Worrying news for gig goers - the controversial merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation has been approved by the British authorities. The Competition Commission were all set to rule the merger uncompetitive, initially claiming that it would inflate ticket prices and make it impossible for small/new companies to break into the ticket selling business (never mind what it might mean for independent promoters, artists, agents, venues and all those who work behind the scenes). Live Nation is the world's largest promoter, and Ticketmaster one of the world's largest ticket agencies. The US Department of Justice are still in a position to overrule the merger. See www.ticketdisaster.org for more details. If you think it is as easy as boycotting LN and Ticketmaster think again - between them the two companies manage hundreds of acts through their artist management arms, and LN has a worrying amount of exclusive deals with individual venues in the US and UK.
In other news, HMV is bidding to buy Mama Group outright, furthering its existing stake in the business. Mama owns 11 venues, including several in central London, and also owns an artist management concern. Mama group is a Mean Fiddler-related venture. How this will affect the venues in question is unclear.