More trouble for Ticketmaster

More trouble for Ticketmaster
US congressman for New Jersey Bill Pascrell–an opponent of the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger back in 2010–wrote a little to Attorney General Jeff Sessions about an investigation into the company. If the consent decree has been violated, is the DOJ prepared to take further action? It’s down about 9% but still 23% higher than where it was at this point last year. Specifically, are you investigating potential violations to the 2010 consent agreement, as mentioned above? Controversy continues to swirl around Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, in the wake of the CBC/Toronto Star expose of how the company is allegedly too cozy with ticket resellers. DOJ can, and should, thoroughly investigate and take strong steps to address any and all consent decree violations and anticompetitive practices of Ticketmaster/Live Nation. […]
The concentrated market power of Ticketmaster has made it a behemoth with little incentive to protect consumers in the live event industry. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Meanwhile, Live Nation’s stock has wobbled a little bit since the story broke. Here are excerpts from that letter via CompleteMusicUpdate. I commend the Department Of Justice for opening an investigation into Live Nation’s anticompetitive behaviour and write to bring to your attention new investigative reporting and further lines of inquiry. […]
Lastly, are you investigating additional monopolistic abuses resulting in higher prices and anticompetitive market distortions, like ticket holdbacks that drive up prices and colluding with scalpers to collect higher fees from consumers? The Canadian Broadcasting Channel conducted a new investigation that reveals the ways in which Ticketmaster appears to collude with ticket scalpers to sell higher volumes of tickets on its platform – distorting the marketplace and harming consumers in the process,
[…]
We respectfully request more information regarding the Department’s investigation into Live Nation.

Is the concept of the album dead? Maybe not.

And because of streaming, there’s no time limit on how long a song or an album can be. The full report can be found here, but let me give you some top-line info. An industry event in London last night (October 10) saw a vigorous defense of releasing albums and how things could change in the future. There’s concern in some quarters that the idea of releasing an album is passé, that the format has been superseded by playlists of individual songs. People still like listening to albums the old-fashioned way: Spotify reports that 46% of users in the UK listen to non-album tracks. This would also give artists a chance to evaluate reaction to each song and perhaps tweak them before being collected in permanent form on an album. Some five million users access album pages every week. However, all may not be lost. Serialization: The idea that albums can be “chapterized,” with all songs dripped out in the order in which they’ll eventually appear when the whole album is released. Maybe the album format still has a role to play. We’ll see. The decline of album listening is another byproduct of the rise of streaming. Stretching: Drip out the singles ahead of time but then offer longer versions of those songs when the album drops.
Maybe not. Is the concept of the album dead?

Why is the owner of Warner Music getting sucked into Robert Mueller’s probe of Trump and Russian collusion?

Now living in the US, he’s also a generous donor to the Republican Party. What became of all that money remains a mystery. You see where this is going, right? Marco Rubio ($1.5 million). No one is saying there’s any wrongdoing, but the fact that he’s on Mueller’s radar is interesting, no? Read the rest of the Hollywood Reporter story here. According to ABC News, Robert Mueller’s Russia probe might have some questions for Blavatnik, especially since he has access to enough money to think about buying a Hollywood studio or two. citizens with deep foreign ties who have attracted Mueller’s attention by donating millions to GOP causes in the past few years. The biggest beneficiary was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose Senate Leadership Fund received a $2.5 million donation followed by another $1 million in 2017. In that cycle, he contributed $6.35 million to Republican candidates and incumbent senators. Starting in the 2015-16 election season, Blavatnik’s political contributions “soared and made a hard right turn,” according to an analysis by business professor Ruth May in The Dallas Morning News. Foreigners are not permitted to make such donations, but as American citizens, billionaires like Blavatnik can. Lindsey Graham ($800,000) and to Sen. Len Blavatnik, the owner of Warner Music, was born in Ukraine and made billions in the post-Soviet era, making friends with various Russian oligarchs (including Putin buddy Roman Abramovich) along the way. From The Hollywood Reporter:
[H]e is one of several U.S. Among the checks that Blavatnik has written through Access is a $1 million contribution to Donald Trump’s inauguration committee, which raised a record-setting $106.7 million (more than double the previous record set by Barack Obama, though Trump’s event involved a smaller staff and fewer events). Blavatnik or Access gave generously to PACs associated with Sen.
Why is the owner of Warner Music getting sucked into Robert Mueller’s probe of Trump and Russian collusion?