Justice Department, States launch Monopoly Suit Against Ticketmaster, Live Nation


In Manhattan’s federal court, the battleground is staged for an epic clash between Goliath and David as the U.S. Justice Department, coupled with 30 state and district attorneys general, launches an aggressive lawsuit against ticketing titan Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment.

The scathing allegations? Rampant monopoly, overt stifling of competition, and the brazen manipulation of live event prices across the nation. The call to arms resonates loud and clear: it’s time to dismantle the monopolistic behemoth that, the prosecutors declare, has been unfairly suppressing the small yet vibrant community of show promoters, economically burdening the artists, and vastly inflating ticket prices at the expense of innocent fans.

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Infamous for their protracted hostility with top-notch artists, including Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen, and their massive fanbase, the duo of Ticketmaster and Live Nation have become synonymous with the suffocation of competition across the entirety of the entertainment industry. This is accomplished through maneuvers characterized by threats, retaliation, and an iron-fisted control over all aspects of the live concert scene – from artist promotions right down to the ticketing process – Attorney General Merrick Garland revealed.

Indeed, the cost of this stranglehold has been borne primarily by fans succumbing to an almost endless tally of ticketing fees. However, Garland does not mince words in his advocacy for market freedom, condemning this state of affairs and resolutely declaring, “It’s time for fans and artists to stop paying the price for Live Nation’s monopoly. It is time to restore competition and innovation in the entertainment industry.”

Equally vocal in his abhorrence of the so-called ‘Ticketmaster tax’ imposed on live music enthusiasts, Jonathan Kanter, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, deplored the fact that live music has become accessible only to the privileged few capable of shouldering the exorbitant costs.

Supporting their viewpoint are ordinary fans, such as Ricky Palitti and Jacob DeLong from Detroit, who recently parted with about $1,200 to obtain three tickets to a Shania Twain concert facilitated by Ticketmaster. An additional $370 scantily helped secure seats for RuPaul’s Drag Race Live, an act they yearned to witness.

Unfazed by the legal onslaught, Live Nation dismisses the charges as ‘baseless’ and unabashedly denies any violation of antitrust regulations. Brandishing the proposed lawsuit as nothing more than an ephemeral public relations trophy for the Department of Justice, the company defensively asserts that it will not address the true issues of fan concern: escalating ticket prices, service fees, and the availability of tickets for popular shows. It adds that the largest chunk of service charges feeds into venue coffers, a fact that has “steadily eroded” Ticketmaster’s market share, according to the entertainment giant.

Even as the Justice Department meticulously lists Live Nation’s anti-competitive practices in detail – from employing long-term contracts as shackles to venues, resorting to punitive measures against venues considering alternative ticket sellers, to guzzling up smaller promoters perceived as threats, expert opinion leans heavily in favor of the case.

Among the various voices, Michael Carrier, a professor at Rutgers Law School, specializing in antitrust litigation, echoed that Live Nation has far-reaching influence across the supply chain, giving it an unprecedented control over the industry. He highlighted the weakness of the corporation’s attempts to shift blame onto artists and venues for the soaring prices, stating that the company’s justifications are notably feeble.

As the legal saga unfolds and the top layers of the corporate world get dissected in the courtroom, at its heart remains the potential ramifications for the fans and the entertainment industry at large. If successful, this suit could break the bonds between Ticketmaster and Live Nation, paving the way for lower ticket pricing, giving artists greater control over venue choices, and infusing smaller promoters’ journey with newfound hope. All eyes will be upon the justice scales as the world waits with bated breath for the ensuing courtroom drama.