Monday, June 17, 2024

US Government files lawsuit against Ticketmaster and Live Nation for alleged monopoly practices | Business and Economic Update

Justice Department Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Live Nation and Ticketmaster for Monopoly Practices

The Department of Justice in the United States has filed a sweeping antitrust lawsuit against Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation Entertainment, accusing them of running an illegal monopoly and inflating ticket prices for concerts, shows, and other events.

The lawsuit, filed in US federal court in Manhattan on Thursday, was brought with 30 state and district attorneys general and seeks to break up the monopoly they say is squeezing out smaller promoters and hurting artists.

Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter stated, “The live music industry in America is broken because Live Nation-Ticketmaster has an illegal monopoly. Our antitrust lawsuit seeks to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s monopoly and restore competition for the benefit of fans and artists.”

The situation drew widespread attention in 2022 after Ticketmaster botched sales for Taylor Swift’s concert tour, with fans facing long online queues, high prices, and poor service. This prompted congressional hearings and bills in US state legislatures to better protect consumers.

The Justice Department accused Live Nation of using tactics to maintain control over the live music scene, such as long-term contracts with venues, blocking multiple ticket sellers, and threatening venues with financial loss if they didn’t choose Ticketmaster.

Live Nation has denied the allegations, stating that Ticketmaster’s market dominance is due to the quality of its system. They called the lawsuit a possible “PR win” for the Justice Department.

US lawmakers and Senator Amy Klobuchar welcomed the Justice Department’s lawsuit, with Klobuchar stating, “It is way past time to break up Live Nation/Ticketmaster.”

Ticketmaster, processing 500 million tickets annually in over 30 countries, controls about 70 percent of tickets for major US concert venues. The company owns or manages over 265 North American concert venues, according to the Justice Department.

This lawsuit comes as part of a larger effort by US antitrust enforcers to create more competition in various industries, following a similar lawsuit against Apple in March alleging smartphone market monopoly.

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