Ticketmaster & Live Nation Sued For “Monopoly” On Live Events

Whew! Roommates, the Department of Justice isn’t playing any games with Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation. On Thursday (May 23), the DOJ filed an antitrust lawsuit against both parties. Apparently, the government entity is accusing them of running an “illegal monopoly” over live events in the United States.

The lawsuit alleges both companies have been squashing competition and subsequently driving up ticket prices for customers.

RELATED: Attorney General Probes Taylor Swift’s Ticketmaster Presale After Tickets Resold For $20,000

Ticketmaster & Live Nation Lawsuit Details

Thirty state and district attorneys general filed the docs in federal court in Manhattan, per The Associated Press. The lawsuit aims to break up the chokehold, which they say is squeezing out smaller promoters, hurting artists, and drowning fans with endless fees.

“It’s time for fans and artists to stop paying the price for Live Nation’s monopoly,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday. “It is time to restore competition and innovation in the entertainment industry. It is time to break up Live Nation, Ticketmaster. The American people are ready for it.”

Ticketmaster & Live Nation Sued For "Monopoly" On Live EventsTicketmaster & Live Nation Sued For "Monopoly" On Live Events
WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 23: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland takes questions from reporters during a news conference at the Department of Justice Building on May 23, 2024, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

The Justice Department accused Live Nation of a slew of tactics, including threats and retaliation. Garland said these tactics have allowed the entertainment giant to “suffocate the competition” by keeping a stronghold on virtually every aspect of the industry, from concert promotion to ticketing.

Additionally, the attorney general said the impact on consumers is seen in an “endless list of fees on fans.”

“Live music should not be available only to those who can afford to pay the Ticketmaster tax,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “We are here today to fight for competition so that we can reopen the doors to the live music industry for all.”

The Justice Department said Live Nation’s anti-competitive practices include using long-term contracts to keep venues from choosing rival ticketers, blocking venues from using multiple ticket sellers, and threatening venues that they could lose money and fans if they don’t choose Ticketmaster.

Additonally, Live Nation allegedly threatened to retaliate against one firm if it didn’t stop a subsidiary from competing for artist promotion contracts.

Live Nation Responds To Lawsuit

Meanwhile, parent company Live Nation has years denied that it is violating antitrust laws, per AP. After the DOJ filed its lawsuit, Live Nation reportedly gave a lil’ spicy response. The company said suing them “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,” Live Nation said

Live Nation claimed that most service fees go to venues and that outside competition has “steadily eroded” Ticketmaster’s market share. The company said it would defend itself “against these baseless allegations” and push for other reforms.

Ticketmaster is reportedly the world’s largest ticket seller. The company merged with Live Nation in 2010. During its annual report last month, Ticketmaster said it distributed more than 620 million tickets through its systems in 2023.

According to data in a federal lawsuit filed by consumers in 2022, around 70% of tickets for major concert venues in the U.S. are sold through Ticketmaster.

The company allegedly owns or controls more than 265 of North America’s concert venues and dozens of top amphitheaters.

Associated Press staff Alanna Durkin, Wyatte Grantham-Phillips, Michelle Chapman, and Maria Sherman contributed to this report.

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