#33 Live Nation:
A lot of fuss was made when Live Nation signed Madonna to a reported $120
million deal last year. The Material Matron dropped Warner- her label of 25
years, which still owns her catalog and will get two more albums- and made the
Clear Channel spin-off her exclusive partner: record label, concert promoter,
ticket vendor, and merch agent. The usual phrases were thrown around: "paradigm
shift", "artist empowerment", "death of the label". But the real big news is
what comes next. Live Nation plans to go solo and end its partnership with
Ticketmaster at the end of this year. In doing so, it will break up a long
running duopoly, keep a larger share of lucrative ticket fees for itself, and
crucially, cut Ticketmaster off from key customer data. "Forty million
customers were coming to our door, and we let Ticketmaster have their addresses
and e-mail,"says Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino. "That's ludicrous."
With ticket sales in-house, naturally the fees should come down, right? I wouldn't hold your breath.
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