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Live Nation: US Department of Justice sues TicketMaster owner

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US regulators have sued Live Nation, accusing the entertainment giant of using illegal tactics to maintain a monopoly over the concert market.

The lawsuit from the Department of Justice said the firm’s practices had kept out competitors, and led to higher ticket prices and worse service for customers.

Attorney General Merrick Garland called on the courts to break-up the company.

Live Nation said in a statement on its website that claims that it wielded monopoly power were “absurd”.

It said the lawsuit “ignores everything that is actually responsible for higher ticket prices” citing online ticket scalping, artist popularity and higher production costs.

Along with its subsidiary, Ticketmaster, it puts on concerts, sells tickets and owns venues.

It owns more than 250 venues in the US and manages about 60% of concert promotions at major venues nationwide, according to the lawsuit, which was brought by the federal government’s Department of Justice, as well as 30 states.

The company also operates approximately 80% of all major entertainment ticket sales via Ticketmaster, the lawsuit said.

It said the company had maintained its position by using exclusive long-term contracts, threatening venues that used rivals, acquiring potential competitors and deploying other practices.

“Live Nation controls the live entertainment industry industry in the United States because it is breaking the law,” Mr Garland said.

“It is time for the break-up of the company,” he added.

Live Nation said the lawsuit reflected political pressures and a White House that had turned over competition enforcement “to a populist urge that simply rejects how antitrust law works”.

“Some call this “Anti-Monopoly”, but in reality it is just anti-business,” it said.

Live Nation was created by the merger in 2010 of US-based events promoter Live Nation and ticket sales and distribution company Ticketmaster.

At the time, the DOJ approved the deal despite concerns that it would create a giant capable of dominating the live entertainment industry.

Live Nation Entertainment has faced growing criticism from fans, lawmakers, artists and competitors.

The company has been accused of having too much influence over live entertainment events in the US and around the world.

The Department of Justice has been investigating Live Nation since 2022, galvanised by the outcry over website failures that many Taylor Swift fans encountered in 2022 when they tried to buy tickets for her US tour.

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