US government to sue Ticketmaster owner Live Nation over market dominance

Credit: CNN

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) is expected to file a lawsuit against Ticketmaster's parent company, Live Nation, over concerns it has breached regulations by holding a monopoly on the industry.

Prosecutors from the DoJ, along with several other states, are reported to be bringing a case against the company citing anti-trust violations in part due to market dominance.

Historically, the aim of DoJ cases of this nature are to divide up sections of firms or make operational changes to reduce their authority.

Ticketmaster, which merged with Live Nation in 2010, came under intense scrutiny in 2022 after glitches on the website blocked millions from purchasing tickets for Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour.

Ticketmsater was forced to apologise to Taylor Swift and her fans after its system glitched during the sale of her tour. Credit: PA

Critics of Live Nation, said the incident revealed how a lack of competition has led to harms ranging from poor customer service to confusing pricing to expensive ticketing fees to restrictions on ticket resales.

In response, US lawmakers grilled a top executive from Live Nation, in January 2023 over the company’s practices.

During the three-hour hearing, senators pressed Live Nation president Joe Berchtold and some other witnesses on whether his company was too dominant in the industry, thereby harming rivals, musicians and fans.

"We need to do better and we will," Mr Berchtold said in response to the questioning.

Alongside fans and lawmakers, musicians have also spoken out critically of Live Nation in recent years

Country star Zach Bryan dropped an album at the end of 2022 titled, “All My Homies Hate Ticketmaster (Live at Red Rocks).”

In the social media post announcing the album, Bryan wrote that it “seems there is a massive issue with fair ticket prices to live shows lately.”

Singer Tom Grennan also condemned the company for overcharging fans for tickets.

Acknowledging the cost of living crisis prior to the sale of his 2023 tour he said: "The pinch is real and I take it very seriously". He added "we've worked hard to pull the cost of tickets down, and dismissed all VIP and platinum ticket options ."

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