The DOJ To Sue Live Nation On Antitrust Grounds

( — The Department of Justice is preparing a lawsuit against Live Nation, Ticketmaster’s parent company, based on its alleged violation of antitrust laws.

Live Nation is one of the United States’ most prominent ticketing/event planning companies and has made national headlines due to various scandals over the past few years. Lawmakers took notice of Live Nation after the ticketing giant made mistakes while selling tickets for the recent Taylor Swift Eras Tour, raising concerns about the company’s prominence in the live entertainment industry.

Ticketmaster famously failed to accommodate a large amount of traffic to its website once it began selling tickets for Taylor Swift’s 2022 tour, which ultimately caused the webpage to crash for many users. Swift released a statement about the controversy, claiming the ticketing service assured her team that it could accommodate the massive surge in web traffic once ticket sales began live. The scandal resulted in swift backlash for the ticketing service and an almost ten percent drop in Live Nation’s stock. The website crash immediately prompted lawmakers like Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to address the scandal and encourage the Department of Justice to investigate Live Nation for unfair competitive practices.

While Blumenthal called for an investigation, the Department of Justice reportedly already had an open investigation into Live Nation. Live Nation first merged with Ticketmaster back in 2010, which immediately raised concerns about a ticketing monopoly forming. Instead of attempting to block the merger, the Department of Justice instituted a consent decree, which would’ve prevented Live Nation from trying to force events to use its service. The Department of Justice initially instituted the decree as a ten-year measure but extended it by another five years once the decree ended.

While the Taylor Swift ticket scandal has given Live Nation more scrutiny, artists have long argued against using the ticketing service due to its unfair practices. Many artists claim that Live Nation intentionally inflates ticket prices, which the ticketing service couldn’t legally do. Live Nation denies engaging in ticket price inflation and argues that artists determine ticket prices on the platform. Despite Live Nation’s denial of unfair business practices, the Department of Justice isn’t convinced.

The Department of Justice has engaged in multiple antitrust lawsuits over the past few years, including a high-profile legal action against Apple for its anti consumer business practices. The Department of Justice has also sued Google. Some legal experts believe the suit against Live Nation is unlikely to reach trial, as the Department of Justice focused on its business practices rather than its structure and organization.

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