Ticketmaster to face federal antitrust lawsuit, reports say

(The Hill) - The Justice Department is preparing to file a federal antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, according to multiple reports.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Monday that the Justice Department will be filing an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation in the coming weeks, citing people familiar with the matter. Live Nation and Ticketmaster have faced widespread public scrutiny for its dominance in the ticketing industry, which critics say has allowed them to raise prices on live entertainment.

Ticketmaster has also garnered national attention after its meltdown during singer Taylor Swift’s online presale, which prevented thousands of her fans from purchasing tickets for her “Eras Tour” in 2022. Since then, lawmakers have raised questions about Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, and whether it has engaged in anticompetitive practices.

The merger between concert promoter Live Nation and Ticketmaster was approved in 2010 by the Justice Department following an antitrust investigation. Live Nation has maintained that there is plenty of competition in the ticketing industry despite the concerns raised by lawmakers.

Live Nation declined to comment on the Wall Street Journal story when reached by The Hill.

Live Nation’s head of Corporate Affairs, Dan Wall, has pushed back on accusations that Ticketmaster and Live Nation are responsible for high ticket prices. He wrote in a blog post earlier this year that ticket prices are determined by artists and their teams and that additional service charges are determined by the venues.

“Fans are also told that service charges are Ticketmaster’s way of raising ticket prices.  In fact, Ticketmaster does not set service charges, venues do, and most of the money goes to the venues,” Wall wrote.

He noted that high ticket prices can also be attributed to supply and demand for live entertainment.

Bloomberg also reported Monday that the Justice Department was preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation, citing three people familiar with the matter.

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.

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