Over two dozen states, including Michigan, sue Live Nation

NEW YORK -- A groundbreaking antitrust lawsuit has been filed against ticket giant Live Nation and threatens to upend the way concertgoers pay for tickets.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in New York's Southern District, the U.S. government and dozens of states, including Michigan, sued Live Nation on Thursday, alleging that for years the parent company of Ticketmaster abused its industry dominance to harm fans nationwide.

The lawsuit, described as long expected, was filed by the Justice Department along with 30 state and district attorneys general.

The governments are seeking a jury trial and a breakup of the company.

“Michigan concertgoers deserve the chance to experience the thrill of seeing their favorite artist live, in a venue close to home, without breaking the bank,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

“Unfortunately, this dream is out of reach for many because of Live Nation’s illegal monopoly. A truly competitive marketplace is essential to providing consumers with choice. That’s why I, along with the Department of Justice and other states, are taking a stand against Live Nation’s practices that limit choice, hamper innovation, and unfairly inflate prices.”

Live Nation merged with Ticketmaster in 2009, solidifying its position as the primary ticketing services industry.

The lawsuit alleges:

  • Live Nation has maintained its anticompetitive monopoly in ticketing markets by locking up venues through restrictive, long-term, exclusive agreements and threats that venues will lose access to Live Nation-controlled tours and artists if they sign with a rival ticketer.
  • Live Nation leverages its extensive network of amphitheaters to force artists to select Live Nation as a promoter instead of its rivals, maintaining its promotions monopoly.
  • Live Nation’s conduct has harmed fans through higher fees, lack of transparency, fewer consumer choices, and stifling innovation.

A CNN report says for many complaints of poor customer service, highlighted by the recent Taylor Swift ERA's Tour debacle, revealed how a lack of competition has led to confusing pricing, expensive ticketing fees, restrictions on ticket resales, and more issues for consumers.

Attorney General Merrick Garland in a press conference Thursday listed some of fees Ticketmaster charges customers. “Those include ticketing fees, service fees, convenience fees."

The report says prosecutors allege Live Nation’s end game was to monopolize the ticketing and live events industry by cutting exclusive deals with the country’s largest venues, ensuring that all future events were ticketed through the company’s platform.

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