Justice Department's lawsuit against Live Nation: What it means for you and concerts

An antitrust lawsuit was filed by the Justice Department against Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation Entertainment accusing them of running an illegal monopoly over live events, hindering competition, and hiking prices for fans. 

The lawsuit filed Thursday was being brought with 30 state and district attorneys general pushing to break up the monopoly that’s phasing out promoters and affecting artists, the Associated Press reported. 

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FILE-Kenny Carkeet, Isaac Carpenter, Aaron Bruno, Marc Walloch and Zach Irons perform onstage during Awolnation live at Live Nation's 2nd Annual National Concert Day presented by Citi at Irving Plaza in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Imag

The DOJ accuses Live Nation of tactics that allow the entertainment company to keep a hold over the live music scene, including using long-term contracts to keep venues from choosing rival ticket sellers and blocking venues from using multiple ticket sellers, and threatening venues that they could lose money and fans if they don't choose Ticketmaster. 

The Justice Department claims Live Nation also threatened to retaliate against one firm if it didn't stop another company from competing for artist promotion contracts.

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Live Nation has denied that it engages in practices that violate antitrust laws.

However, rival ticket sellers have lamented that Live Nation makes it tough for them to disrupt the market with methods like withholding acts if those concert venues don’t agree to use Ticketmaster’s service.

Citing data in a federal lawsuit from 2022, the Associated Press noted that Ticketmaster, which merged with Live Nation in 2010, is the world’s largest ticket seller, processing 500 million tickets each year in more than 30 countries. Around 70% of tickets for major concert venues in the U.S. are sold through Ticketmaster.

Additionally, the company owns or controls more than 265 of North America's concert venues and dozens of top amphitheaters. 

Ticketmaster was involved in controversy in November 2022 when its site crashed during a presale event for a Taylor Swift stadium tour

The company said its site was overwhelmed by both fans and attacks from bots, which were posing as consumers in order to scoop up tickets and sell them on secondary sites. Thousands of people lost tickets after waiting for hours in an online queue.

Live Nation’s President and Chief Financial Officer Joe Berchtold soon apologized to fans and to Swift, and said the company knows it must do better. The ticketing issues also prompted a Justice Department investigation and congressional hearing. 

According to the AP, the DOJ allowed Live Nation and Ticketmaster to merge as long as Live Nation agreed not to retaliate against concert venues for using other ticket companies for 10 years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.