Public Knowledge Hails DOJ Antitrust Suit To Break Up Live Nation/Ticketmaster Monopoly

The Justice Department has filed suit against Live Nation/Ticketmaster for monopolization and threatening competition.

Today, the U.S. Department of Justice, along with 30 state and district attorneys general, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment and its subsidiary, Ticketmaster, for monopolization and threatening competition in the live entertainment industry.

Almost 15 years ago, the Justice Department approved the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, combining the world’s largest concert promoter – a major venue operator and artist manager – with the world’s largest ticket provider. The DOJ approved the merger on the condition that Ticketmaster refrain from retaliating against venues that choose not to use its platform to sell tickets. Unfortunately, the conglomerate abused its outsized market power and violated that order repeatedly, resulting in a new, extended monitoring agreement in 2019. The suit follows years of Public Knowledge advocacy urging the Justice Department to rein in Live Nation/Ticketmaster’s anticompetitive conduct

The following can be attributed to Elise Phillips, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“We applaud the Department of Justice for filing this lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ticketmaster, after years of public and regulatory scrutiny. This lawsuit follows a 2019 investigation that uncovered Live Nation’s abuse of monopoly power to squeeze downstream venues and artists – in direct violation of the conditions placed on its 2010 acquisition of Ticketmaster.

“The DOJ presents a strong argument in this suit, highlighting a variety of tactics that Live Nation Entertainment has used to further entrench its monopoly power in the live entertainment market. For example, the complaint alleges that the conglomerate retaliated against potential competitors; threatened venues that work with existing rivals; and used contracts with restrictive provisions to prevent artists and venues from working with anyone but Ticketmaster.

“Live Nation and Ticketmaster have spent years charging exorbitant fees to consumers and exploiting their market power to force concert venues and other promoters to do business with them just to survive. They control 80 percent of ticket venues, and traffic exclusive agreements that cover 70 percent of ticket sales. This anticompetitive dynamic results in higher fees, fewer concert opportunities, and even fewer market choices for consumers. 

“This lawsuit marks an important step towards restoring competition in the live entertainment market. However, there is still more to be done. We implore lawmakers to strengthen our antitrust and consumer protection laws to prevent platforms like Ticketmaster from exercising this type of anticompetitive conduct in the future, and to ensure that fans can pay a fair price for events.”

View our article, “More Needs to Be Done to Rein in the Ticketmaster Monopoly,” for more information on Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s anticompetitive behavior.

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