Mergers and inquisitions

By Andrew Taylor
While I'm loving the general discussion of the most useful frame for engaging policy around arts, culture, expression, and the like, perhaps a specific example could focus our next wave.

Monday, the Justice Department approved the merger of Ticketmaster (the world's largest ticketing service) and Live Nation (the world's largest producer, promoter, and host of live concerts). The merger has clear implications for worldwide markets of live performance, for the control of and profit from all activities surrounding those performances, and for how venues, media outlets, artists, presenters, producers, artist representatives, and local communities connect the live arts with audiences.

It's an example of a significant and public shift in the shape of our industry (not just nonprofit arts, but certainly including nonprofit arts) that had little play in the ''arts and culture'' conversation. Bruce Springsteen was against it, but he's not ''arts and culture.'' Consumer groups and independent commercial entertainment providers were concerned, as well, but they're not ''arts and culture'' either.

I'm not sure that ''expressive life'' resolves that problem, or would suddenly make artists and cultural leaders more aware and engaged in public policy decisions that shape their universe. But it underscores to me the inadequacy of ''arts and culture'' as a frame and a filter for public conversation.

UPDATE 1/27/2010: Neill Archer Roan posted some detailed thoughts on the merger issue on his blog. Worth a read if you're not sure how the merger might impact your work.
January 26, 2010 7:00 AM | |


This Conversation Are the terms "Art" and "Culture" tough enough to frame a public policy carve-out for the 21st century? Are the old familiar words, weighted with multiple meanings and unhelpful preconceptions, simply no longer useful in analysis or advocacy? In his book, Arts, Inc., Bill Ivey advances "Expressive Life" as a new, expanded policy arena - a frame sufficiently robust to stand proudly beside "Work Life," "Family Life," "Education," and "The Environment." Is Ivey on the right track, or more

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