So who, exactly, are the artists supporting the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger?

SHARE So who, exactly, are the artists supporting the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger?


In its MediaFile blog, Reuters drops the names, including Seal (said to be a close personal friend of Ticketmaster chief Irving Azoff), Shakira, Journey, Van Halen and… Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, a group that has long worked exclusively in Chicago with independent promoters (and Live Nation’s archrivals) Jam Productions.

Together, Corgan and Jam have worked hard to explore alternative means of ticketing, thwarting Ticketmaster and that mysterious problem of how tickets wind up in the hands of scalpers instead of fans. But Corgan also is managed by Azoff. So it appears he’s chosen sides.

Corgan’s letter has not yet been published as part of the Congressional record of the subcommittee hearings, and he declined to share it with the Sun-Times or to talk about the issue. “I am loathe from here and ever on to talk about the music business. So

honestly I’d rather not comment,” he wrote in an email.

According to the Reuters blog, Eddie Van Halen wrote a letter to the Congressional subcommittees that met earlier this week, supporting the merger. It reads in part:

There are so many problems facing the music industry today. Van Halen suceedeed based on our record sales and the many tours that we did to increase our record sales. But that business model just doesn’t work anymore. Today, the majority of artists earn their living from playing live. What my son — and any future band he plays in — needs are new and innovative approaches to the problems facing the live entertainment industry. And I believe that the merger of Ticketmaster/Live Nation is one of those solutions.

Has-been rockers Journey also waxed rhapsodic about the merger:

The music industry has changed dramatically in the last several years. As technology changes the way people get access to their music, one thing stands true — the live show. And the live show has become an even more important jumping off point to maintain the relationship between artists and our fans. The proposed merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment will provide artists at all levels of their careers with the opportunity to leverage a broader universe of venues and to expand their ability to reach current as well as new fans.

As did Seal, one of the few stars supporting the merger who is not managed by either Live Nation or Ticketmaster. He wrote:

The record business is not what it used to be. That is why I support the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger — because not only would it benefit established acts like myself, but the up-and-coming acts who are trying to build a following, as well.

On the other side, of course, is… the Boss. And, um… er… uh, there have to be more, no? Or, as yesterday’s House subcommittee asserted, are they all really too intimidated to speak out? (Is it really better to play on Ticketmaster/Live Nation’s farm than to not play at all?)

E.V. phone home! The time is now. Mr. Vedder, to finally even Pearl Jam’s score with Ticketmaster.

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