Ticketmaster May Finally Get What It Deserves

Ticketmaster May Finally Get What It Deserves

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Ticket Takers

The Department of Justice is suing Ticketmaster and Live Nation, the monolithic ticketing enterprise that merged in 2010, over its alleged industry monopoly that’s said to drive prices through the roof and make it harder for artists, fans, venues, and competitors to get butts in seats.

In a press release about the sweeping lawsuit, which was filed in Manhattan and includes sign-offs from 30 state and district attorneys general, the DOJ declared that it seeks to break up the ticketing monolith’s monopoly on the industry.

The behemoth that is Live Nation-Ticketmaster has from the very start been under government antitrust scrutiny given that the two biggest ticketing companies in the US merged into one.

Besides a complaint brought by Pearl Jam in 1994 and a StubHub lawsuit in 2015, the majority of challenges against the company’s ticketing stranglehold have occurred in the post-COVID-lockdown years, with a flurry of suits in 2022 brought by fans of Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen setting the scene for the current era of government skepticism.

After the US Senate took up the mantle early last year and held hearings on Ticketmaster, Minnesota signed into law a bill that will make the ticket-buying process more transparent earlier this month — and now, the Justice Department is clearly piggybacking off that law’s success.

High Time

The DOJ is claiming in its new suit that the conglomerate “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.”

In its press release, the agency outlined several ways that Ticketmaster allegedly maintains control over the ticket sales industry, including buying out competitors, successfully threatening financial retaliation against other promotion companies, and threatening and retaliating against venues that work with its rivals. If that sounds more than a little mafia-esque to you, you’re definitely not alone.

As a result of these alleged tactics, AG Garland said, “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.”

In its own statement, the Live Nation-Ticketmaster said that claims that it wields monopoly power over the industry are “absurd” and that there is now more competition than ever before.

“We are another casualty of [the Biden] Administration’s decision to turn over antitrust enforcement to a populist urge that simply rejects how antitrust law works,” the statement reads. ” Some call this ‘Anti-Monopoly’, but in reality it is just anti-business.”

It’s not at all surprising that a merged conglomerate that just got sued by the federal government is waving the “anti-business” banner, and this attempt to paint itself as the victim is one of the many reasons why this company’s forthcoming comeuppance already feels so sweet.

“It is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster,” the attorney general declared, and we couldn’t agree more.

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Ticketmaster May Finally Get What It Deserves

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