U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) are urging the Department of Justice to investigate Live Nation’s “near-monopoly” in the live event ticket market. The Senators addressed their request in a letter to Jonathan Kanter, and Assistant Attorney General in the DOJ’s Antitrust Division.

Their request centers around their concern that Live Nation has continued to violate the terms and spirit of a consent decree that it has been subject to since the approval of its merger with Ticketmaster by the Obama Administration. That decree was extended in 2019 after a prior investigation by the DOJ found multiple violations by Live Nation. It appears to have been spurred by Sunday’s scathing report on the ticketing industry by comedian John Oliver and his show Last Week Tonight.

“We write to urge the Department to investigate the state of competition in the live entertainment and ticketing industry, including any potential anticompetitive and anti-consumer actions by Live Nation, and to take action, as appropriate, to enforce the antitrust laws and restore competition to these important markets,” wrote Blumenthal and Klobuchar. “We are deeply concerned that the Department’s past enforcement and negotiated remedies in this industry have failed to adequately foster and protect competition in live entertainment and ticketing markets.”

TFL and ATBS for ticketing professionals

Their letter points out that Live Nation has acquired 58 companies between 2006 and 2021, dramatically increasing its hold on the promotional and event markets, while it simultaneously steers venues and tours to use Ticketmaster to ticket shows and events. Even the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic on live events didn’t slow its aquisitions, as the company purchased a rival ticketing startup – Rival – in 2020 and also purchased the No. 3 promotions company in the world, OCESA.

“Multiple reports indicate the industry is rife with practices that prevent consumers from accessing tickets at affordable prices or prevent access entirely, including holdbacks and staggered sales, bots, lack of all-in pricing, and the reselling of free tickets,” the letter continued.

Senators Blumenthal and Klobuchar are not new to their criticism of Live Nation and Ticketmaster for their stranglehold on the market. They penned a similar letter to then-Assistant AG for the Antitrust Division Makan Delrahim in 2019 asking for a review of Live Nation’s adherence to the 2010 consent decree. Blumenthal, who was the Attorney General in Connecticut prior to becoming a Senator, has been a co-sponsor of the BOSS Act more than once, while Klobuchar has been a long track record of battling against anticompetitive mergers.