Live Nation Faces Antitrust DOJ Lawsuit in Latest Move to Limit Concert Ticket Dominance

The suit is expected to come out of the Southern District of New York as soon as Thursday, Bloomberg and The Washington Post report

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Live Nation

The Department of Justice is expected to file suit Thursday against Live Nation Entertainment — which includes concert giant Ticketmaster — for antitrust violations, Bloomberg and The Washington Post reported late Wednesday.

The lawsuit will be filed in the Southern District of New York, according to the former outlet.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the suit was in the works over outrageously high fees, poor customer service and anticompetitive practices, such as retaliating against stadiums and arenas that opted to use other ticketing companies.

“Based on the issues we know about, we don’t believe a breakup of Live Nation and Ticketmaster would be a legally permissible remedy,” Live Nation CFO and president Joe Berchtold said earlier this month. He added that he believes the DOJ investigation is more focused on specific business practices, rather than the Live Nation merger with Ticketmaster.

The merger between the two companies took place in 2010 and was approved by the DOJ at the time. Neither party immediately responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.

The DOJ has reportedly been scrutinizing the Beverly Hills-based conglomerate, which bills itself as the “world’s leading live entertainment company,” for years.

In 2018, it was reportedly probing allegations that the merged company used its dominance in the concert tours business to pressure venues into selling their tickets on Ticketmaster or risk losing popular acts.

Politicians on both sides on the aisles, including Amy Klobuchar, have chastised the company for its mishandling of sales on Taylor Swift’s Eras tour.

In November 2022, Klobuchar called for a Senate investigation into Ticketmaster, telling CBS Minnesota affiliate WCCO, “I’ve called for years for a change, and maybe Taylor Swift fans … will finally put it over the edge.”

The company’s shares fell 7% after the bell on Wednesday, per Reuters.

Live Nation issued the following statement about the “baseless allegations” on Thursday morning:

The DOJ’s lawsuit won’t solve the issues fans care about relating to ticket prices, service fees, and access to in-demand shows. 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, such as the fact that the bulk of service fees go to venues, and that competition has steadily eroded Ticketmaster’s market share and profit margin. Our growth comes from helping artists tour globally, creating lasting memories for millions of fans, and supporting local economies across the country by sustaining quality jobs. We will defend against these baseless allegations, use this opportunity to shed light on the industry, and continue to push for reforms that truly protect consumers and artists.

• Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s annual 1.4% annual net profits are the opposite of monopoly power.

• There is more competition than ever in the live events market – which is why Ticketmaster’s market share has declined since 2010. 

• This lawsuit distracts from real solutions that would decrease prices and protect fans – like letting artists cap resale prices.


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