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U.S. Department Of Justice & 30 States Sue To Break Up Live Nation

About time.


The U.S. Justice Department, 30 states, and District of Columbia have filed a lawsuit to break up Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. The lawsuit comes after a few years of examining Live Nation's ticketing practices, which U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland had some pretty harsh words about.

"We allege that Live Nation 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," said Attorney General Merrick Garland in a statement.

"The result is that fans pay more in fees, artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts, smaller promoters get squeezed out, and venues have fewer real choices for ticketing services. It is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster."

According to CNN, the lawsuit alleges that Live Nation sought to monopolize live music, effectively cutting out everyone but themselves and using that position to charge whatever they want. Live Nation has not responded to the lawsuit.

For those unaware, Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. was founded in 2010 after Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged.

Live Nation and the federal government of the United States haven't exactly had the best relationship over the past few years. In 2023, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) issued a subpoena to Live Nation Entertainment and its subsidiary Ticketmaster, demanding documents related to ticket pricing, fees, and resale practices.

The PSI's probe was initially launched in March following widespread criticism of Ticketmaster's handling of ticket sales for concerts by Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen. In both cases, fans were met with exorbitant fees and technical glitches that made it nearly impossible to purchase tickets. These incidents, along with Ticketmaster's dominant position in the live entertainment market, have raised concerns about the company's use of monopoly power to gouge consumers.

Live Nation Entertainment was also sued in 2023 over antitrust laws by a group of consumers, but won the lawsuit thanks to their their Terms And Conditions. The antitrust lawsuit was filed in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was ruled against by a judge, who said the lawsuit belongs in arbitration rather than in court.

In 2022, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Democratic representative for New Jersey's 9th congressional district, called for Live Nation Entertainment to be broken up over safety and monopolization concerns. Pascrell originally wrote to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in March of that year saying that mergers should be easier to overturn, and that the 2010 merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster was both bad for competition and caused a lapse in safety measurements at events.

"The union of Live Nation and Ticketmaster is a posterchild of consolidation gone bad," said Pascrell in his letter. "When Live Nation, the nation's biggest concert promoter, and Ticketmaster, the largest ticket provider sought to combine, they assured regulators that their fusion would promote competition in the live events marketplace. Several members of Congress, including myself, vocally disagreed. We practically begged President Obama's administration to stop the deal."

Pascrell cited tragedies like Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival, where 10 people died and hundreds were injuries as crowds got out of control. Despite the incidents, Live Nation Entertainment has only continued to grow financially.

Mark Perry of American Enterprise Institute penned a similar letter published by The Hill, saying that Live Nation Entertainment currently owns 70% market share of the concert ticket market and 80% of ticket distribution for stadiums and arenas in the United States. Perry concluded his letter, saying "With live events back, Washington should not miss this opportunity to fix what is broken in live event ticketing."

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