U.S. Government: We’re Suing Ticketmaster For Running Monopoly Hurting Consumers And Competition

U.S. Government: We’re Suing Ticketmaster For Running Monopoly Hurting Consumers And Competition


Photo by Teddy Yang

The Justice Department, along with 30 state and district attorneys general, has filed a sweeping antitrust lawsuit against Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, accuses the companies of running an illegal monopoly over live events in the U.S. and asks the court to dismantle their dominance, which it claims stifles competition, drives up prices, and harms both consumers and smaller promoters.

The lawsuit aims to break up what the government sees as an anti-competitive stranglehold on the live music industry. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, “It’s time for fans and artists to stop paying the price for Live Nation’s monopoly. It is time to restore competition and innovation in the entertainment industry. It is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster.”

The Justice Department’s complaint outlines a series of alleged anti-competitive practices by Live Nation, including: using long-term contracts to prevent venues from choosing rival ticket sellers; blocking venues from using multiple ticket sellers; threatening venues with financial retaliation if they don’t choose Ticketmaster; and scooping up smaller promoters viewed as threats to their dominance, ABC News reported.

Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division remarked, “Live music should not be available only to those who can afford to pay the Ticketmaster tax. The live music industry in America is broken because Live Nation-Ticketmaster has an illegal monopoly.”

The lawsuit follows years of complaints from fans and artists about the high costs and poor service associated with Ticketmaster. Notable incidents included the botched ticket sales for Taylor Swift’s 2022 concert tour where consumers were subjected to exorbitant prices, long online queues, and significant fees, Al Jazeera reported.

Live Nation has consistently denied violating antitrust laws. In response to the lawsuit, the company stated, “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 contends that most service fees go to venues and claims that competition has eroded Ticketmaster’s market share. The company vowed to defend itself against what it calls “baseless allegations.”

Photo by Teddy Yang: https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-inside-concert-hall-2263436/