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Live Nation Faces Consumer Antitrust Lawsuit, Day After DOJ Suit

Live Nation, Ticketmaster

Live Nation and its Ticketmaster business are reportedly facing a consumer antitrust lawsuit that comes on the heels of a suit filed by the Justice Department.

The consumer suit is the first of what’s likely to be many such suits, because they often follow legal action taken by U.S. or state attorneys general, Reuters reported Friday (May 24).

Like the Justice Department lawsuit, the consumer suit accuses Live Nation of exerting monopoly control over its industry, according to the report.

The consumer suit seeks $5 billion in damages on behalf of what could be millions of customers, per the report.

This report comes a day after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to dismantle Live Nation, alleging antitrust violations and monopolistic practices in the live events industry.

“We allege that Live Nation relies on unlawful, anticompetitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States at the cost of fans, artists, smaller promoters and venue operators,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a press release issued Thursday (May 23). “The result is that fans pay more in fees, artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts, smaller promoters get squeezed out and venues have fewer real choices for ticketing services. It is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster.”

Live Nation responded to the Justice Department lawsuit by calling the allegations “absurd.”

“The complaint — and even more so the press conference announcing it — attempt to portray Live Nation and Ticketmaster as the cause of fan frustration with the live entertainment industry,” Dan Wall, executive vice president, corporate and regulatory affairs at Live Nation, wrote in a Thursday blog post.

“Despite admitting that ‘[t]he face values of tickets are typically set or approved by artists,’ it blames concert promoters and ticketing companies — neither of which control ticket prices — for high ticket prices,” Wall wrote. “It ignores everything that is actually responsible for higher ticket prices, from rising production costs, to artist popularity, to 24/7 online ticket scalping that reveals the public’s willingness to pay far more than primary ticket prices.”

The federal government did not try to block the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster in 2010.

However, since then, the firm has faced criticism of its ticket fees, customer service and allegedly anticompetitive practices.