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Live Nation Rejects Claims of ‘Monopoly Power’ Following DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit
Concert crowd | Photo by Rafandalucia via Wikimedia Commons

Live Nation Rejects Claims of ‘Monopoly Power’ Following DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit 

Live Nation and Ticketmaster are subjects of a newly-announced, yet long-awaited anti-trust lawsuit by the Department of Justice. While we’ve seen a wave of support for the action against the pair, Live Nation is abhorrently rejecting claims that it wields “monopoly power” with its subsidiary Ticketmaster.

Following news of the lawsuit, Live Nation’s Dan Wall — who has actively claimed that high ticket prices are simply a natural progression of the events industry and steers clear of the entertainment giant’s responsibility at all costs — spoke out, claiming that concert promoters and ticketing companies do not control ticket prices and therefore, are not at fault for the exorbitant price tags.

| READ: Concert Ticket Pricing Surge Fueled by Artists, Promoters

“[The DOJ’s complaint] ignores everything that is actually responsible for higher ticket prices, from increasing production costs to artist popularity, to 24/7 online ticket scalping that reveals the public’s willingness to pay far more than primary tickets cost,” Wall said. “It blames Live Nation and Ticketmaster for high service charges, but ignores that Ticketmaster retains only a modest portion of those fees. In fact, primary ticketing is one of the least expensive digital distributions in the economy.”

Additionally, Wall stood ground on the accusations of Live Nation and Ticketmaster acting as a monopoly, noting that “the defining feature of a monopolist is monopoly profits derived from monopoly pricing” and “Live Nation in no way fits the profile.”

“Service charges on Ticketmaster are no higher than elsewhere, and frequently lower,” Wall said. “And even accounting for sponsorship, an advertising business that helps keep ticket prices down, the company’s overall net profit margin is at the low end of profitable S&P 500 companies.”

Wall argued that “trendlines confirm Live Nation’s lack of market power” and “the company is profitable and growing because it helps grow the industry, not because it has market power.”

However, Live Nation has made it crystal clear that their business is booming over the past year; since it’s return post-pandemic, the entertainment giant has been on a massive earnings streak, announcing its highest, record-breaking revenue earnings in 2023. Last year marked the company’s “biggest year yet,” highlighting its stranglehold of the entertainment industry. The first quarter of 2024 was no different — Live Nation reported a jump in revenue jumping 21% from the previous year’s quarter to $3.8 billion.

Walls’ statements also contradict alleged anticompetitive behavior from the company in the past. Most notably, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York flipped to SeatGeek as its ticketing vendor in 2021, only to flip right back a year later – a move many contend was due to the promotional giant withholding high-profile tours from Brooklyn – sending them instead to UBS Arena further east of the city, which is a Ticketmaster building.

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Nonetheless, Live Nation’s own statement following the lawsuit further implies that the DOJ is more of a public relations effort than actual improvement to fans’ ticket-buying process. Read their full statement below:

“The DOJ’s lawsuit won’t solve the issues fans care about relating to ticket prices, service fees, and access to in-demand shows,” the statement reads. “Calling Ticketmaster a monopoly may be a PR win for the DOJ in the short term, but it will lose in court because it ignores the basic economics of live entertainment, such as the fact that the bulk of service fees go to venues, and that competition has steadily eroded Ticketmaster’s market share and profit margin. Our growth comes from helping artists tour globally, creating lasting memories for millions of fans, and supporting local economies across the country by sustaining quality jobs. We will defend against these baseless allegations, use this opportunity to shed light on the industry, and continue to push for reforms that truly protect consumers and artists.”

| READ: Consumer Advocates Praise Antitrust Lawsuit Targeting Live Nation |

Despite Live Nation’s dodgy response and attempt to place the blame elsewhere, support for the DOJ’s antitrust lawsuit is pretty strong. While several consumer advocates have voiced their praise for the suit — including the Progressive Policy Institute, American Economic Liberties Project, and the Fan Fairness Coalition — 29 U.S. states also signed on as co-plaintiffs in the suit. These states represent an overwhelming majority of the population in the U.S., representing 80% of the country’s population.

| READ: From The Eras Tour to DOJ Lawsuit: Swifties’ Take on Breaking Up Live Nation-Ticketmaster |

Above all, concertgoers across the U.S. have shared their support for the DOJ, especially Taylor Swift fans. Swift’s Eras Tour ticket sale — referred to as “The Great War” — caused complete chaos among millions of fans around the globe and helped spark the DOJ’s investigation into Live Nation and Ticketmaster. Fans shared that their complaints are finally being heard and marks a step in the right direction.

To read the full USA vs. Live Nation Entertainment complaint, click here (PDF opens in new window): USA vs. Live Nation Entertainment Complaint