If you’re hearing a lot about how “bots” and “ticket brokers” and “ticket resale” is the real problem in live entertainment and ticketing these days, there’s a good reason for that: Live Nation is paying an awful lot of money to get that message out, to both consumers, and to lawmakers in Washington D.C. and state legislatures across the United States.


According spending records, the company outlay has ballooned to nearly 400% more than it spent on lobbying efforts as recently as 2019, fighting consumer anger over allegedly monopolistic power and threats of breakup and legislation with waves upon waves of cash. The ramp-up got serious in 2022, when the company first broke $1 million in annual lobbying expenditure as it began to seek ways to navigate to the end of its long-term consent agreement with the Department of Justice, that had been extended in 2019 to the end of 2024. Odds are, with unprecedented pressure on it from multiple angles, the 2023 figures will be even higher.

TFL and ATBS for ticketing professionals

From Billboard:

Advising [Live Nation President and CFO Joe] Berchtold and managing key relationships on Capitol Hill is a small army of over 30 lobbyists, deployed to defend the company from growing criticism by senators like Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. Klobuchar, who serves as the chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, has made repeated calls to the Department of Justice to investigate Ticketmaster and break up the company if any wrongdoing is uncovered during a DOJ review of the consent decree it created to foster competition in ticketing. That review is expected to wrap up soon.

Among those lobbyists are Seth Bloom, a longtime general counsel for the Senate antitrust subcommittee, who was hired after that same committee announced plans for hearings examining the company’s market power and alleged abuses. Another is Jonathan Becker, who was a former chief of staff for Sen. Kobuchar. The company also recently hired longtime external counsel and antitrust attorney Dan Wall in-house as Executive Vice President for Corporate and Regulatory Affairs. It was Wall who wrote the company’s evasive responses to direct questions arising out of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings in January, which were rejected by Klobuchar and co-chair Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

How does Live Nation Entertainment’s lobbying dollar stack up against others in the space? More from Billboard:

Live Nation now spends significantly more than its competitors in the touring sector. Last year, enter- tainment conglomerate AEG spent $140,000 on federal lobbying, according to Open Secrets, while secondary-market ticketing competitor SeatGeek spent $170,000 and Viagogo, the British company that bought StubHub in 2020, spent $140,000. Live Nation partner company Oak View Group spent $570,000 on lobbying, while Spotify, which has rolled out a new ticketing offering for concert promoters and is hoping to broaden its reach within the live space, spent $710,000.

All the while, Live Nation Entertainment continues to show record-shattering profits every quarter, fueled largely by the increased adoption of ticket price-surging systems like dynamic and platinum ticket prices, coupled with the deployment of mobile-only ticketing technology designed to keep consumers from being able to transfer or resell tickets outside of Ticketmaster’s systems. The use of such systems has helped Live Nation Entertainment grow its ticketing revenue by 45 percent in 2022 compared to 2019, despite the actual number of tickets being sold going up by a mere 28 percent. This information is from Live Nation itself, in its recent earnings release.

It is unclear whether or not there is any legislative appetite for the so-called “FAIR” ticketing pill that Live Nation wants consumers to swallow. But the mountains of cash being spent to forward it as a possibility may be more about keeping actual consumer-friendly ticketing legislation from being enacted, given that the status quo favors Live Nation Entertainment enormously.