Live Nation and Ticketmaster have been targeted by a landmark antitrust case filed this week in a New York federal court. We know that consumers across the U.S. (and indeed the globe) have long voiced their anger over the rising cost of attending live events, often blaming Ticketmaster and its parent company. But how widespread is the support for the case aiming at breaking that alleged monopoly?

Pretty strong, it appears.

States signed on as co-plaintiffs alongside the United States Department of Justice in USA vs. Live Nation Entertainment represent an overwhelming majority of the population in the United States, including almost every of the major population centers on both coasts, the midwest, and Texas. In total, the Attorneys General pursuing the case represent slightly more than 80 percent of the United States population – with live entertainment leaders like New York and California – home to Live Nation Entertainment’s headquarters – among the states leading the charge.

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“As the fifth largest economy in the world, California knows that vigorous competition is essential to a well-functioning economy,” says California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Live Nation imposed its dominance of the live concert industry by manipulating the marketplace — sending ripples of economic injustice throughout our state. While this illegal conduct benefits Live Nation’s bottom line — it hurts artists, their fans, and our economy. This lawsuit sends a clear message: Here in California, we’re committed to protecting consumers, holding industry accountable, enforcing antitrust laws, and ensuring a fair and competitive market.”

“For too long, Live Nation and Ticketmaster have unfairly and illegally run the world of live events, abusing their dominance to overcharge fans, bully venues, and limit artists,” says New York Attorney General Letitia James. “When companies like Live Nation control every aspect of an event, it leads to bad blood – concertgoers and sports fans suffer and are forced to pay cruel prices. Everybody agrees, Live Nation and Ticketmaster are the problem, and it’s time for a new era. Today, we are taking this important action to protect consumers and force big companies to stop abusing their influence and get in formation.

The full list of states signed on to USA vs. Live Nation (including the District of Columbia):

District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina
West Virginia

Among the states signed on are nine of the Top 10 most populous in the nation (Georgia at No. 8 being the lone state among that group not participating). Only four states out of the 25 most populous in the United States are not signed on. In total, AGs representing more than 267 million people are signed on.

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Some states are asking for specific relief as part of the complaint, while others are more simply signed on in a general fashion. Who is asking for what?

Requests for Relief by State

United States and Various States

  1. Injunction Against Anticompetitive Practices:
    • United States: Enjoin Live Nation and Ticketmaster from continuing anticompetitive practices, including long-term exclusive contracts.
    • States: Support the federal request for injunctions to restore competitive practices.
  2. Structural Relief:
    • United States: Seek structural remedies, potentially involving divestitures to break up monopolistic control.
    • States: Each state supports the structural changes necessary to dismantle the monopolistic hold and restore competition.
  3. Appointment of a Monitor:
    • United States: Request the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance.
    • States: Each state agrees on the need for a monitor to ensure adherence to the court-ordered remedies.
  4. Damages and Restitution:
    • United States: Seek damages and restitution for consumers, artists, and venues affected by inflated prices and anticompetitive behavior.
    • States:
      • Arizona: Seek restitution for state residents affected by higher ticket prices.
      • California: Focus on damages to local artists and venues.
      • New York: Emphasize compensation for both consumers and the state’s live entertainment industry.
      • Texas: Highlight restitution for consumers and regional promoters affected by Live Nation’s practices.
  5. Attorney’s Fees and Costs:
    • United States: Request Live Nation and Ticketmaster to cover attorney’s fees and costs.
    • States: Each state seeks reimbursement for legal expenses incurred in the lawsuit.
  6. Additional Remedies:
    • United States: Ask for any additional measures the court finds necessary to ensure competitive markets.
    • States:
      • Florida: Advocate for ongoing regulatory oversight to prevent future monopolistic behavior.
      • Illinois: Support additional remedies tailored to local market conditions.
      • Massachusetts: Request further measures to safeguard against future anticompetitive practices.
      • Washington: Emphasize the need for remedies that ensure long-term competition and innovation in the ticketing market.

Specific Relief Measures

Each state’s requests align with the federal government’s overarching goals but also reflect localized concerns and impacts. For instance:

  • California: Places a strong emphasis on the entertainment industry’s well-being, seeking specific measures to support local artists and venues.
  • New York: Focuses on both consumer restitution and protection for the state’s prominent live entertainment sector.
  • Texas: Highlights the broader regional impact on promoters and the need for restitution for consumers.
  • Florida and Illinois: Advocate for robust regulatory frameworks to ensure ongoing competitive practices.
  • Massachusetts and Washington: Emphasize long-term solutions to foster competition and innovation.

The collective goal of these requests is to dismantle the alleged monopolistic practices of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, ensuring a competitive and fair market that benefits consumers, artists, and venues across the United States.

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