Live Nation and Ticketmaster Sued by U.S. Justice Department in New Lawsuit

URL copied to clipboard.
Loading the player...

The United States Department of Justice sued Live Nation and Ticketmaster for violations of the Sherman antitrust act.

The new lawsuit filed on Thursday could change the future of the multibillion-company that is as of now the world’s largest live entertainment company.

Live Nation owns Ticketmaster, the biggest ticket vendor as of late in North America.

“It is time to break it up,” said attorney general Merrick B. Garland in a press conference on Thursday morning.

The complaint claims that the company has had a monopoly on ticketing through Ticketmaster and that is illegally uses its current power to overpower the market.

An official statement from the attorney general continued: “We allege that Live Nation relies on unlawful, anticompetitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States at the cost of fans, artists, smaller promoters, and venue operators. The result is that fans pay more in fees, artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts, smaller promoters get squeezed out, and venues have fewer real choices for ticketing services.”

In the press conference, he clarified the reasoning behind the action: “In recent years, Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s exorbitant fees and technological failures have been criticized by fans and artists alike,” he said, referring most obviously to the uproar around the disastrous Taylor Swift “Eras” tour on-sale, which enraged fans and resulted in governmental criticism and scrutiny. “We are not here today because Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s [customers] are frustrated. We are here because as we allege that conduct is anticompetitive.”


The complaint is a lengthy 124 pages which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

“As a result of its conduct, music fans in the United States are deprived of ticketing innovation and forced to use outdated technology while paying more for tickets than fans in other countries,” a summary issued by the DOJ stated. “At the same time, Live Nation-Ticketmaster exercises its power over performers, venues, and independent promoters in ways that harm competition. Live Nation-Ticketmaster also imposes barriers to competition that limit the entry and expansion of its rivals.”

The complaint details that Live Nation-Ticketmaster has unlawfully maintained monopolies in several concert promotions and primary ticketing markets and engaged in other exclusionary conduct affecting live concert venues, including arenas and amphitheaters.

The flywheel is Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s “self-reinforcing business model that captures fees and revenue from concert fans and sponsorship, uses that revenue to lock up artists to exclusive promotion deals, and then uses its powerful cache of live content to sign venues into long term exclusive ticketing deals, thereby starting the cycle all over again,” the statement continues. “Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s anticompetitive conduct creates even more barriers for rivals to compete on the merits.”

As of late, Ticketmaster holds an 80% control in the current market for ticket sales for the biggest venues in the U.S.

In a response issued 10 minutes before Thursday’s press conference began, Live Nation said: “The DOJ’s lawsuit 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. Our growth comes from helping artists tour globally, creating lasting memories for millions of fans, and supporting local economies across the country by sustaining quality jobs. We will defend against these baseless allegations, use this opportunity to shed light on the industry, and continue to push for reforms that truly protect consumers and artists.”


The company has been under investigation by the DOJ for two years since the two merged in 2010.

The move was challenged by the federal government but went through.

Live Nation has posted record earnings in nearly every quarter since the pandemic lifted. In 2023, its revenue was up 36% to nearly $23 billion.

More headlines