LifestyleLive Nation faces DOJ antitrust lawsuit for dominance in ticketing

Live Nation faces DOJ antitrust lawsuit for dominance in ticketing

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment over concerns about the company’s dominant position in the live event ticketing market.

The move comes after years of controversy surrounding Live Nation and its subsidiary, Ticketmaster, which have faced criticism for their market practices and handling of major events.

The public’s discontent with Ticketmaster’s handling of Taylor Swift’s ‘Eras’ tour was a tipping point. The lack of transparency, exorbitant fees, and inability to curb bot purchases sparked a public outcry. During a congressional hearing in January 2023, U.S. senators lambasted Live Nation for these issues, leading to an apology from Joe Berchtold, Live Nation’s president and CFO. Ticketmaster, however, has consistently shifted blame to scalpers using bots, deflecting criticism from its own practices.

The DOJ lawsuit echoes longstanding concerns about Live Nation’s market power. In 2010, federal regulators permitted Live Nation to merge with Ticketmaster despite reservations from regulators and concertgoers. Subsequent investigations in 2019 revealed that Live Nation had allegedly pressured ticket venues to use Ticketmaster’s services. As a result, the DOJ imposed additional restrictions on the company, which will expire in 2025.

Despite Ticketmaster’s control over a significant portion of the primary ticket market, the company denies allegations of monopolistic behavior, citing increased competition in the industry.

Earlier this year, the American Economic Liberties Project released a policy brief advocating for the breakup of the merged entity known as “The Case Against Live Nation-Ticketmaster.” The brief coincided with the one-year anniversary of the #BreakUpTicketmaster campaign, which has gained significant support from fans, artists, and independent venue owners. 

Katherine Van Dyck, senior counsel at the American Economic Liberties Project, stressed the urgency of the situation, stating that “Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s monopoly power has led to unfair practices that harm venues, artists, and fans. The DOJ must act swiftly and decisively to restore competition in the live events industry.”

Lee Hepner, legal counsel at the American Economic Liberties Project, echoed this sentiment, calling for separating Live Nation’s various business segments to ensure fair competition.The policy brief outlines specific remedies the DOJ could pursue, including the complete divestment of Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s core businesses. It also suggests ending Ticketmaster’s exclusive venue agreements and implementing stricter oversight measures.

Source: Washington Informer

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