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Justice Department Sues Live Nation and Ticketmaster for Monopolizing Live Concert Industry to ‘Combat Corporate Misconduct’: A civil antitrust lawsuit filed on Thursday, May 23 seeks to break up the partnership and bring back lower cost options for ticket buyers

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Justice Department Sues Live Nation and Ticketmaster for Monopolizing Live Concert Industry to 'Combat Corporate Misconduct': A civil antitrust lawsuit filed on Thursday, May 23 seeks to break up the partnership and bring back lower cost options for ticket buyers

 

According to documents obtained by PEOPLE, the DOJ and 30 state and district attorneys general filed an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and its subsidiary, Ticketmaster LLC on Thursday, May 23 for its monopolization in the live concert industry. The complaint aims to restore competition in the live music market, offer better tickets at lower prices for consumers and “combat corporate misconduct.”

 

Justice Department Sues Live Nation and Ticketmaster for Monopolizing Live Concert Industry to 'Combat Corporate Misconduct': A civil antitrust lawsuit filed on Thursday, May 23 seeks to break up the partnership and bring back lower cost options for ticket buyers

“We allege that Live Nation relies on unlawful, anticompetitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States at the cost of fans, artists, smaller promoters, and venue operators,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in a statement. “The result is that fans pay more in fees, artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts, smaller promoters get squeezed out, and venues have fewer real choices for ticketing services. It is time to break up Live Nation.”

Justice Department Sues Live Nation and Ticketmaster for Monopolizing Live Concert Industry to 'Combat Corporate Misconduct': A civil antitrust lawsuit filed on Thursday, May 23 seeks to break up the partnership and bring back lower cost options for ticket buyers

In a statement, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco added that “today’s action is a step forward in making this era of live music more accessible for the fans, the artists, and the industry that supports them.” Live Nation Entertainment responded to the filing in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, saying, “The DOJ’s lawsuit won’t solve the issues fans care about relating to ticket prices, service fees, and access to in-demand shows. Calling Ticketmaster a monopoly may be a PR win for the DOJ in the short term, but it will lose in court because it ignores the basic economics of live entertainment, such as the fact that the bulk of service fees go to venues, and that competition has steadily eroded Ticketmaster’s market share and profit margin.”

Justice Department Sues Live Nation and Ticketmaster for Monopolizing Live Concert Industry to 'Combat Corporate Misconduct': A civil antitrust lawsuit filed on Thursday, May 23 seeks to break up the partnership and bring back lower cost options for ticket buyers

It continued, “Our growth comes from helping artists tour globally, creating lasting memories for millions of fans, and supporting local economies across the country by sustaining quality jobs. We will defend against these baseless allegations, use this opportunity to shed light on the industry, and continue to push for reforms that truly protect consumers and artists.” In the filing, the Justice Department claims that Live Nation-Ticketmaster exploited its relationship with Oak View Group, a potential competitor-turned-partner that ‘agreed to a competitive détente in concert promotions” and “agreed to flip venues to Ticketmaster.”

The DOJ lawsuit also alleges that Live Nation-Ticketmaster “threatened financial retaliation against a firm” unless it stopped one of its subsidiaries from trying to compete for artist promotion contracts with Live Nation. Additionally, the suit claims that Live Nation-Ticketmaster would threaten and retaliate against venues that worked with their rivals and locked concert venues into long-term exclusive contracts, so that venues couldn’t use rival or more cost-effective ticketing services.

The filling also alleges that the partnership has prevented artists who opt for third-party promoters from using its venues. “In other words, if an artist wants to use a Live Nation venue as part of a tour, he or she almost always must contract with Live Nation as the tour’s concert promoter,” the complaint reads. Allegedly, Live Nation-Ticketmaster has “strategically acquired a number of smaller and regional promoters” that it viewed as “threats.” “This has undermined competition and impacted artist compensation,” the suit reads.

After the Justice Department agreed to the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster in 2010, it claimed Live Nation “had repeatedly violated the existing agreement,” as it revised the agreement with the conglomerate, per The New York Times. In November 2022, the U.S. Justice Department launched an antitrust investigation into Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation Entertainment, according to The New York Times. The investigation was prompted after more than 2 million tickets were sold for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour through Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan presale and the company announced that a planned general sale for all other customers was canceled.

“The biggest venues and artists turn to us because we have the leading ticketing technology in the world — that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, and clearly for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour on-sale, it wasn’t,” said Ticketmaster in a statement. “But we’re always working to improve the ticket-buying experience. Especially for high-demand on-sales, which continue to test new limits.”

Swift, 34, then called out Ticketmaster, although she didn’t directly name the company in a statement that said that the chaotic presale “really pisses me off.” After President Joe Biden called out “junk fees” and hidden fees on concert tickets beginning in 2023, several ticketing companies including Live Nation, pledged to start showing all fees to customers upfront. In September 2023, Live Nation and Ticketmaster debuted their policy for “all-in pricing,” which provided more clarity for consumers when purchasing concert tickets.

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