In the immediate aftermath of the filing of USA vs. Live Nation Entertainment in New York, we’ve seen a wave of support for the Department of Justice action against the allegedly monopolistic company and its subsidiary, Ticketmaster. Consumer advocates have been quick to add their voices to the chorus praising the lawsuit, which many believe is essential to restore competition in the live entertainment and ticketing space.

“The live music industry in America is broken because Live Nation-Ticketmaster has an illegal monopoly,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division in the announcement of the lawsuit Thursday morning. “Our antitrust lawsuit seeks to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s monopoly and restore competition for the benefit of fans and artists.”

FURTHER READING | DOJ, 30 AGs File Antitrust Lawsuit Seeking Breakup of Live Nation and Ticketmaster

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Statements Supporting Live Nation/Ticketmaster Antitrust Lawsuit

Statements from Department of Justice Leadership
Statement from the Progressive Policy Institute
Statement from the American Economic Liberties Project
Statement from Fan Fairness Coalition
Statement from Sports Fans Coalition
Statement from the Coalition for Ticket Fairness

Statements from Department of Justice Leadership

“We allege that Live Nation relies on unlawful, anticompetitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States at the cost of fans, artists, smaller promoters, and venue operators,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The result is that fans pay more in fees, artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts, smaller promoters get squeezed out, and venues have fewer real choices for ticketing services. It is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster.”

“Today’s announcement reflects the latest efforts by the Justice Department to combat corporate misconduct,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “Our fight against corporate wrongdoing includes an intense focus on anticompetitive conduct — which disadvantages consumers, workers, and businesses of all kinds. Today’s complaint alleges that Live Nation-Ticketmaster have engaged in anticompetitive conduct to cement their dominance of the live concert market and act as the gatekeeper for an entire industry. Today’s action is a step forward in making this era of live music more accessible for the fans, the artists, and the industry that supports them.”

“The Department is committed to competition throughout the economy, including in live music,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer. “As our complaint alleges, Live Nation-Ticketmaster monopolizes the markets for concerts and other live events at the expense of fans, venues, and artists across the country. The Department is proud to bring this case to restore competition to this industry.”

“The live music industry in America is broken because Live Nation-Ticketmaster has an illegal monopoly,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Our antitrust lawsuit seeks to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s monopoly and restore competition for the benefit of fans and artists.”

Statement from the Progressive Policy Institute

“PPI applauds the DOJ for moving enforcement against the Live Nation-Ticketmaster monopoly to the front lines of antitrust. A successful suit would bring justice to the millions of American consumers who pay the heavy price of Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s ongoing dominance in live events. The company’s wingspan blankets the entire live events supply chain, where it deploys exclusionary practices that have long stifled competition, to the detriment of fans, artists, and smaller competitors. These practices have driven business repeatedly back to Ticketmaster, where it extracts its monopoly ‘toll’ in the form of sky-high ticket fees. Antitrust enforcement against Live Nation-Ticketmaster is long overdue.

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“The Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger was allowed to proceed in 2010, but the decision was an abject failure of antitrust enforcement. Instead of blocking the merger, the DOJ required the company, then with an 80% share of the ticketing market, to comply with ineffective conditions. Live Nation-Ticketmaster violated these anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation requirements, entrenching its dominance and keeping smaller competitors in live events in fear and in check.

“Thirty states joined the DOJ’s complaint, a strong endorsement of the gravity of harms imposed on consumers, artists, and smaller rivals by the Live Nation-Ticketmaster monopoly. The complaint is notable in that it uses all tools in the arsenal of antitrust enforcement to hold Live Nation-Ticketmaster accountable for illegal conduct. This includes claims under both Section 1 and Section 2 of the Sherman Act. Moreover, structural relief — achieved by breaking up the company — is the only effective way to fully restore competition.

“PPI’s analysis of the ticketing industry has explained what a break-up remedy for Live Nation-Ticketmaster might look like. Restoring competition to live events markets would require breaking Ticketmaster off from Live Nation, as well as breaking it up into smaller companies. More competition would create stronger incentives to compete on ticket fees, quality of service, protecting ticket buyers’ privacy and data, and improving ticketing platform technology.

“PPI has also been a leading voice in opposing legislation that has been backed by Live Nation-Ticketmaster targeting the resale market. The only place where there is a semblance of competition in ticketing is in resale, but some state and federal legislative proposals would hand more market power to Live Nation by hindering the resale market.”

Statement from the American Economic Liberties Project

“Today is a historic, long-awaited day for fans, artists, and independent businesses in the live events industry—the Department of Justice is officially seeking to break up one of America’s most infamous monopolies,” said Morgan Harper, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the American Economic Liberties Project. “For far too long, Live Nation-Ticketmaster has acted as the mafia boss of the live events industry — using its power to rip off fans with sky-high prices and junk fees, exploit musicians and artists, and bully workers and small business owners in the industry. Since 2022, we’ve been urging government to take action to stop the obvious abuses of this cartoonishly-villainous monopoly—mobilizing the 100,000-plus Americans who sent letters to the Department of Justice through our Break Up Ticketmaster coalition. Today, Jonathan Kanter and the DOJ Antitrust answered those calls to action.“

“The Justice Department’s case reflects a deep understanding of how Live Nation’s various business lines reinforce its monopoly power not just over the selling of tickets, but over large venues and concert promotions,” said Lee Hepner, Senior Legal Counsel at the American Economic Liberties Project. “Live Nation’s pattern of retaliation against independent venues and promoters is supplemented by evidence of market splitting to avoid competition and depress compensation for artists. At the end of the day, consumers are paying more, artists are making less, and Live Nation is walking away with the bag. The companies should, at a minimum, be broken up.”

Statement from Fan Fairness Coalition

“We applaud the Department of Justice’s decision to take this necessary action and address Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s monopolistic and anticompetitive business practices. In the months since our bipartisan coalition’s launch, we’ve seen building momentum to protect fans by breaking up Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

“This lawsuit is a response to the tens of thousands of live event fans who – with the help of the Fan Fairness Coalition – made their voices heard and called on federal officials to break up this platform that has dominated ticketing for far too long and prevented competition from driving the industry forward.

“The DOJ is taking a critical step to hold Ticketmaster accountable for undermining free market competition and hurting millions of live event fans across the country. The only way to ensure fair competition, more access, and better service for fans and artists is for the DOJ to see this lawsuit through to the end of Live Nation-Ticketmaster.”

Statement from Sports Fans Coalition

“Sports Fans Coalition has called for the break up of Live Nation/Ticketmaster for many years. Today’s landmark lawsuit answers that call. The harms the DOJ has identified affect sports and concert fans alike, especially as a result of Ticketmaster’s ‘data supremacy’ scheme known as SafeTix, which makes it difficult for fans to freely transfer their tickets and puts these fans at risk for retaliation at the gate by denying them access. We applaud Assistant Attorney General Kanter and the 30 other state attorneys general for standing up for sports fans across the country and taking this important action.”

Statement from the Coalition for Ticket Fairness

The Coalition for Ticket Fairness applauds the recent announcement that the Department of Justice is pursuing an antitrust lawsuit against live events giant Live Nation. Today’s primary ticketing market is dominated by one company that by some estimates has locked up 70 to 80 percent of the market share. They’ve used this dominance to pressure venues into agreeing to ticketing contracts that oftentimes last up to ten years, insulating them from any competition and ensuring ticket prices are under their control. The exertion of this power isn’t limited to fans either, bands and artists are forced to show their support to eliminate any questions of internal dysfunction or dissatisfaction with the status quo. If there is any question that they have a monopoly, simply note that Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino’s compensation was $139 million in 2022.

This news from the DOJ is promising, and we believe it highlights the need for federal legislation to address the near monopoly and its negative impact on fans. It is important to note that Live Nation has also shifted in strategy, pushing for legislation at the state level.  Bills have been aggressively lobbied in several states, including Maryland, California, and Colorado, where state legislators are told that they are “fan friendly” and better for the artist, when the opposite is true. The truth of course is that in the live event ticket market, allowing for more competition and lower prices is always best for fans. We will continue to advocate for legislation at the federal and state level that centers on fans’ rights while we watch the DOJ lawsuit closely.