The latest episode in the ongoing drama of the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger starts today, as the Senate Committee on the Judiciary's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights takes begins its official hearing. In simpler terms: the poo could potentially be hitting the fan, and you get to watch it all live on the internet.
The hearing is titled "The Ticketmaster/Live Nation Merger: What Does It Mean for Consumers and the Future of the Concert Business?" and it starts at 2:30 EST today with a live feed being broadcast on the Judiciary Committee's web site. C-SPAN will also be providing streaming coverage of the proceedings.
The witness list for the hearing includes Ticketmaster CEO Irving Azoff, Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino, Chairman and Executive Vice President of JAM Productions Jerry Mickelson and Co-owner of I.M.P. Productions and the 9:30 Club Seth Hurwitz. The subcommittee's membership includes Sen. Chuck Schumer, who has been outspoken about calling for an investigation in the Bruce Springsteen/Ticketmaster/Ticketsnow debacle, and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who's long been a critic of music piracy as a recorded musician himself.
Though we don't know for sure what the line of questioning will be like when Ticketmaster and Live Nation execs take the stand today, we can only hope (and assume) that they'll work toward getting to the bottom of the question we've been asking since all this got started: what will this mean for concert-goers and artists? There is an outstanding list of proposed questions over at Hitsville that's worth a read, particularly if you want to learn a little bit more about what the merger could mean for you.
Depending on the outcome of the hearing, we'll also be keeping our eye on the California state action we told you about last week, in which Ticketmaster shareholders are petitioning to bar the merger based on the raw deal they were dealt in the process.