US authorities launch antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation

US authorities are launching a lawsuit against concert and ticketing giant Live Nation. The company is illegally shutting out competitors, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference. The move is meant to lead to a split between Ticketmaster and Live Nation. 

On Thursday, the US Department of Justice along with 30 US state and district attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Live Nation-Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation Entertainment, accusing them of illegally maintaining monopolies in ticket sales and concert promotion. According to the DoJ, the company’s behaviour is harming concert venues.

Live Nation holds over 260 concert halls in North America, provides management for over 400 artists and controls at least 80 per cent of ticket sales for major concert venues. That dominance is said to have been used illegally to push competitors out of the market: Live Nation ties concert halls to itself with exclusive long-term contracts and strategically buys up competitors. Moreover, fans reportedly face many additional fees and artists have little choice but to go with Live Nation as there are fewer other options. 

Live Nation acquired Ticketmaster in 2010 under strict conditions: the company would undertake action to maintain healthy competition in the ticketing market and would respect a ban on retaliation against venues that choose alternative ticketing or promotion services.

That agreement has been violated several times, and additional requirements to keep the ticketing market open to competitors followed in an amended settlement in 2019. With the new lawsuit, the DoJ aims to break up the Live-Nation-Ticketmaster monopoly. 

Live Nation is also active in Belgium. The company organises festivals such as Rock Werchter, and Ticketmaster is also widely used in Belgium.


A fan at the main stage during the first day of the Rock Werchter music festival, organised by Live Nation © BELGA PHOTO VIRGINIE LEFOUR

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