Bigger fish swallows local big fish

Live Nation Inc., the world’s largest concert promotion company, will announce today it is buying a majority stake in Dave Matthews Band manager and real estate mogul Coran Capshaw’s company Musictoday, which runs online stores, fan clubs, web sites, and offers other services such as ticketing and music downloading for over 700 clients, including The Rolling Stones, Eminem, Dave Matthews Band, Tiger Woods, Nine Inch Nails, and Jeff Gordon. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed yet, reports the Wall Street Journal, but the two companies have said that Musictoday had gross annual sales of more than $100 million last year.

Live Nation, once a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, became its own company less than a year ago. It operates 120 venues around the world, producing concerts, touring Broadway shows, and sporting events attended by nearly 60 million people annually. Just recently, Live Nation bought out concert promotion and venue company House of Blues for $350 million, as well as apparel company Trunk Ltd. The company boasts annual sales of $2.8 billion and has over 3,000 full-time employees.

Musictoday, which grew out of Capshaw’s merchandising business for the Dave Matthews Band, now employs over 200 people and operates out of 500,000 square feet of office and warehouse space.


One thing I really appreciated about the old Musictoday was the well below-market service charges they added to tickets. You can kiss that goodbye, as Live Nation sells tickets via Ticketmaster. A Clear Channel spin-off is still part of the Clear Channel family, and they only give a damn about one thing: making money. Quality of entertainment means nothing to them, and adding value isn't part of their business model. There's not much more corporate evilness in entertainment than Clear Channel and Ticketmaster. I guess you can add Musictoday to that list. Oh - and have you ever been to the Live Nation web site? It's virtually useless and one of the most user-unfriendly web sites I've ever been to.

It was so cool being in a town that wasn't a Ticketbastard stronghold. That just changed. Say hello to 15% "service" or "convenience" charges. You might as well buy from a scalper, and you'll need to if you want a decent seat. ALL the good seats for Ticketmaster shows somehow seem to end up in the hands of scalpers and brokers. You can usually buy them from brokers the same time tickets go on sale to the public. I'll never forget the time I drove to Nissan Pavilion to buy tickets to a show the minute they went on sale. I WON the lottery and was #1 in line. You'd think I'd get good seats. I was the first person at the window, and there were no 100 section seats available. The best I could get was 10th row of the 200 section. There was almost a riot, and if there hadn't been A LOT of cops there, it may have happened. I went home, pissed, and called brokers and checked eBay. Plenty of 100 section tickets there, with a huge markup, of course. These are the people who now control local ticket sales. Welcome to the big time, Charlottesville. No checks, please.

Capshaw can do whatever he wants - it's his company, and that's what capitalism is all about. But keep this in mind the next time you hear somebody talk about him buying up the town, and keep it in mind if you are selling it to him. Who, one wonders, will he sell it to, what kind of stewards will they be, and how much will you have to pay for the convenience of parking?

One of musictoday's biggest sales pitches is that they are geared to the fan. I don't see that changing because Coran spent a lot of personal energy developing relationships with the artists they represent - he isn't going to want to become the company he sold musictoday as an alternative to.

Besides, buying a majority stake is not the same thing as taking over a company and you (nor I) have no idea what the terms are of the deal.

And regarding your side tangent on him buying up property in town, second buyer danger goes for 99% of property owners. Very very few people put covenants on their land/buildings.


"Besides, buying a majority stake is not the same thing as taking over a company and you (nor I) have no idea what the terms are of the deal."

Actually, buying a majority stake is EXACTLY the same thing as taking over a company. That's why you buy a majority stake. This isn't a case of "wow - what a great business model. We need to be involved in this." This is a case of buying the competition, pure and simple. Live Nation now owns Musictoday, lock, stock, and barrel. If you think anything else, perhaps you work for Musictoday and are hoping like hell your job lasts (it won't) and doesn't end up overseas (it will).

I like your diary. Allow to be friends!