WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess) — A coalition of advocacy organizations, led by the American Economic Liberties Project, has launched a campaign calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to unravel the merger between entertainment giant Live Nation and their ticketing subsidiary Ticketmaster.
The coalition, which also includes Sports Fans Coalition, Fight Corporate Monopolies, More Perfect Union, Fan Freedom, the Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumers League, and the Artist Rights Alliance, accused the live entertainment giant of anti-competitive conduct and demanded that the DOJ take steps to break up the merger.
The campaign’s multimedia push includes a policy brief from the American Economic Liberties Project, along with an explanatory video from More Perfect Union staring the noted author and journalist Cory Doctorow. The campaign also includes grassroots action in the form of a letter writing campaign encouraging artists, fans, and venue operators across the U.S. to share their stories of Ticketmaster’s allegedly anticompetitive conduct with Justice Department officials.
Concerns about Live Nation’s control over the North American live events industry are nothing new and many independent promoters raised alarms in 2009 when the two companies first announced plans for a merger.
Those critics also included the United States Department of Justice, who cleared the merger only after imposing multiple restrictions, including licensing their software to rival Anschutz Entertainment Group and the sale of the ticketing platform Paciolan.
The Justice Department also imposed a ten-year consent decree that forbade Live Nation from leveraging its market influence against venues that opted to contract with other ticketing vendors. That consent decree was extended by another five years in 2020.
However, according to the coalition, those measures have been insufficient for Live Nation to become a dominant player in the market, often to the detriment of consumers.
“Ticketmaster’s market power over live events is ripping off sports and music fans and undermining the vibrancy and independence of the music industry,” said Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project. “With new leadership at the DOJ committed to enforcing the antitrust laws, our new campaign helps connect the voices of fans, artists, and others in the music business who are sick and tired of being at the mercy of Ticketmaster’s monopoly with enforcers who have the power to unwind it.”
“Everyday Americans are being scammed and extorted by Ticketmaster for wanting to see their favorite sports teams and artists perform,” said Helen Brosnan, Executive Director of Fight Corporate Monopolies. “More than a decade later, their merger has resulted in consumers being held hostage by a company that uses its monopoly power to make everyone’s experience miserable — artists, concertgoers and sports fans, and independent venues alike. It should have never happened in the first place and the DOJ must step in and break them up.”
In a statement provided to CelebrityAccess, a spokesperson for Live Nation said:
“The live entertainment industry has never been more vibrant and competitive, which is evident from the many companies that continue entering the market and growing. We are proud of the many progressive policies we have innovated and advocated for – from all-in pricing to transparent resale disclosures, refunds and more. We will continue working to improve the industry.”