Department of Justice sues Live Nation over Ticketmaster's alleged monopoly of live events

The lawsuit comes in the wake of a Senate hearing examining Ticketmaster's outsized role following the disastrous ticket rollout of Taylor Swift's Eras Tour.

The Justice Department filed a sweeping antitrust lawsuit against Ticketmaster's parent company Live Nation on Thursday, alleging that the company has engaged in illegal monopolization and other misconduct that hurts smaller promoters, artists, and fans in the live entertainment industry.

According to a lawsuit filed in New York and backed by a whopping 30 state and district attorneys general, Live Nation directly manages over 400 musical artists, around 60% of concert promotions at major venues across the country, and roughly 80% or more of major concert venues’ ticketing via Ticketmaster, per Entertainment Weekly's review of the complaint.

Related: Taylor Swift slams Ticketmaster for her Eras Tour sales debacle: 'It really pisses me off'

The company has been accused of "strategically" acquiring smaller promoters identified as threats to squash competition, restricting artists' access to venues unless they agree to their promotional services, and threatening and retaliating against rival venues in its monopolization efforts, among other allegations.

<p>Michael Campanella/TAS24/Getty </p> Ticketmaster's disastrous ticket rollout of Taylor Swift's Eras Tour led to a Senate hearing in 2023

Michael Campanella/TAS24/Getty

Ticketmaster's disastrous ticket rollout of Taylor Swift's Eras Tour led to a Senate hearing in 2023

In a statement to EW, Live Nation said, "The DOJ's lawsuit won't solve the issues fans care about relating to ticket prices, service fees, and access to in-demand shows. Calling Ticketmaster a monopoly may be a PR win for the DOJ in the short term, but it will lose in court because it ignores the basic economics of live entertainment, such as the fact that the bulk of service fees go to venues, and that competition has steadily eroded Ticketmaster’s market share and profit margin. Our growth comes from helping artists tour globally, creating lasting memories for millions of fans, and supporting local economies across the country by sustaining quality jobs. 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."

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, head of the DOJ, said in a press release, “We allege that Live Nation relies on unlawful, anticompetitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States at the cost of fans, artists, smaller promoters, and venue operators,” “The result is that fans pay more in fees, artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts, smaller promoters get squeezed out, and venues have fewer real choices for ticketing services. It is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster.”

Jonathan Kanter, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, added, “The live music industry in America is broken because Live Nation-Ticketmaster has an illegal monopoly," with Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco calling the lawsuit a "step forward in making this era of live music more accessible for the fans, the artists, and the industry that supports them.”

Related: Taylor Swift fans get Ticketmaster shut down again

The wrath against Ticketmaster reached a fever pitch in 2022 following the disastrous rollout of tickets for Taylor Swift's record-breaking Eras Tour, which led to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing the following year about Ticketmaster's outsized role in the live entertainment industry. At the hearing (which, frankly, involved one too many Swift lyrics from the politicians), Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri called on the Justice Department, which began investigating Live Nation for alleged antitrust violations last summer, to "sue [Live Nation] for heaven’s sakes."

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.