TX Joins Lawsuit Against Live Nation-Ticketmaster Monopoly

Ticketmaster | Image by T.Schneider/Shutterstock
Ticketmaster | Image by T.Schneider/Shutterstock

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with the attorneys general of 28 other states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Department of Justice, have filed a lawsuit alleging that Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and its subsidiary Ticketmaster have illegally created a monopoly.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged in 2010 to form the “largest live entertainment company in the world,” according to company advertising, per a statement from the Texas AG’s office. Paxton claims the power and influence of Live Nation and Ticketmaster have allowed the company to artificially increase ticket prices, ultimately harming buyers.

“Mega-corporations cannot control entire industries to create anti-competitive environments, drive up prices, and take advantage of consumers,” Paxton said in the statement. “With this lawsuit, we aim to ensure fair competition for ticket sellers, concertgoers, venues, and others in the entertainment space who have been affected by this merger.”

The lawsuit alleges that Ticketmaster has disproportionately controlled the live music industry through contracts that prohibit venues and artists from using other services and that Live Nation controls or owns the majority of venues in the U.S.

The suit states that Live Nation directly controls 400 artists, 60% of concert promotions, and owns or controls 265 venues, including 60 of the top 100 amphitheaters in the country. Ticketmaster, its ticket sales platform, “controls roughly 80% or more of major concert venues’ primary ticketing for concerts.”

“With this vast scope of power comes influence. Live Nation and its wholly owned subsidiary, Ticketmaster, have used that power and influence to insert themselves at the center and the edges of virtually every aspect of the live music ecosystem,” the lawsuit reads. “This has given Live Nation and Ticketmaster the opportunity to freeze innovation and bend the industry to their own benefit.”

In 2023, Live Nation generated $18.8 billion in concert revenue, $2.9 billion for ticketing, and $1.1 billion for sponsorship & advertising, totaling $22 billion in profits. Live Nation’s largest concert promotions competitor in the U.S., AEG Presents, is only half its size. AEG conducts ticket sales through AXS, which is just one-fifth the size of Ticketmaster.

The lawsuit details what Live Nation calls its “flywheel,” essentially a process of maximizing revenues through leveraging various aspects of the business and securing deals with venues and artists to exclude competitors. Since Live Nation was formed, AXS has not won over any concert venue — which double as NBA and NHL arenas — contracted with Ticketmaster.

The lawsuit also alleges that Live Nation has colluded with Oak View Group, another promotions company, to prevent competition. Oak View Group is run by the former CEO of AEG, the former CEO of Ticketmaster, the former chairman of Live Nation, and the owner of The Azoff Company, whose portfolio includes one of the world’s leading artist management companies: Full Stop Management.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court, Southern New York Division on May 23, 2024, is at least the third anticompetitive lawsuit against Live Nation.

The United States and the Attorneys General of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming are seeking “structural relief,” essentially asking the court to break Live Nation and Ticketmaster up to allow for improved competition in the live music industry.

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