Concert giant: US government wants to bust Live Nation

The Justice Department, along with 30 state and district attorneys, filed an antitrust lawsuit in federal court in New York. It accuses Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, of abusing their dominant market position by driving up ticket prices and driving competitors out of the market.

“It’s time for fans and artists to stop paying the price for Live Nation’s monopoly,” said US Attorney General Merrick Garland. “It’s time to restore competition and innovation in the entertainment industry. It’s time to break up the Live Nation-Ticketmaster. The American people are ready for it.

AP/Jose Luis Magana

US Attorney General Garland has taken tough action against Live Nation

“Garland alleges that the company exercises monopolistic control over the live events industry through anti-competitive conduct at the expense of fans, artists, small promoters and venue operators. The suit also alleges that Live Nation uses threats and retaliation against venue operators to discourage them from working with competitors.”

Fusion became the largest industrial company in 2010

Live Nation denied the allegations and said the lawsuit “does not address issues important to fans regarding ticket prices, processing fees and on-demand access to events.” The case helped the Justice Department achieve a “short-term PR hit.” But it will fail in court because it ignores the “basic economic function” of the industry.

Ticketmaster has been criticized in the US for decades because of service fees and ticket costs. When the company merged with former rival Live Nation to form Live Nation Entertainment in 2010, the group became nearly all-powerful in the music business when it came to live events. The US Department of Justice approved the merger only on the condition that Live Nation agree not to discriminate against concert promoters who use other ticket providers for ten years.

A quick confusion sparked a debate

In 2019, the ministry investigated the case and found that Live Nation had “repeatedly” violated the requirements and extended them until 2025. Already in 2022, consumer advocates filed a federal lawsuit against the company. About 70 percent of tickets for major concert events in the U.S. are sold through Ticketmaster. According to the Justice Department, the company owns or controls more than 265 North American concert halls and dozens of large amphitheaters.

Taylor Swift Concert Glendale, Arizona (USA)

APA/AFP/Getty Images/Kevin Winter

In November 2022, Ticketmaster’s servers crashed due to an attack by Swift fans

Debate over the company’s market dominance in November 2022 has been fueled by confusion surrounding pre-sales for Taylor Swift’s tour. Due to high demand, the company’s servers crashed. The company says its website is flooded with both fans and bots. The failure led to congressional investigations and state bills aimed at better protecting consumers.

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