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Justice Department Sues Live Nation, Alleging Monopoly Over Live Events

by Violet Dawson
0 comment

Live Nation’s shares have dropped by 8.3%. 

The Justice Department sued the concert giant, Live Nation Entertainment who is the owner of Ticketmaster accusing them of running an illegal monopoly over live events in America. Further asking a court to break up the system that squelches competition and drives up prices for fans. They are said to have inflated ticket prices for concerts, shows and other events.

Live Nation’s shares have dropped by 8.3%. 

This lawsuit filed by the Justice Department is a direct attack on Live Nation’s business. Being a giant in the entertainment industry it is a powerful influence in the lives of the musicians and their fans both. After 14 years of the government approval of Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s merger, this lawsuit was filed. This case holds the power to change the multibillion concert industry. 

“It is time to break up Live Nation. It is time for fans and artists to stop paying the price for Live Nation’s monopoly” said the US Attorney General Merrick Garland. It 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,” Garland said, adding that as a result fans pay more in fees, artists have fewer opportunities to perform and smaller promoters get squeezed out.

The long due lawsuit, joined by attorneys general from 29 states and Washington DC  was filed in New York by the Justice Department. Confronting the country’s biggest ticketing website as well as the concert promoter, who is said to be the force behind the scheme to suppress competition. The government now seeks jury trial and breakup of the company and further dismantle the monopoly that is hurting the artists, drowning the ticket buyers in fees and driving away smaller promoters. According to records, Live Nation Entertainment has a past of clashes with major artists and their fans including Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen.

Live Nation is also accused of multiple things like working with a venue management firm and lock venues in order to steer clients into signing exclusive agreements with Ticketmaster, forcing artists into using their services and threatening its rivals into financial retaliation. The artists are threatened to sign long-term exclusive agreements with venues that prevent the jump to potential competitors. This in turn helps Ticketmaster to become the default ticketing platform for entertainment artists because Live Nation controls a large share of the venues where they perform.

Live Nation controls and takes over 60% of concert promotions at major venues in the United States and somewhere around 80% of primary at major concert venues as per the Justice Department. 

Many lawmakers, fans of the artists and competitors have accused Live Nation of being involved in practices that harm other companies and shoot up ticket prices and fees. Senators from both parties referred to Live Nation as a monopoly during a congressional hearing held early last year, which was sparked by a Taylor Swift tour presale on Ticketmaster that prevented millions of people from purchasing tickets.

In case Live Nation is proven guilty, the case could lead to major changes in the market for live events. An industry which once was under scrutiny in 2022 after the glitches at Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour. The Swift issue was big for many critics of Live Nations, revealing how lack of competition has led to a lot of damage. From poor customer service, hiked and confusing pricing, expensive ticketing fees to restriction on sales leading to many complaints from the customers. 

However, fans looking to cut costs still have a ways to go as the lawsuit is expected to take years to work its way through the legal system. The outrageous fees people are all too familiar with won’t likely change significantly in the interim.

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