WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess) — The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has officially opened an antitrust investigation into Ticketmaster’s (TM) parent company Live Nation (LN), according to a report by the New York Times.
The investigation, which the Times reports predate this week’s Taylor Swift ticketing turmoil, is focused on whether Live Nation has unfairly leveraged its influence in the multibillion-dollar live entertainment industry.
According to the Times, investigators with the Justice Department’s antitrust division have been contacting music venues and other companies in the ticketing industry, asking about Live Nation’s business practices and other dynamics at play in the industry.
The investigation has not been officially announced, and the New York Times based its reporting on conversations with people who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
LN merged with TM in 2010 over the objections of many independent operators in the live events space. As part of the approval process, TM was required to divest their self-ticketing subsidiary, Paciolan, to Comcast-Spectacor, and to license TM technology to rival AEG.
At the time, LN was also required to agree to a consent decree that prohibited activities that would limit competition in the market, such as retaliating against concert venues for using another ticketing company or threatening concert venues that contract with other ticketing services.
The consent decree was extended in 2019 after a review by the Justice Department of LN’s alleged anti-competitive behavior and expires in 2025.