The Department of Justice opened an antitrust investigation for Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation to establish whether the entertainment giant abused its power in the live music industry.
Although Ticketmaster faced scrutiny last week when Taylor Swift fans struggled to bag their Eras Tour seats, the investigation had reportedly started before the ticketing chaos.
Anonymous sources told The New York Times that DOJ’s antitrust division had contacted music venues and ticket industry players to get a glimpse of Live Nation’s ecosystem. Information gathered from multiple sources will ultimately allow DOJ to determine if Live Nation has a monopoly over the ticketing business.
Despite the timing of the news, DOJ’s staffers had already spent several months digging into Live Nation and Ticketmaster.
Live Nation issued a statement following news of the investigation, stating that the demand for live entertainment experiences is on the rise and “there are more promoters than ever working with artists to help them connect with fans through live shows.”
“The Department of Justice itself recognized the competitive nature of the concert promotion business at the time of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger. That dynamic has not changed.”
The company further added that they are “the most transparent and fan-friendly ticketing system in the United States.”
Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged back in 2010, leading to the creation of Live Nation Entertainment. The DOJ approved the unification under the condition that the company would not threaten concert venues that used other ticketing systems over losing access to its tours.
According to The New York Times, a 2019 investigation found that Live Nation Entertainment violated the competition-stifling rule when Live Nation was pressuring concert venues into using Ticketmaster over other ticket sellers.