You’ve likely never heard of Liberty Media, but its tendrils grow far and wide. It’s an American mass media company controlled by chairman John C. Malone. The company has three divisions, reflecting the company’s ownership stakes in Formula One, SiriusXM, and the Atlanta Braves. It also owns 33% of Live Nation and owns and operates Pandora. Now, the Justice Department has green-lit a proposal by Liberty Media to also increase its holdings in iHeartMedia by up to 50%.
Liberty Media, and by extension, Malone, now have what essentially amounts to control over the music industry from the ground up. Of course not all facets of the industry fall under his purview, but from booking to ticket selling to radio promotion, he has the keys to the kingdom. No other organization controls as much of Live Nation, the largest concert promotion firm in the world.
According to testset, “Several consumer advocacy and anti-monopoly groups such as Artists Rights Alliance, the Open Markets Institute, Public Citizen and the Center for Digital Democracy, and others opposed the deal. These groups warn the effects will be ‘likely catastrophic’ on a radio industry already stifled by consolidation.”
Beyond Ticketmaster, Live Nation also owns management firm Roc Nation. So add management to the arenas in which Liberty Media has controlling interest and you’re looking at a massive monopoly that threatens widespread exclusion and strongarming if anyone dares to not play ball in their court.
The expansion in iHeartMedia was authorized by federal antitrust prosecutors Wednesday.