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Live Nation could be hit with antitrust suit as soon as next month: report

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert   

Live Nation could be hit with antitrust suit as soon as next month: report
  • Live Nation could be hit with an antitrust lawsuit as soon as next month, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The anticipated suit follows a probe into the concert giant's handling of ticket and venue negotiations.

Score one for the Swifties.

The Justice Department could sue Live Nation, the concert giant that owns Ticketmaster, as soon as next month following a probe into its handling of venue and ticket negotiations, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The company has long faced criticism over its stranglehold on the live-event industry, high fees, and practices of forcing venues to sign exclusive long-term contracts, drawing ire from fans and artists alike.

The department is prepared to file an antitrust suit alleging that Live Nation leveraged its dominance in the market to suppress competition, the Journal report says, citing people familiar with the matter. Ticketmaster holds a whopping 80% of the market for event sales in the country's largest venues, holding exclusive contracts with multiple stadiums and arenas, the report says.

Violating antitrust laws can carry both criminal and civil penalties, with criminal penalties capped at 10 years of jail time and $100,000,000 per violation, according to the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School.

Representatives for LiveNation and the Justice Department didn't immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.

The investigation into the company gained steam following massive outrage from fans when the Ticketmaster website crashed during a presale of Taylor Swift's Eras Tour in November 2022.

Swift released a statement shortly after the incident expressing her frustration and describing the outage as "excruciating," as The New York Times reported at the time.

"It's really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse," Swift said. "There are a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets and I'm trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward. I'm not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could."

Some Swifties took up the mantle against the company at the time, filing suit against the ticketing giant for violating antitrust laws and "intentionally and purposefully" misleading fans, Billboard reported — prompting a closer look from federal authorities.

The company has denied any wrongdoing.

According to the Journal, a Ticketmaster spokeswoman said in response to the news of the anticipated suit, "Ticketmaster has more competition today than it has ever had, and the deal terms with venues show it has nothing close to monopoly power."

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