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US government sues Ticketmaster for illegal monopoly

Photo: Jose Luis Magana Associated Press Attorney General Merrick Garland (center) during a news conference on the Ticketmaster lawsuit at the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters in Washington on Thursday

Alanna Durkin Richer – Associated Press and Wyatte Grantham-Philips – Associated Press in Washington

Posted at 9:27 p.m.

  • United States

The U.S. Department of Justice sued Ticketmaster and its parent company on Thursday, accusing them of operating an illegal monopoly in the United States on the sale of concert and other event tickets.

He asked a court to dismantle the system that stifles competition and drives up prices for music fans, the government says.

< p>Filed in Manhattan federal court, this vast antitrust lawsuit was introduced by 30 state and district attorneys general and aims to dismantle the monopoly that they say crowds out small promoters, harms artists and drowns ticket buyers in fees.

Ticketmaster and its owner, Live Nation Entertainment, have a long history of conflicts with major artists, including Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen.

« It's time for viewers and artists to stop paying the price of Live Nation's monopoly, Attorney General Merrick Garland said. It is time to restore competition and innovation to the entertainment industry. It's time to disband Live Nation-Ticketmaster. The American people are ready for this. »

The government has accused Live Nation of tactics — including threats and retaliation — that Garland said allowed the entertainment giant to “stifle competition” by controlling virtually every aspect of the industry, from promotion from concerts to the ticket office. The impact results in a “endless list of fees imposed on people,” the attorney general said.

“Live concerts should not be available only to those who can afford to pay the Ticketmaster tax,” lamented Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

Live Nation, which has denied for years violating antitrust laws antitrust, said the lawsuit “will not resolve issues with ticket prices, service fees and access to the most popular shows.”

“Calling Ticketmaster a monopoly may be a public relations victory for the Justice Department in the short term, but it will lose in court because it ignores the fundamental economics of show business and entertainment,” Live Nation added.

The company argued that most service fees are paid to venues and that outside competition has “consistently eroded” Ticketmaster's market share, who said she would defend herself against “these baseless allegations.”

Justice Department says Live Nation's anticompetitive practices include using long-term contracts to prevent venues from choosing competitors, banning multiple ticket sellers, and threatening venues that they could lose money if they don't choose Ticketmaster.

About 70% of tickets to major concert venues in the United States are sold on Ticketmaster's platform, according to data from a federal lawsuit filed by consumers in 2022. The company owns or controls more than 265 concert halls in North America and dozens of major amphitheaters, according to the Department of Justice.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116