Azoff On Ticketing, Live Nation & The State Of Record Business

CARLSBAD, CA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — TicketMaster Entertainment CEO Irving Azoff recently submitted to a public interview by Wall Street Journal columnist Kara Swisher, during News Corp's annual All Things Digital conference in California.

During the interview, Azoff brushed off criticism from the likes of Bruce Springsteen about the proposed Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger and suggested that the Ticketmaster may need the deal to complete in order for the company to survive. " Its really the promotion piece and their marketing piece [from Live Nation] added to Ticketmaster, that has been a ticketing solution and the business plan [at Ticketmaster] to remain just a ticketing solution would not have survived."

Azoff went on to characterize concerns that the merger would create a near monopoly and have a negative impact on competition as "uninformed."

"We think everything we do revolves around what’s good for the artist and what's good for the fan." Azoff replied. "It's the natural evolution of business, it's just a myth that there is not real competition."

Azoff also talked about the changing dynamic of the music industry, describing it as a "demonetization" of the business. Azoff, also a manager for acts such as The Eagles and Christine Aguilera, described artists walking into his office, "who used to make $300,000 to $500,000 a year in royalties [via recorded music]. And now that’s diminished to less than $50,000"

According to Azoff, the declines in the CD sales have been particularly alarming, most notably in regards to back catalog sales. "Recorded music, which used to be the biggest revenue source, is down to less than 6% [of total revenue for major artists]." Recorded music, Azoff noted, has become more of a marketing tool for live touring than a the primary product.

Still, Azoff suggests that glimmers of dawn may be on the horizon and thinks that the market may be "bottoming out." Azoff also sees opportunities for entrepreneurs and artists to find new ways to monetize the industry, and pointed to recent deals such as Christine Aguilera's collaboration with Proctor & Gamble over a line of branded fragrances.

Click here to watch excerpts from the interview – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers