ANTITRUST

Live Nation Settles With DOJ Over Ticketmaster Antitrust Violation

Live Nation Entertainment reached a deal with the government, resolving concerns that the company had violated a 2010 antitrust settlement.

Under the consent decree issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Live Nation merged with Ticketmaster, agreeing to conditions that kept competition alive in the live-events industry, and kept ticket prices at reasonable rates. The agreement — which was set to expire in 2020 — bars Live Nation from forcing venues to use Ticketmaster when they want to book tours, as well as retaliating when a venue uses another ticketing service.

However, the DOJ has been investigating the possibility that Live Nation has violated the terms of its agreement by possibly coercing people to use Ticketmaster. There are five potential violations of the agreement, according to unnamed sources with the DOJ, who added that there are currently no material penalties as part of the agreement.

Now, the agreement will be extended to 2025 under the new agreement, making it easier for the government to investigate and punish Live Nation for violating the decree. There will be a DOJ antitrust investigator appointed to oversee things, and Live Nation will hire an internal officer to conduct training on antitrust matters. Live Nation must notify customers from now on about the clarified and extended terms of the decree.

Furthermore, Live Nation will be subjected to a $1 million penalty for any found violations of the decree. The company has said that the complaints about its conduct came from a “misunderstanding” of the decree and the ticketing industry.

Live Nation is the market leader in concert promotion, and organizes events by booking talent and securing venues. It has also built an artist management business. Its merger with Ticketmaster — the dominant online ticketing service — represented a marriage of two of the most powerful forces in the business.

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