Live Nation Is Being Sued By The U.S. Government For Being A Bully

Concert promoter Live Nation recently was charged with an anti-trust lawsuit from the U.S. Department Of Justice for having too much influence of the market by not only controlling most major U.S. venues, but also owning Ticketmaster, the service we all love to hate. The government says that the company has grown so large that it’s stifling competition through intimidation, which is bad enough, but that’s not what actually triggered this action.

Live Nation

The Rise Of The Swifties

If you want the very source of this lawsuit, you can look to Taylor Swift’s Era’s Tour that kicked off last year. When it was announced there was so much traffic to the Ticketmaster site that the service was overwhelmed, which meant that many potential buyers couldn’t buy tickets at face value. As a result, they were forced to pay exceedingly high prices for tickets on the secondary market, and that set off a backlash that made its way to Congress.

Now keep in mind that this would have happened anyway even without Tickmaster’s hiccup, but what happened is that suddenly there was a lot of unwelcome attention on Live Nation and it began to occur to the DOJ that maybe a concert monopoly isn’t good for the concert business.

Artist Management Too

Keep in mind that Live Nation is also in the artist management business already through its many subsidiaries, and has 140 managers and almost 500 artists.

So let’s see – LN promotes the concerts, controls the venues, prints the tickets and manages the artists. That sure sounds like a monopoly in every sense of the word, so the DOJ decided to take action.

I bet your first reaction to this is, “Great, now ticket prices will come down to something that I can afford.” The problem is that even if the government gets to break up the company, it won’t have any affect on ticket prices.

For one thing, this lawsuit does nothing to address the secondary ticket market. For another, the artist sets the price, and they’re setting it higher and higher to compensate for the high secondary ticket prices, which they don’t participate in.

The bottom line is this is a noble effort by the DOJ but probably something that won’t affect the average concert goer. Even if there is a positive effect (that’s doubtful), antitrust lawsuits take a long time to unwind, so don’t hold your breath that it will save you money on your next concert ticket.

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