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Marketplace Scratch Pad

Ticketmaster, embrace your awfulness

Scott Jagow Feb 12, 2009

Google’s informal motto is Don’t Be Evil. I think Ticketmaster should come up with one of its own: “We’re Evil, Whatchya Gonna Do About It?” Yesterday, the Justice Department launched an investigation into Ticketmaster’s proposed merger with Live Nation. You can read more about that and listen to NPR’s story from this morning here. There’s also an article in today’s Washington Post about the recent controversy over Bruce Springsteen tickets. What happened there is this…

Some people said they tried to buy tickets to a Springsteen concert through Ticketmaster’s website. They could not, even though tickets were still available. But those fans were able to buy them from another website called TicketsNow, which jacks up the prices to a ridiculous level. TicketsNow is owned by guess who? Ticketmaster.

Ticketmaster says this was a glitch and not intentional. I believe that, but it’s just one more log on the fire of hatred against the Grinch of Ticketdom. Here’s what the Boss himself had to say about the proposed merger with Live Nation:

The one thing that would make the current ticket situation even worse for the fan than it is now would be Ticketmaster and Live Nation coming up with a single system, thereby returning us to a near-monopoly situation in music ticketing.

That comes from Springsteen’s website.

My favorite headline this week for this proposed merger comes from the spoof site Fark.com:

Live Nation to acquire Ticketmaster for $2.5 billion, plus $700 million in convenience charges.

And that of course gets to the heart of the issue — Ticketmaster’s fees. These two companies merging probably isn’t any more egregious than other deals of the same ilk. In industries where there are few players, the consumer always gets hosed when the number of companies gets smaller.

But Ticketmaster has a special place in the dark corners of our hearts. I Googled “I hate Ticketmaster” this morning and got 2,570 different instances.

Here’s one more: I hate Ticketmaster.

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