US Government Sues Ticketmaster Owner Live Nation Over Alleged 'Monopoly' On Live Music

24 May 2024 | 12:53 pm | Mary Varvaris

Live Nation said it would protect itself against the “baseless allegations”.

Coldplay on stage

Coldplay on stage (Credit: Stevie Rae Gibbs)

The US Department of Justice is suing Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, over running an allegedly illegal monopoly on live music.

Live Nation has been accused of driving up tickets for live events and pushing out competition for smaller promoters.

In response, Live Nation said it would protect itself against the “baseless allegations,” stating that the Justice Department’s lawsuit would not solve ticket affordability or availability.

The antitrust lawsuit was filed in a Manhattan federal court on Thursday (23 February).

US Attorney General Merrick Garland said it’s time to “restore competition and innovation” within the American entertainment industry, adding that the American people are “ready” for the dissolution of Live Nation and Ticketmaster (via the ABC).

The Justice Department's Jonathan Kanter argued that live music should be available to everyone, not just those who can pay the alleged “Ticketmaster tax.”

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Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010, and Ticketmaster is now the world’s largest ticket seller for all your favourite events.

Responding to the lawsuit, Live Nation continued to deny that it’s violating antitrust laws and vowed to defend itself against the Justice Department’s allegations.

A spokesperson for Live Nation said, per The Guardian Australia, “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.”

Live Nation continued, “Calling Ticketmaster a monopoly may be a PR win for the [Department of Justice] in the short term, but it will lose in court because it ignores the basic economics of live entertainment.”

The Music has reached out to Live Nation for comment.

The US government’s moves towards ticket price transparency began in November 2022 after Ticketmaster shockingly crashed due to unprecedented demand as the pre-sale for Taylor Swift’s massive Eras tour commenced.

Some fans reportedly waited eight hours in the pre-sale and were charged multiple times as the platform crashed, making it impossible for fans to purchase tickets. Many fans claimed they could not access the sale even with the pre-sale code. 

Last week, the US House of Representatives passed a new bill, Transparency in Charges for Key Events Ticketing (TICKETAct, which would force ticket merchants to exhibit the total price of tickets, including “hidden” fees, upfront.

The TICKET act follows Live Nation and Ticketmaster's introduction of “all-in” pricing for their events last year. This means that ticketholders in the US will no longer receive surprise fees when they purchase tickets for any entertainment event.