Monday, June 17, 2024

Department of Justice files lawsuit to break up Ticketmaster and Live Nation, claiming “monopoly domination”

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Ticketmaster and Live Nation, Alleging Illegal Monopoly in Live Events Industry

Justice Department Sues Ticketmaster and Live Nation, Alleging Illegal Monopoly and Price Gouging

In a bold move to break up what it calls an illegal monopoly in the entertainment industry, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, on Thursday. The lawsuit, joined by 30 state and district attorneys general, aims to dismantle the system that the government says is squelching competition and driving up prices for fans.

Attorney General Merrick Garland emphasized the need to restore competition and innovation in the entertainment industry, stating that it is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster to benefit fans and artists alike. The lawsuit accuses Live Nation of using various tactics, including threats and retaliation, to control virtually every aspect of the industry, from concert promotion to ticketing.

Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division pointed out that live music should be accessible to all, not just those who can afford the exorbitant fees imposed by Ticketmaster. Live Nation, however, denied violating antitrust laws and stated that the lawsuit will not address the issues that fans care about, such as ticket prices and service fees.

The government’s case against Live Nation includes allegations of using long-term contracts to prevent venues from choosing competitors, blocking venues from using multiple ticket sellers, and threatening venues with financial losses if they do not opt for Ticketmaster. The lawsuit also highlights Live Nation’s acquisitions of smaller promoters viewed as threats to its monopoly.

Legal experts believe that the Justice Department has a strong case against Live Nation and Ticketmaster. A potential breakup between the two companies, along with other remedies to increase competition, could lead to lower ticket prices for fans, greater agency for artists in choosing venues, and increased success for smaller promoters in the industry.

Ticketmaster, the world’s largest ticket seller, has faced criticism over its practices for years. Recent incidents, such as a site crash during a presale event for a Taylor Swift stadium tour, have raised concerns about consumer protection and prompted congressional hearings. The Justice Department’s lawsuit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster is part of the Biden administration’s aggressive antitrust enforcement efforts, targeting companies accused of engaging in illegal monopolies that harm competition and consumers.

The outcome of this lawsuit could have significant implications for the live entertainment industry, potentially leading to a more competitive and consumer-friendly market for fans, artists, and promoters alike.

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