SXSW 2011: Live Nation Entertainment's Nathan Hubbard to face critics in Austin
When ticketing and promotion giants Live Nation and Ticketmaster pledged to merge in 2009, the companies promised a fan-friendly operation with greater transparency. Yet when it came to addressing industry concerns at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas -- the largest music biz gathering in the country -- top executives from the newly christened Live Nation Entertainment were no shows.
That changes in 2011, when Nathan Hubbard, the CEO of Live Nation Entertainment's Ticketmaster outfit, will appear on a Friday morning panel dubbed "Indie Davids Take On Goliath Ticketmaster-Live Nation."
The conversation will be moderated by Andrew Dreskin, CEO of the ticketing upstart Ticketfly. Those slated to speak include Spaceland Productions head Mitchell Frank, John Read of the Department of Justice, Boche Billions of independent booker the Billions Corporation and Andrew Kaplan, the talent buyer for Chicago-based JAM Productions.
With Frank and Kaplan on the panel, Hubbard will sit side-by-side with representatives from companies that have openly criticized the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster. The combined company has consolidated multiple facets of the music business, bringing venues, ticketing, artist management and merchandise under the Live Nation Entertainment banner.
Live Nation Entertainment was a hot topic at SXSW in 2010, when representatives from the Department of Justice were on hand to explain why the merger was approved. A number of independent labels also took Live Nation Entertainment to task, with Domino Records' Kris Gillespie, who oversees the label's U.S. operations, slamming the Justice Department's green light as "pretty immoral" for the way in which it consolidated industry power.
-- Todd Martens