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US government suing Live Nation Ticketmaster owner

US government sues Ticketmaster, Live Nation for monopoly on live events, seeks to break up system that harms fans and artists.

The US government has taken legal action against Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, alleging that they have created an illegal monopoly over live events in America. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, aims to dismantle the system that stifles competition and leads to higher prices for fans. The Justice Department, along with 30 state and district attorneys general, is seeking to break up the monopoly that they claim is harming smaller promoters, artists, and ticket buyers.

Attorney General Merrick Garland emphasized the need to restore competition and innovation in the entertainment industry, stating that it is time to end the dominance of Live Nation-Ticketmaster. The government accuses Live Nation of using various tactics, including threats and retaliation, to control every aspect of the industry from concert promotion to ticketing, resulting in excessive fees for fans.

Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter highlighted the importance of fighting for competition in the live music industry to ensure that all fans have access to concerts without being burdened by high fees. Live Nation has denied violating antitrust laws, arguing that most service fees go to venues and that outside competition has reduced Ticketmaster's market share over time.

The Justice Department alleges that Live Nation's anti-competitive practices include using long-term contracts to prevent venues from working with rivals, blocking venues from using multiple ticket sellers, and threatening venues with financial consequences if they do not choose Ticketmaster. The government claims that Live Nation has acquired smaller promoters to eliminate potential competition, further solidifying its dominance in the industry.

Legal experts believe that the Justice Department has a strong case against Live Nation and Ticketmaster. A potential breakup of the companies, along with other remedies to promote competition, could lead to lower ticket prices for fans, give artists more freedom in choosing venues, and support the success of smaller promoters. Ticketmaster, as the world's largest ticket seller, has faced criticism for its high fees and ticket prices, leading to public outrage and congressional scrutiny.

The lawsuit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster is part of the Biden administration's broader efforts to address illegal monopolies and anti-competitive practices across various industries. The government has also taken action against tech giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon, signaling a renewed focus on enforcing antitrust laws to protect consumers and promote fair competition.

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