersey and all across the country concerning problems they experienced while attempting to purchase tickets on Ticketmaster.com for Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming tour.  Bruce Springsteen himself expressed anger over a conflict of interest issue that may have interfered with the way Ticketmaster served his fans.

At issue is the relationship between Ticketmaster and its affiliate company, TicketsNow.  TicketsNow is a secondary market ticket reseller that offers fans who are unsuccessful in securing tickets on Ticketmaster.com with admission to the events they desire at values marked-up hundreds of dollars above face value.  With Ticketmaster reaping a significant profit from TicketsNow sales, there is an obvious conflict of interest issue at play that calls into question the company’s business practices.

Because of Ticketmaster’s questionable relationship with TicketsNow, I am concerned by a report in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal about Ticketmaster’s proposed merger with Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter.  As the above example demonstrates, there is an incredible potential for abuse when one company controls the primary and secondary market for concert tickets.  That potential will surely be magnified exponentially should one company be able to control every aspect of recording, record sales, licensing, venue ownership and ticket sales.  

I view this proposed merger with great skepticism and strongly believe that any merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation be carefully scrutinized by federal regulators and your committee to ensure that it is in the best interests of consumers.

I look forward to discussing these issues with you in greater detail at a later date.  Please feel free to contact Arthur Mandel at my staff at x55751 if you have any questions or require any further information.
 
Sincerely,
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Member of Congress

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