DOJ Sues Live Nation and Ticketmaster Over Alleged Monopoly Practices

The Department of Justice, along with 30 state and district attorneys general, has filed a federal lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment and its subsidiary Ticketmaster, accusing the companies of monopolistic practices in the live events industry.

The suit marks a critical step in addressing long-standing concerns about the dominance of Live Nation and Ticketmaster in the concert ticket market. The complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York, alleges that Live Nation has used its market power to stifle competition, resulting in higher ticket prices and limited options for consumers.

The DOJ claims that the company’s tactics have harmed music fans, artists and smaller promoters by fostering an unfair market landscape.

“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,” Attorney General Merrick Garland stated. “It is time to break up Live Nation.”

“We’re here not because Ticketmaster’s conduct is inconvenient or frustrating… we’re here because it’s illegal,” he added.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster in 2023 came under fire after cancelling a botched pre-sale to Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour.”

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In response to the lawsuit, Dan Wall, Live Nation’s Executive Vice President of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, argued that it “ignores everything that is actually responsible for higher ticket prices, from rising production costs to artist popularity, to 24/7 online ticket scalping.”

Wall also noted that Live Nation’s net profits do not reflect monopoly power, calling such claims “absurd” in a scathing blog post.

“The defining feature of a monopolist is monopoly profits derived from monopoly pricing. Live Nation in no way fits the profile,” he said. “Service charges on Ticketmaster are no higher than on SeatGeek, AXS, or other primary ticketing sites, and are frequently lower. In fact, when Ticketmaster loses a venue to SeatGeek, service charges usually go up substantially. And even accounting for sponsorship, an advertising business that helps keep ticket prices down, Live Nation’s overall net profit margin is at the low end of profitable S&P 500 companies.”

Shares of Live Nation reportedly fell 5% following news of the lawsuit.

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