In an email sent to Pollstar, Live Nation dismissed last week’s call by a pair of senators for a hard look at the company by the Department of Justice (DOJ), accusing competitors of using misinformation related to their business practices and insisting that the DOJ has already been monitoring its compliance without issue. “There is no cause for further investigations or studies,” it concluded.
Senators Richard Blumenthol (D-Conn.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) urged the DOJ take a look at the live entertainment industry and Live Nation Entertainment’s adherence to a 2010 consent decree it agreed to when it merged with Ticketmaster last week in a letter to Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Antitrust Division. In a letter, originally reported by Billboard, they expressed concern over reports that the industry giant is “flouting the conditions” of that consent decree, and that they “are deeply disturbed by reports that Ticketmaster has violated the behavioral conditions by retaliating against venues that use a competing ticketing platform.”
They asked that the Department look into these allegations, and consider whether or not the consent decree should be extended beyond its current expiration date of July 2020.
In its response, Live Nation insisted that it has won clients simply by “providing the best ticketing solution in the industry,” rather than any anti-competitive actions. “We do not force anyone into ticketing agreements by leveraging content, and we do not retaliate against venues that choose other ticketing providers.”
“Nevertheless, for years now some competitors have found it useful to confuse the issue with misinformation and baseless allegations of consent decree violations,” it continued.
Those lines are likely direct reference to an explosive New York Times report from April of 2018, which outlined a series of allegations by competitors of retaliatory actions by the company against venues who opted to use ticketing providers besides Ticketmaster. That story was one of several that broke hard against Live Nation in the past year, inviting increased scrutiny from politicians, including the recent reintroduction of the BOSS act to regulate online ticket sales – co-sponsored by Sen. Blumenthol.
The increased scrutiny from politicians, Live Nation wrote, is “based on a fundamental misunderstanding of our consent decree and general ticketing industry dynamics.”
Their full response, as published by Pollstar, is included below:
“Unfortunately, the Senators’ letter is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of our consent decree and general ticketing industry dynamics.
“Ticketmaster has been successfully growing its client base over the past decade as a result of continuous innovation and providing the best ticketing solution in the industry. During that period, Live Nation and Ticketmaster have always complied with their obligations under the consent decree. We do not force anyone into ticketing agreements by leveraging content, and we do not retaliate against venues that choose other ticketing providers.
“Nevertheless, for years now some competitors have found it useful to confuse the issue with misinformation and baseless allegations of consent decree violations. These complaints have been investigated by the Department of Justice pursuant to its broad powers to monitor compliance with the decree. There is no cause for further investigations or studies.”