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U.S. Plans to Accuse Live Nation of Defending a Monopoly

The Justice Department and a group of states plan to sue Live Nation Entertainment, the concert giant that owns Ticketmaster, as early as Thursday, accusing it of illegally maintaining a monopoly in the live entertainment industry, three people familiar with it said. folder.

The government plans to argue in a lawsuit that Live Nation has consolidated its power through Ticketmaster’s exclusive ticketing contracts with music venues, as well as the company’s dominance over concert tours and other activities like management of the venues, said two of the people, who declined to be briefed. named because the trial was always private. That helped the company maintain a monopoly, raising prices and fees for consumers and limiting innovation in the ticketing industry, the sources said.

The government will argue that tours promoted by the company were more likely to take place in venues where Ticketmaster was the exclusive ticketing service, one of the people said, and that Live Nation artists played venues that it belong.

Live Nation is a colossus in the concert world and a force in the lives of musicians and fans. Its scale and scope far exceeds that of any competitor, encompassing concert promotion, ticketing, artist management and the operation of hundreds of venues and festivals around the world.

The Ticketmaster division alone sells 600 million tickets per year for events around the world. By some estimates, it handles ticketing for 70 to 80 percent of the major concert venues in the United States.

Lawmakers, fans and competitors have accused the company of engaging in practices that hurt rivals and drive up ticket prices and fees. At a congressional hearing early last year, following a pre-sale of Taylor Swift’s tour on Ticketmaster that prevented millions from purchasing tickets, senators from both parties called Live Nation a monopoly.

The company denied setting high prices and fees, saying artists and other parties, like major venues, were responsible.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment. A Live Nation spokeswoman declined to comment. Bloomberg News earlier reported that the trial was imminent.

In recent years, U.S. regulators have sued other big companies, testing century-old antitrust laws against the new power big companies wield over consumers. The Justice Department sued Apple in March, arguing that the company had made it difficult for customers to abandon its devices, and has already filed two lawsuits arguing that Google violated antitrust laws. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon for harming sellers on its platform and is pursuing another against Meta, in part for its acquisitions of Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp.

The Justice Department allowed Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, to buy Ticketmaster in 2010 under certain conditions outlined in a legal agreement. If venues didn’t use Ticketmaster, for example, Live Nation wouldn’t be able to threaten to shut down concert tours.

In 2019, however, the Justice Department found that Live Nation had violated these terms and amended and extended the agreement.

The Justice Department’s latest investigation into Live Nation began in 2022. Live Nation has simultaneously ramped up its lobbying efforts, spending $2.4 million on federal lobbying in 2023, up from $1.1 million in 2022, according to documents available on the nonpartisan OpenSecrets website.

In April, the company co-hosted a lavish party in Washington before the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, which included a performance by country singer Jelly Roll and cocktail napkins displaying positive facts about the impact of Live Nation on the economy, such as the billions it says it pays to artists.

Under pressure from the White House, Live Nation said in June that it would begin displaying show prices at venues it owns that include all costs, including surcharges. The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a rule that would ban hidden fees.

A former Federal Trade Commission chairman, Bill Kovacic, said Wednesday that legal action against the company would be a rebuke to previous antitrust authorities that allowed the company to grow to its current size .

“This is another way of saying that the previous policy failed, and failed badly,” he said.

News Source : www.nytimes.com
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Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe. Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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