Irving Azoff’s Rock-n-Roll Rules

Irving Azoff used to have a saying (not sure if he still uses it or not), “Rock-n-Roll rules, I win or I win”.  And as a lot of you reading this know, he usually does.  So when Steve Kaul from The Agency Group sent around the Reuters story this morning about Ticketmaster buying-up Warner Music Group’s stake in Frontline Management, it didn’t surprise me…too much.  The question is what’s next and who’s making the next move?

I’m not going to cover the Warner Music of it all, since it doesn’t really relate to the live business.  As for Ticketmaster, one would assume that Frontline artists would no longer be playing for Live Nation, but with Irving never assume.  When Irving owned a big piece of AEG, it didn’t stop him from having his artists play for their competitors.  It is a manager’s job to do what’s in his or her client’s best interest and I’m pretty sure in Irving’s mind they are two separate deals.

The deal certainly gives Irving, Howard and company more power (as if they needed it) and could put Live Nation in a very interesting dilemma.  Artists like Jimmy Buffett, Aerosmith, Steely Dan, Alan Jackson, etc (Dave Matthews of course but that’s Coran Capshaw…who could still end up selling), are the reasons why seasons tickets, VIP packages, venue sponsorships, and even the Citi deal to some extent, still sell in LN’s venues.  Take those acts out of the equation and it could be trouble for not only the amphitheater business but for Live Nation’s House of Blues and Fillmore brands they are continuing to build.

Another big question is what does this mean to the ticketing business Live Nation is setting up?  What’s the next move there?  Does Live Nation try and sell their ticketing company to Ticketmaster?  Is now the best time to sell?  What does this all mean for AEG?  Do AEG and Ticketmaster now resume talks?  Does AEG consider selling to Live Nation (would this deal every pass the Feds)?  Who knows…

I leave you with the same question we started with, what’s the next move and who’s making it?

Would love your input.

Talk to you soon…

Jim

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