Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Venuewatch: Takeover threat to ticket prices

The prospect of a hike in London's already ridiculously overpriced mid-size gig market has caused the Competition Commission to raise objections to the planned takeover of The Academy Group by LiveNation. Live Nation is what used to be part of Clear Channel, although in 2005 was spun off in part of avoid the regulatory pitfalls that had befallen Clear Channel, although still with large portions of the Mays family in charge. Live Nation and another live music company, Gaiety are joint owners in Hamsard, a fourth company.

The Competition Commission suggests that the only way the merger could go ahead would be if the new company dumped some of its London venues to prevent ticket price hikes in London; although a surprisingly clear-eyed statement from them, it would be nice to see some protection for regional gig-goers too.

Live Nation blinks in the face of this:

Live Nation has issued a statement saying any such sale would be "disproportionate to any conceivable competition concern."

The appendices to the report actually provide an interesting snapshot of the current mid-market music venue scene in the UK. We say "interesting" - you may not think so, so you can jump over the detail by clicking here.

In the regions:

Birmingham

Birmingham Academy (Academy) capacity: 2,700 + 200 (Bar Academy)

Local competition (as identified by Live Nation/Academy):
1) Wolverhampton Civic Hall (3,000)
2) Wolverhampton Wulfrun (1,100)
3) Barfly (400)
4) NIA (6,500)
5) Nottingham Rock City (2,000)

Other suggested competing venues: Symphony Hall, Wolverhampton Civic Hall, NIA, Warwick Arts Centre, Alexandra, Coventry Coliseum, NEC, Nottingham Arena



Alexandra, Birmingham (Live Nation) capacity: 1,376

No local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy

Other suggested competing venues: Symphony Hall, Hippodrome, Warwick Arts Centre, Nottingham Royal Arts Centre, Birmingham Academy





Bristol & Cardiff

Bristol Academy (Academy) capacity: 1,700

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) Colston Hall (1,938)
2) Anson Rooms (1,000)
3) Bierkeller (600)
4) Fleece (330)
5) Newport Centre (2,024)

Other suggested local competition: Colston Hall, Bierkeller, Bristol University, Fleece, Cardiff University



Hippodrome, Bristol (Live Nation) capacity: 1,981
No local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy

Other suggested local competition: Colston Hall, Bristol Academy




Cardiff International Arena (Live Nation) capacity: 4,994/7,500

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) Shorthall Millennium Stadium (15,000+)
2) St David’s Hall (180)
3) Cardiff University Student Union (1,750)
4) Newport Centre (1,508)

No further suggestions of local competition




Liverpool & Manchester

Liverpool Academy (Academy) [Was the Lomax L2] Capacity: 1,200+ 500 (studio)

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) Mountford Hall, University of Liverpool (1,000–2,000)
2) Stanley Theatre, University of Liverpool (460)
3) Barfly (250–300)

Other suggested local competition: Philharmonic Hall, Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool University, Barfly, Neptune Arts Centre, Manchester University




Empire, Liverpool (Live Nation) capacity: 2,373

No local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy

Other suggested local competition: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool University



Manchester Apollo (Live Nation) Capacity: 2,634 seated 3,500 standing

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) Manchester Academy (2,100)
2) MEN Arena shorthall (4,500+)
3) Blackpool Empress Ballroom (3,200)
4) Bridgewater Hall (2,000)

No local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy




Manchester Opera House (Live Nation) capacity: 1,909

No local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy

No further suggestions of local competition



Manchester Palace Theatre (Live Nation) Capacity: 2,000

No local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy

No further suggestions of local competition





Newcastle & Sunderland

Newcastle Academy (Academy) Capacity: 2,000

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:

1) The Venue (1,680)
2) The Sage (1,700)
3) Tyne Theatre (1,050)
4) City Hall (2,133)
5) The Basement (1,200)

Other suggested local competition: City Hall, Newcastle University, Northumbria University, Newcastle Short Arena. Middlesbrough Town Hall



Sunderland Empire (Live Nation) capacity: 1,875

No local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy

Other suggested local competition: City Hall, Sage (Gateshead)




Glasgow & Edinburgh

Glasgow Academy (Academy) Capacity: 2,500

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) Barrowland (1,900)
2) ABC (1,300)
3) Clyde Auditorium (3,000)
4) QMU (900)
5) Garage (700)

Other suggested local competition: Clyde Auditorium, Barrowlands, Pavilion, ABC, Royal Concert Hall, SECC



Playhouse, Edinburgh (Live Nation) Capacity: 3,056

No local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy

Other suggested local competition: Usher Hall, Festival Hall, Royal Concert Hall, Corn Exchange




King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow (Gaiety) 300
Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) ABC (1,300)
2) Barrowlands (1,900)
3) Garage (700)

No local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy




London

Wembley Arena (Operated by Hamsard under a 15 year contract) Capacity: 4,000 shorthall; 12,750 standing

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) O2 Dome (8,000+) (The operators of the O2 Dome - the Millennium Dome as it actually is - state this will be a minimum capacity)
2) Alexandra Palace (8,250)
3) Earls Court (17,500)
4) Royal Albert Hall (5,222)
5) Hammersmith Apollo (5,039)

Other suggested local competition: Hammersmith Apollo, Royal Albert Hall, Alexandra Palace, Brixton Academy, Earls Court




Hammersmith Apollo (Live Nation) Capacity: 5,039

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) Royal Albert Hall (5,222)
2) Brixton (4,921)
3) O2 Dome (8,000+)
4) Wembley Arena shorthall (4,000+)

Also listed: Roundhouse (3,000); Coronet (2,200); Hammersmith Palais (2,230); Ocean Hackney (2,700); KoKo (1,500); La Scala (1,145); Electric Ballroom (1,100); Alexandra Palace (8,250)

Other suggested local competition: Royal Albert Hall, Brixton Academy, Alexandra Palace, Wembley Arena, Royal Festival Hall, SBE, Dominion, Forum



Brixton Academy (Academy) Capacity: 4,921

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) Wembley Arena shorthall (4,000+)
2) Alexandra Palace (8,250)
3) Roundhouse (3,000)
4) Hammersmith Apollo (5,039)
5) Royal Albert Hall (5,222)

Other suggested local competition: Hammersmith Apollo, SBE, Royal Albert Hall, Alexandra Palace, Wembley Arena, Astoria, Forum, Hammersmith Palais, Islington Academy




Shepherds Bush Empire (SBE) (Academy) Capacity: 2,000

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) KoKo (1,500)
2) Forum (2,110)
3) Barbican (1,949)
4) Astoria (2,000)
5) Hammersmith Palais (2,230)

Other suggested local competition: Astoria, Forum, Hammersmith Apollo, Hammersmith Palais, London Palladium, Roundhouse, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall



Astoria, West End (Hamsard) Capacity: 2,000

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) Forum (2,110)
2) SBE (2,000)
3) Hammersmith Palais (2,230)
4) Roundhouse (3,000)
5) Coronet (2,200)

Also listed: Ocean Hackney (2,700); KoKo (1,500); La Scala (1,145); Electric Ballroom (1,100); Brixton Academy (4,921)

Other suggested local competition: SBE, Forum, Hammersmith Palais, Coronet, Roundhouse




Forum, Kentish Town (Hamsard) Capacity: 2,110

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) Astoria (2,000)
2) SBE (2,000)
3) Hammersmith Palais (2,230)
4) Roundhouse (3,000)
5) Coronet (2,200)

Also listed: Ocean Hackney (2,700); KoKo (1,500); La Scala (1,145); Electric Ballroom (1,100); Brixton Academy (4,921)

Other suggested local competition: SBE, Astoria, Hammersmith Palais, Coronet



Mean Fiddler, West End (Hamsard) Capacity: 1,000

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) La Scala (1,145)
2) Electric Ballroom (1,100)
3) Coronet (2,200)

Other suggested local competition: Islington Academy, Scala, ULU, Bush Hall, Garage, Bloomsbury Ballroom, Dingwalls, Jazz Café, Borderline




Islington Academy (Academy) Capacity: 800 + 250 (Bar Academy)

Local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy:
1) La Scala (1,145)
2) ULU (1,000)
3) Underworld (500)
4) Dingwalls (600)
5) Electric Ballroom (1,100)

Other suggested local competition: Scala, ULU, Mean Fiddler, SBE, Garage, Bloomsbury Ballroom, Astoria, Kings College, Electric Ballroom



Garage, Highbury and Islington (Hamsard) Capacity: 350 +150 upstairs

No local competition identified by Live Nation/Academy

Other suggested local competition: Underworld, ULU, Islington Academy, Mean Fiddler, Bloomsbury Ballroom, Union Chapel, 100 Club, Kings College, Dingwalls




Borderline, West End (Hamsard) Capacity: 275

Live Nation/Academy identified many venues as competing

Other suggested local competition: Bush Hall, Bloomsbury Ballroom, Pigale, Metro, 100 Club



Jazz Café, Camden Town (Hamsard) Capacity: 385

Live Nation/Academy identified many venues as competing

Other suggested local competition: Islington Academy, Scala, ULU, Bush Hall, Ronnie Scotts, Pigale, Arts Theatre, Metro, Dingwalls




Source: CC analysis.


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