November 27, 2022

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Justice Department investigates Live Nation Entertainment over possible abuse of power

2 min read

The US Department of Justice is launching an antitrust investigation into Live Nation Entertainment, the New York Times reports. The company that owns Ticketmaster has come under increased scrutiny after fans struggled to purchase tickets for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. The investigation, according to The Times, “focuses on whether Live Nation Entertainment abused its hold over the multi-billion dollar live music industry.” However, the decision to open the investigation was reportedly made ahead of the problems with tickets to the Eras Tour.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged back in 2010, resulting in the creation of Live Nation Entertainment. The Justice Department accepted the merger on the condition that Ticketmaster sell another ticketing company it owned to a rival firm. In addition, it had to license its ticketing software to another competitor, Anschutz Entertainment Group. In 2019, the Justice Department amended its agreement with Live Nation Entertainment after finding the company had breached the terms of the original deal.

Tickets for Taylor Swift’s tour were sold earlier this week through Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program, which aims to limit the number of bots who can snag tickets before actual fans can. However, demand was unprecedented and users experienced technical difficulties and long waits to be able to purchase tickets. As a result, Ticketmaster has canceled today’s public presale of tickets for the tour.

In a statement today, Swift wrote: “I will not apologize to anyone as we have asked them several times if they can handle this type of demand, we have been assured they could. It’s really amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that many of them feel like they went through multiple bear attacks to get them.”

Earlier this week, on the day Swift tickets went on sale, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted“Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, its merger with LiveNation should never have been approved and they need to be governed. Break them open.”

In addition, in a letter to Ticketmaster President and CEO Michael Rapino, Senator Amy Klobuchar wrote: “I am writing to express serious concern about the state of competition in the ticketing industry and its detrimental impact on consumers. Reports of system outages, rising fees and complaints of behavior in violation of Ticketmaster’s Consent Regulation suggest that Ticketmaster continues to abuse its market positions.”

Pitchfork has reached out to representatives from Live Nation and Ticketmaster for comment.

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