Irving Azoff may not be a household name, but he is, in fact, "the most powerful man in the music industry," writes Ethan Smith in a Wall Street Journal profile. The head of Ticketmaster—he made his name managing the Eagles in the '70s—is now trying to pull off his most brazen act yet: merging his company with concert promoter Live Nation. He insists it will save the industry, but also wonders, "Are we crazy to be trying this?"
The deal is about to undergo serious anti-trust scrutiny by the feds and Congress. It would put artists, agents, and concert promoters under one umbrella, raising conflict-of-interest questions—agents want the best price for their artists, while promoters push for the opposite. Bruce Springsteen, among others, hates the idea. But Azoff says it will bring prices down for fans by making the industry more efficient. Investors are skeptical: Shares in both companies have plunged more than 30% since the deal was floated.