Since its 2010 merger with Ticketmaster, Live Nation allegedly violated its consent decree on five separate instances reported by the Department of Justice, sources tell Billboard.
According to the sources, these five instances took place when Ticketmaster attempted to renew a promoter or venue’s contract. Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation would reportedly withhold tours if the clients didn’t renew, allegedly using direct or indirect threats. These threats would be in violation of the consent decree that was put in place under the Obama administration, as the decree prohibits Ticketmaster officials from threatening or retaliating against venues.
While the five instances have not been revealed at this time, some could have been outlined in the New York Times article last year. The piece mentions a 2013 Matchbox Twenty Tour that skipped the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, Georgia after the venue signed with AEG’s ticketing platform AXS. Live Nation coordinators reportedly told the building’s GM that they lost the date because of “three letters,” pointing at AXS. Additionally, another incidence could have involved the Los Angeles Football Club of Major League Soccer; the team switched from SeatGeek to Ticketmaster after one season.
Sources told Billboard that competitors, like AEG Presents, have given up on trying to get the DOJ to take action against the ticketing giant, noting that language in the decree makes it easy for Live Nation to ensure that tours stop at Ticketmaster venues. If Live Nation promotes a show at a Ticketmaster venue, the company will make more money by charging exorbitant fees from its own ticketing system.
Already, the DOJ is looking into Ticketmaster’s anti-competitive practices that prevent fans and brokers from reselling tickets on other sites with no-transfer policies and scalping their own tickets. Now, officials from the DOJ are considering looking at the ticketing site’s business practices, following calls from senators Richard Blumenthal (D-NJ) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) over the past few months.
According to President Donald Trump’s appointed assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, his department has been “examining allegations of violations” of the 2010 settlement, he noted at an oversight hearing this past September.