Four government agencies in the U.S. and Canada, including the Justice Department, are investigating the West Hollywood company's activities in reselling concert tickets. Ticketmaster is being asked for information relating to its dealings with ticket brokers, including the names of every broker who resells tickets on its TicketsNow site. That's a secondary ticket service - basically a legal form of scalping, in which the ticket seller splits a commission with a Web site that facilitates the transaction.WSJ has an early story, but it's not clear what investigators are going after. One possibility is the recent incident in which fans trying to buy Bruce Springsteen tickets were directed to the TicketsNow site, where seats were priced at many times their face value. Ticketmaster's proposed merger with concert promoter Live Nation is already under review by the Justice Department's antitrust division.
By the way, I have a piece in the April issue of Los Angeles magazine on the Ticketmaster-Live Nation deal.