MonsterKiller PAC

Peace Monument & US Capitol by jcolman, used under Creative Commons.
Peace Monument & US Capitol by jcolman, used under Creative Commons.

Angelenos, it’s time for you (yes, YOU) to get politically active. There is a conspiracy afoot that will effect nearly every person reading this, and it is up to you to stop it.

Have you ever purchased a ticket for a concert or other entertainment event through Ticketbastardmaster or Live Nation? If you have and you’re anything like me, that purchase was probably immediately followed by long and loud complaints of excessive costs for said tickets, paired with “convenience fees” (convenient for who, exactly?) that are commonly 30-50% of the face value of the ticket. As bad as this situation is, it could potentially get a lot worse.

In February, Ticketmaster Entertainment and Live Nation announced plans to merge. This would make one company out of the industry’s number one ticket seller (Ticketmaster) and the second largest ticket seller (Live Nation.) These two (as of now) companies are also the industry’s largest provider of talent management services and the largest promoter of live entertainment events. See where this is going? Yahtzee! I mean, monopoly.

Follow me past the jump to find out how you can stop this monster.

Political Action Committees (PACs) are usually just euphemisms for “lobbyists for special interests throwing lots of money at politicians.” While I am asking you to join a cause, I don’t want your money. I want your political action.

This unholy merger is currently being considered by the Department of Justice. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ, 8th dist.) is circulating a letter amongst his colleagues in the House, asking them to join him in urging the DoJ not to approve the merger. I am asking you to contact (see upper left corner) your Representative and tell him/her how important it is to you that they add their signature to the letter.

I called my Congresswoman’s office this morning and sent an email. A copy of that email is below, so you can fill in your details and send it along to your Congresscritter, too. It should all take less than five minutes.

Are you okay with ticket prices and service charges as they are? Are you one of the few who don’t think prices have reached exorbitant levels? Don’t act; don’t ask your Rep. to join this fight. See what happens to those entirely reasonable prices and fees then.

Los Angeles is home not only to millions of fans, but this is also where many artists and promoters call home, too. L.A. is arguably the center of the music universe, and this merger is bad for nearly everyone here.

What are you prepared to do?

(h/t to KEIOnline.org)

Copy, paste, fill in your details:

Dear Congress(man/woman) (name, find yours here,)

I am writing to ask you to add your signature to a letter to the Department of Justice that is being circulated by Rep. Bill Pascrell. This letter opposes the merger of Ticketmaster/Live Nation.

The proposed merger violates U.S. anti-trust principles, and would give the combined company monopoly control over nearly every aspect of the music business: artist management, record sales, promotion, licensing, venue control, parking, ticket sales and resales, all the way down to the hot dogs and beer. According to James Hurwitz of the American Antitrust Institute:

“If the combination is permitted, the merged company will have a powerful or dominant position in virtually all of the industry’s markets. Viewed in combination, the merger will give Live Nation Entertainment unarguable control of most competition within the industry.”

I have grave concerns that this merger will have far reaching negative consequences for artists, fans, promoters, and the music industry as a whole. This merger violates both horizontal and vertical anti-trust principles, and will undoubtedly lead to higher ticket prices for the average fan.

In the last several years we have already seen average ticket prices in Los Angeles skyrocket, not to mention the associated “convenience fees” which are often an additional 30-50% of the face value of the ticket. Monopoly control of the industry for Ticketmaster/Live Nation would only exacerbate this problem.

As I’m sure you know, the (your district here) District is home to many who are directly involved in the entertainment industry, as well as countless fans. This merger would have direct negative consequences for virtually every member of your constituency.

I urge you to add your signature to Rep. Pascrell’s letter to the DoJ, as well as doing everything you can to assist him in making certain this merger is stopped.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,
(Your name here)

13 Replies to “MonsterKiller PAC”

  1. Or just stop going to concerts.

    Yea I miss out on lots of cool shows, but at least I don’t have to pay another ticket price or two to park, 2 more ticket prices to have a beer.

    A trip to a concert is REALLY expensive now, but I agree that these “convenience” fees are horse shit. It’s a convenience for WHO exactly? Sure as hell isn’t the consumer. The convenience is ticketmaster doesn’t have to have any walk up shops anymore (I don’t even know if they still exist.. no more people at music stores now), as everything has shifted to online. Yes, they have to pay for hosting and bandwidth, but that was a shift in their business model, yet WE pay for it.

    Print your own tickets? You REALLY want me to PAY an extra 2.50 A TICKET to PRINT MY OWN TICKET and completely cut our the human interaction 100%?!? F that.. I’ll save $5 and make you pay someone to mail it out AND pay postage. Biggest ripoff evar.

    TicketMaster and Live Nation get away with it because they can. They have muscled out all of the small ticket brokers. Remember Pearl Jam vs. TicketMaster? How did that work out? Thought so.

  2. FUCK TICKETMASTER

    I wish bands could sell their own tickets to the shows, the way they do merch at the venue. Those funds go directly to supporting the musicians.

  3. Thanks Burns, good idea, sending now. Wait, it’s still called the Department of Justice? I thought the name was changed to Department of Law, and it was relocated to “there in the White House.”

  4. Thanks to the tip. We totally hate Ticketbastards’s usurious fees, to the point that we not longer deal with them, even if it means bailing out of planned venues (and we let the venues now – UCLA, anyone?) We will definitely let our representatives now.

  5. That Matt Mason. He never fails to crack me up.
    “…department of law there in the White House.” That woman slays me!
    For anyone who didn’t catch the reference…

    “I think on a national level your department of law there in the White House would look at some of the things that we’ve been charged with and automatically throw them out.”
    — Sarah Palin, on how she would handle ethics complaints if she were in the White House (Thank science she’s not in the White House.)

  6. Luckily, this doesn’t affect me, as I run with the Punk ethic I picked up during the early 80’s:

    Over $20.00?

    I’m not going. This limits me to club shows, but you know what? That is where earnest musicians perform anyway. I’m never going to want to see Madonna or Dave Matthews anyway. Give me the Smell, Cobalt Cafe, The Redwood and even places like the Troub and Knitting Factory.

    Or, I just win tix from Metblogs!!!! :)

  7. “I wish bands could sell their own tickets to the shows, the way they do merch at the venue. Those funds go directly to supporting the musicians.”

    Yes the funds go to the musicians, after a location fee and a percentage goes back to the label. So the musician still gets it in the end.

    As you can see, musicians are not in it for the money, since they rarely see any money unless you are in the top 0.5%.

  8. gbarnwell: This does affect you. I bought tickets for Amanda Palmer’s show at the Toubadour two weeks ago…through TicketBastard. A pair of $20 (face value) tickets cost $62. I’ll save you the math; that’s 55% additional in “convenience” fees. What happens when MasterNation dominates so much of the industry that the clubs you like to buy <$20 tickets from decide it’s easier and they can make more money if they just go with the monster for their ticketing? What if, following that punk ethic, you want to see old favorites X or New York Dolls, but they’re playing the Music Box, and TicketBastard is selling the tickets for $50+fees? Even if you don’t see the direct effect immediately, this merger has negative effect on the ENTIRE industry. And don’t kid yourself. Even if those “earnest musicians” aren’t in it for the money and they’re keeping it real in the small clubs, they still have to work within the industry.

    I am reminded of Niemöller’s poem that finishes:
    “When they came for the Jews, I did not speak out; I was not a Jew.
    When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.”

    Before anyone flips out, I’m not comparing musicians and fans to Jews in Nazi Germany. I’m saying that while one may not feel affected because they’d never go see Dave Matthews anyway, when Dave Matthews fans are gone who will speak up for fans at the Smell when MasterNation comes for them?

    bmayhem: While most musicians aren’t in it for the money, they still have to make enough to survive so as to keep making music. Merchandise at shows (along with ticket sales) is where the lion share of this money comes from. To use Amanda Palmer as an example again: Amanda self-finances her merch, so she keeps the profits. Most venues (though not all) do take a percentage of merch sales, but most of the money goes back to the artist…Until a behemoth like MasterNation is allowed to have a monopolistic choke hold on every facet of the industry. Then if artists want to play anywhere larger than a living room they have to agree to whatever terms the monster wants, such as control of merchandising. Then the artists make no money from recording (Amanda sold 30,000 copies of her record and didn’t see dime one) and a much smaller percentage of money from merch, and suddenly they can’t afford to continue producing and performing. No more artists.

  9. Hi Burns!,

    I don’t agree with TM’s fees and policies whatsoever. It is just that in the 23 or so years that I have been able to go see live music, once an act starts getting big enough to command big dough, chances are I’ve moved on already anyway.

    “you want to see old favorites X or New York Dolls, but they’re playing the Music Box”

    To summarize my first paragraph, Music is a youthful venture. Who would want to go see people whose best works were like 25-30 years ago? And yes, even the venues I mentioned are old hat and overground. It is really happening at parties, basement shows and the like.

    So, not trying to be offensive, but how could an Amanda Palmer have tickets that cost that much anyway?

    Bands like Less Than Jake (Not that I like them in any way) who are on major labels play like 600 shows a year and charge like 10 bucks. Likewise, whether they are on some small label or Warners, they somehow find a way to keep their discs like 9 bucks.

    Maybe they have to play way more, but it can and is done.

    I don’t have the time or inclination to argue with you, but statements like “Until a behemoth like MasterNation is allowed to have a monopolistic choke hold on every facet of the industry.” seem reactionary at best.

    cheers!

  10. Burns!, while I may not get my point across (I’m not a master debater, I just spank it a lot), I am in agreement with you. The music industry is royally fucked. The people that create/perform the music often get nothing in return. The people who sit back and have meetings get all of the profit.

    I feel really bad for Amanda Palmer for selling 30k CD’s and nothing to show for it except a number, but that’s the deal she signed, no?

  11. B: You are correct. The industry is well and truly fucked. There is a definite shift occurring with the DIY movement among some established artists (Radiohead, NIN, et al) and up and comers, too. The dying record labels are trying to hang on to an old business model and keep all the money from the recording side, and worse, TicketBastard and Live Nation are trying to make a grab for the whole pie on the touring side (the only place most artists make any money.)

    Re: AFP’s contract…yes, that is the deal she signed. Sadly, the label led her to believe they would promote the album (produced by Ben Folds and awesome, by the way,) but once the project was completed they decided they wanted to focus on other acts on the label. They offered no promotion whatsoever. Had the album gotten label support, it likely could’ve sold many more copies, earning out production costs and perhaps turning a profit for the artist. As it is, Amanda is currently trying to get let out of that contract and will go it alone.

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