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Live Nation Will Soon Face DOJ Antitrust Lawsuit: Report

Federal regulators are reportedly planning to sue the concert giant over claims that it abused its dominance to undermine competition.

Live Nation logo

Live Nation logo

The U.S. Department of Justice is planning to sue Live Nation over alleged violations of federal antitrust laws, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

A lawsuit will be filed within weeks that alleges the concert giant leveraged its dominance over the live music industry to undermine competition for ticketing, the Journal reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. Few other details about the planned case were revealed.


Live Nation has faced widespread criticism from angry fans and lawmakers since its botched handling of Taylor Swift’s “Eras” tour in 2022. Days after the incident, news broke that the DOJ had already been investigating Live Nation for months over potential antitrust violations.

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Representatives for Live Nation and the DOJ did not immediately return requests for comment from Billboard.

Since Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010, the company has long faced criticism that it exerts an unfair dominance over the market for live concerts. The DOJ approved the merger at the time, but imposed a so-called consent decree designed to prevent the company from abusing its position. Those restrictions were set to expire in 2020, but they were extended by five years after the DOJ accused Live Nation of repeatedly violating the decree.

That same criticism resurfaced in late 2022 with the disastrous roll out of tickets to Swift’s tour, which saw widespread service delays and website crashes as millions of fans tried – and many failed – to buy tickets. Live Nation pinned the blame on a “staggering number of bot attacks,” but lawmakers quickly argued that the incident was the result of a market dominated by one company.

“Ticketmaster’s power in the primary ticket market insulates it from the competitive pressures that typically push companies to innovate and improve their services,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the chair of the Senate subcommittee for antitrust issues.

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In December 2022, the New York Times reported that DOJ had already been investigating Live Nation for months before the Swift debacle, including reaching out to venues across the country to ask about the company’s conduct. A year later, Reuters reported that the probe was ongoing, with federal investigators focusing on whether Live Nation imposed anticompetitive agreements on venues.

Last year, Live Nation hired Dan Wall, a veteran competition attorney who previously headed the antitrust practice at the law firm Latham & Watkins, as an executive vice president for corporate and regulatory affairs. In a blog post last month, Wall publicly defended the company against allegations similar to those that could be coming in the DOJ’s lawsuit, arguing that ticket prices were set by artists and driven up by the forces of supply and demand.

“In the ongoing antitrust attacks on Live Nation and Ticketmaster, a constant theme is that their alleged ‘monopolies’ are responsible for high ticket prices,” Wall wrote. “Rhetorically, that’s understandable, because if you want to rile up fans against Live Nation and Ticketmaster, there is no better way than to blame them for something you know fans dislike.”

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This article was originally published by Billboard U.S.

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