The back-and-forth on the potential that e-commerce giant Amazon will make a move into the event ticketing space continues to draw headlines. Investment publication Motley Fool published a report today very bullish on the potential for Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) to make a successful run at Ticketmaster, which is owned by giant Live Nation (NASDAQ: LYV).
Through Live Nation’s ownership of many of the nation’s top venues, Ticketmaster holds exclusive rights to huge share of the primary ticketing market, with everyone else battling for scraps. They also operate in the secondary market, though activity such as enforcing non-transferable mobile ticketing and credit card entry policies as well as strangling the onsale process with the walled-garden “Verified Fan” program indicate a desire to dominate the secondary by restricting or outright destroying the market rather than competing on level ground.
“If you’re a music fan who’s tired of being gouged when you buy tickets online, here’s some good news for you,” is how Jeremy Bowman opens the piece in Motley Fool analyzing the potential for the Jeff Bezos-owned behemoth to break the Live Nation stranglehold begins.
What follows is a breakdown of the familiar strikes against the ticketing giant, and how the writer believes Amazon might make inroads in the lucrative business where other challengers have tried and failed over the years. “The worst part [of the Ticketmaster experience], from the perspective of the consumer, is that TicketMaster, unlike StubHub, adds almost no value to the transaction. It’s the definition of rent-seeking.”
For its part, Live Nation has taken a stance that Amazon is welcome to make an attempt at knocking it off its perch. CEO Michael Rapino offered Bezos and Co. an fairly direct challenge while speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference last week. “It’s Amazon; it’s obviously an incredible business. I give [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos all the credit in the world… But, I’m not going to give my front door away,” Rapino said. “We control 80 million tickets, we have a great software program. If Amazon wants to sell some of our tickets, if that makes the pot bigger for us, great.”
If nothing else, the competition, should Amazon make a serious move at taking on the entrenched market leader, could pay huge dividends for consumers. Nothing tends to bring the price down than a real challenger. Obviously we’ll keep on top of this story as it continues to develop here at TicketNews.