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The Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit against Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster

The Department of Justice is filing a lawsuit against Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster

“We allege that Live Nation relies on illegal and anticompetitive conduct to exercise its monopoly control over the live events industry in the United States to the detriment of fans, artists, small promoters, and venue operators,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. . “The result is that fans pay more fees, artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts, smaller promoters are squeezed, and venues have fewer real options for ticket services. It’s time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster.”

Shares of Live Nation were down 5% Thursday morning.

Live Nation said in a statement that the Justice Department’s monopoly allegations are “ridiculous.”

“The DOJ complaint attempts to paint Live Nation and Ticketmaster as the cause of fans’ frustration with the live entertainment industry. It blames concert promoters and ticket companies — neither of which control ticket prices — for rising ticket prices. It ignores everything that is actually responsible,” he said. Dan Wall, Live Nation’s executive vice president of corporate and regulatory affairs: “It takes rising ticket prices, from increased production costs to artist popularity, to the 24/7 scalping of online tickets, revealing audiences’ willingness to pay more.” Much more than the cost of the initial tickets.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010, creating a dominant entity in the live events industry. The company operates and manages ticket sales for live entertainment globally, and also owns and operates more than 265 entertainment venues in North America, including more than 60 of the top 100 amphitheaters, according to the Justice Department lawsuit.

Through Ticketmaster, Live Nation controls approximately 80% or more of the base tickets for major concert venues, the complaint said.

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The Justice Department’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, accuses Live Nation of maintaining a self-reinforcing business model by seizing fees and revenue from concert fans and sponsorships, which it then uses to lock in artists for exclusive rights. Promotional deals give artists access to major entertainment venues across the country. The lawsuit alleges that Live Nation then uses this dominance to secure new concert venues in long-term exclusion contracts, thus restarting the cycle.

Live Nation is also accused of threatening financial retaliation against potential competitors and venues that work with competitors. strategically acquire smaller, regional competitive threats; and exploiting the relationship with venue partner Oak View Group, transferring the latter’s contracts to Ticketmaster and discouraging competition in concert promotions.

Live Nation made headlines last year when a spike in demand from 14 million users, including bots, for Taylor Swift concert tickets led to site crashes and slow queues. A Senate subcommittee issued a subpoena to Live Nation and Ticketmaster in November 2023, following a months-long investigation into exorbitant inflation of ticket prices for Swift’s Eras tour.

The exorbitant prices for shows in the United States have prompted dozens of fans to seek tickets for Swift’s tour in other countries, which are often even cheaper after international air travel.

“Music fans in the United States are deprived of ticket innovation and forced to use outdated technology while paying more for tickets than fans in other countries,” the Justice Department said in a press release.

Live Nation earlier this month Announced its “biggest quarter ever” Citing first-quarter revenues that rose 21% from the same period a year earlier.

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The company was also in the public eye last year over transparency issues regarding hidden fees in ticket prices.

This is breaking news. . Please check back for updates