Florida, DOJ, and 32 states sue Live Nation and Ticketmaster for alleged monopolistic practices

by | May 23, 2024

The Department of Justice, along with 33 state attorneys general, including Florida’s Ashley Moody, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster, alleging monopolistic practices that harm consumers, artists, and venues by stifling competition and inflating ticket prices.

The United States Department of Justice, joined by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and Attorneys General from 32 states and the District of Columbia, filed on Thursday an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment and its subsidiary, Ticketmaster.

The case, submitted to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, accuses Live Nation and Ticketmaster of engaging in pervasive anticompetitive conduct that has allowed them to monopolize various segments of the live concert industry.

“Live Nation’s monopoly on the music industry harms fans through higher fees and hurts artists and venues through lack of options. They leverage their extensive network of venues to force artists to select Live Nation as a promoter instead of alternatives,” said Moody on Thursday. “We are fighting to end these monopolistic practices and bring relief to Florida and fans who paid more than they would have in a competitive market for tickets.”

Within the document, Live Nation is described as the largest live entertainment company in the world, boasting control over approximately 80 percent of major concert venues’ primary ticketing services and a growing share of the secondary market. The plaintiffs argue that this dominance, achieved through a combination of exclusionary practices and strategic acquisitions, has stifled competition, leading to higher prices and reduced innovation to the detriment of fans, artists, and venues.

“With this vast scope of power comes influence. Live Nation and its wholly owned subsidiary, Ticketmaster, have used that power and influence to insert themselves at the center and the edges of virtually every aspect of the live music ecosystem,” the complaint reads. “This has given Live Nation and Ticketmaster the opportunity to freeze innovation and bend the industry to their own benefit”

The complaint further outlines how Live Nation, through its subsidiary Ticketmaster, leverages long-term exclusive agreements with venues to lock out competitors. These contracts often come with significant payments to venues for exclusivity, the Plaintiffs contended, presenting venues with a choice: align with Ticketmaster or risk losing access to lucrative Live Nation-promoted concerts.

This practice, combined with alleged threats and retaliation against venues that choose rival ticketing services, is claimed by the Plaintiffs to create a hostile environment for competition.

“Because Live Nation and Ticketmaster control so much of the concert-going experience, would-be rivals must compete at scale across different levels of the concert ecosystem, raising barriers to competition even further and requiring multi-level entry by existing and would-be competitors,” the Plaintiffs wrote.

The document also details how Live Nation acquired smaller promoters and venues identified as competitive threats. This expansion strategy, coupled with tying and bundling practices that force venues and artists to use Ticketmaster’s services, has purportedly cemented Live Nation’s grip on the industry, with Plaintiffs arguing that these practices collectively violate the Sherman Act and other antitrust laws.

The plaintiffs seek structural remedies to restore competition, including breaking up Live Nation’s monopolistic hold over the market.

They also request injunctive relief to prevent further anticompetitive conduct and seek damages and other equitable relief to compensate for the harm caused by these practices. Additionally, the complaint demands a jury trial to address the allegations.

The attorneys general of the following states and districts joined Attorney General Moody and DOJ in filing the lawsuit: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.


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