US Justice Department opens investigation over Live Nation and Ticketmaster concerns

The investigation comes as the ticketing site faces scrutiny over Taylor Swift 'The Eras Tour' sales

The United States Department of Justice has officially opened an anti-trust investigation into Live Nation, the company which owns Ticketmaster.

According to The New York Timesthe inquiry predates wide speculation of Ticketmaster’s processes attached to Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’ ticket sales. The general ticket sale for the tour was cancelled by the ticketing site to due to “extraordinarily high demand” and “insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand”.

The Times reported that “the investigation is focused on whether Live Nation Entertainment abused its power over the multibillion-dollar live music industry”. They also reported that the antitrust division of the Justice Department have been in contact with music venues and ticket sellers in recent months, and the inquiry appears to be a broad look at whether the company has a monopoly over the industry.

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In 2010, Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged to form Live Nation Entertainment. At the time the Justice Department accepted the merger, but amended the deal in 2019 due to violations of the original deal (Billboard).

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift CREDIT: Jeff Kravitz / Film Magic

Earlier today (November 18) Swift shared a statement to fans regarding the technical difficulties they faced during her tour pre-sale on Ticketmaster. “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand we were assured they could,” she wrote. “It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.”

Meanwhile, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has launched an investigation into Ticketmaster following Swift fans reporting issues with buying tickets.

“Any time you have that kind of concentration of market share, there’s the risk that the lack of competition will not just drive up prices for consumers,” said Skrmetti, “it will also reduce the quality of the product.”

Elsewhere, congressman David Cicilline – who oversees the House committee on competition and antitrust – tweeted: “Ticketmaster’s excessive wait times and fees are completely unacceptable, as seen with today’s [Taylor Swift] tickets, and are a symptom of a larger problem. “It’s no secret that Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly,” he said.

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