Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Let's Play Monopoly

Once upon a time there used to be anti-competitive and anti-monopoly quangos that ensured that there was competition in markets. But then, successive governments ensured that such inconveniencies were not to get in the way of a 'market economy'. Many of our creative industries are effective monopolies or oligopolies as a result: search advertising, online display advertising, even broadband is offered in many areas by just one provider.

Now, news that Live Nation and Ticketmaster are to be allowed to merge is quite stunning. This is a very bad day for anyone who likes live events. Ticketmaster are second only to Ryanair in their activities and allowing them to vertically integrate is worrying. The irony is that the new company that comes from this merger will be the most powerful force in music in the UK, leaving the record labels far behind.