DOJ files suit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster for 'monopolistic control'

The corporation responded by stating that "there is more competition than ever" in the live events market.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and 30 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Live Nation and its subsidiary Ticketmaster for exercising "monopolistic control" when selling tickets for live shows.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the lawsuit. He said, in statements collected by the DOJ, that "it is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster" for "monopolization and other unlawful conduct that thwarts competition in markets across the live entertainment industry."

"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," Garland added.

Antitrust Division: "The industry is bankrupt"

Deputy Attorney General of the DOJ Antitrust Division, Jonathan Kanter, said that the objective of the lawsuit is to protect the public against Live Nation and Ticketmaster's monopoly:

The live music industry in America is broken because Live Nation-Ticketmaster has an illegal monopoly. Our antitrust lawsuit seeks to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s monopoly and restore competition for the benefit of fans and artists.

The news of the DOJ's lawsuit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster comes as no surprise. A month ago, the Wall Street Journal announced that the agency would initiate legal proceedings against the company and its subsidiary due to the exorbitant prices of tickets for the events and its poor customer service. A few hours before the appeal was filed in court, the corporation's stock market value plummeted by 7%.

Live Nation: "There is more competition than ever"

Live Nation was quick to react. In a statement published on its website, Dan Wall, executive vice president of corporate and regulatory affairs for the company, denied that they have monopolized the sector, ensuring that "there is more competition than ever in the live events market" and that "net profits show that we do not wield monopolistic power."

"The complaint—and even more so the press conference announcing it—attempt to portray Live Nation and Ticketmaster as the cause of fan frustration with the live entertainment industry. It blames concert promoters and ticketing companies—neither of which control ticket prices—for high ticket prices.  It ignores everything that is actually responsible for higher ticket prices, from increasing production costs to artist popularity to 24/7 online ticket scalping that reveals the public’s willingness to pay far more than primary tickets cost.  It blames Live Nation and Ticketmaster for high service charges but ignores that Ticketmaster retains only a modest portion of those fees. In fact, primary ticketing is one of the least expensive digital distributions in the economy," Wall argued.

The manager added that this lawsuit "will not reduce ticket prices or service rates." Wall claims that the lawsuit "distracts from real solutions that would decrease prices and protect fans."