Department of Justice- Live Nation - Ticketmaster
Department of Justice files antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster

The Justice Department dropped a bombshell antitrust lawsuit on Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, on Thursday (May 23).

Accusing them of running an illegal monopoly over live events in America, the DOJ, along with 30 state and district attorneys general, is looking to break up the dynamic duo they say is jacking up prices and squeezing out the little guys in the concert world.

The Antitrust Showdown

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, aims to dismantle the monopoly that’s been making life tough for fans, artists, smaller promoters, and venue operators.

Attorney General Merrick Garland didn’t mince words: “We allege that Live Nation relies on unlawful, anticompetitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States at the cost of fans, artists, smaller promoters, and venue operators. It is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster.”

Imagine a world where concert tickets don’t cost an arm, a leg, and your firstborn child! That’s the dream the DOJ is selling, and I’m all here for it.

Dirty Tricks & Long Contracts

The DOJ is calling out Live Nation for a laundry list of shady practices.

They accuse the concert giant of using long-term contracts to keep venues locked into their services, blocking venues from using multiple ticket sellers, and threatening them with financial ruin and empty seats if they don’t comply.

And it gets messier! Live Nation allegedly threatened to retaliate against one firm if it didn’t stop a subsidiary from competing for artist promotion contracts.

Live Nation’s Defense: ‘Not Our Fault!

In a statement about as convincing as JAY-Z announced his farewell tour, Live Nation said the DOJ’s lawsuit “won’t solve the issues fans care about relating to ticket prices, service fees, and access to in-demand shows.”

They claimed that calling Ticketmaster a monopoly is a PR stunt that will backfire in court, arguing that most service fees go to venues anyway.

“Calling Ticketmaster a monopoly may be a PR win for the DOJ in the short term, but it will lose in court because it ignores the basic economics of live entertainment,” Live Nation huffed.

The company is ready to defend itself against what it calls “baseless allegations.”

A History of Grievances

Ticketmaster and Live Nation have been on the hot seat before.

Competitors have long griped about how difficult it is to break into the market thanks to Live Nation’s strong-arm tactics.

Remember the great Taylor Swift ticket disaster of November 2022?

Ticketmaster’s site crashed during a presale for her stadium tour, causing chaos and congressional hearings. It’s like the encore nobody wanted.

Ticketmaster, which merged with Live Nation in 2010, is the world’s largest ticket seller.

In 2023 alone, they distributed more than 620 million tickets.

Around 70% of tickets for major U.S. concert venues are sold through Ticketmaster, and they control more than 265 of North America’s concert venues.

A Step Toward Change

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco summed up the DOJ’s move with a sense of optimism: “Today’s action is a step forward in making this era of live music more accessible for the fans, the artists, and the industry that supports them.”

So, here’s to hoping this lawsuit shakes up the concert industry and gives us all a shot at scoring tickets without selling a kidney.

Watch The DOJ Announce Their Lawsuit Against Live Nation & Ticketmaster

Stay tuned, because this is one concert drama that’s far from over.

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