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Tennessee AG joins another DOJ antitrust case, this time against Ticketmaster-owner Live Nation

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Tennessee AG joins another DOJ antitrust case, this time against Ticketmaster-owner Live Nation

May 24, 2024 | 6:59 am ET
By Adam Friedman
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Tennessee AG joins another DOJ antitrust case, this time against Ticketmaster-owner Live Nation
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Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, speaking to the legislative Republicans on Oct. 27, 2023. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti joined the U.S. Department of Justice in its lawsuit accusing Ticketmaster-owner Live Nation Entertainment of maintaining an illegal monopoly in the live event ticketing industry.

The U.S. DOJ and 29 other states are calling on the company to be broken up, accusing Live Nation of using its dominant market position in ticketing to create a “self-reinforcing cycle” that not only harms consumers but also limits competition.

The DOJ has filed several high-profile antitrust cases during the Biden administration, accusing companies like Apple and Google of operating as unlawful monopolies in certain markets. The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office signed onto both cases with the federal government.

In the Live Nation case, the government alleges the company coerces venues into signing long-term exclusive agreements with threats that they will lose access to company-controlled tours and artists if they go to a rival.

The company then uses these deals to force the artist to select it as a promoter over other companies. Once the company has exclusive control over the artist and tour, it harms fans by making Ticketmaster the exclusive place to buy tickets and charging exorbitant fees, the DOJ argues. Finally, those fees are used to lock up artists and venues, starting the process all over again.

Ticketmaster has denied the government’s accusations about its business practices, adding the case “won’t solve the issues fans care about relating to ticket prices, service fees, and access to in-demand shows.”

“Calling Ticketmaster a monopoly may be a PR win for the DOJ in the short term, but it will lose in court because it ignores the basic economics of live entertainment, such as the fact that the bulk of service fees go to venues, and that competition has steadily eroded Ticketmaster’s market share and profit margin,” said Dan Wall, Live Nation’s executive vice president for corporate and regulatory affairs, in a statement.