Ozzy Osbourne is suing music giant AEG for allegedly “coercing” artists into committing to playing its venues in both London and Los Angeles.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Osbourne has filed a class action antitrust lawsuit against AEG in California federal court, claiming that it is illegally tying its venues, London’s O2 Arena and the Staples Center in LA, with an agreement called the Staples Center Commitment, which prohibits artists from playing The O2 unless they also play the Staples Center as their Los Angeles leg.
“The tying arrangement at issue is so explicit and brazen that AEG has given it a name: the ‘Staples Center Commitment,'” reads the complaint. “Through the Staples Center Commitment, AEG requires that artists and musicians cannot play London’s most essential large concert venue — the O2 Arena — unless they agree to play the Staples Center during the part of their tours that takes place in Los Angeles. Both the O2 and Staples are owned by AEG.”
Osbourne lawyers argue that while Los Angeles is “a competitive venue market”, The O2 is a “must have” venue in the English capital and the “only indoor arena in London with the capacity to host major concerts”.
The Staples Center Commitment restricts “the benefits of free and open competition,” it’s claimed, while Ozzy’s wife and manager, Sharon Osbourne has labelled it as “blackmail”.
Osbourne’s lawsuit looks to nullify the agreement for any artist that signed it.
AEG has responded to the lawsuit, saying in a statement: “This suit is without merit and we will vigorously fight it. We welcome a closer look at the global live entertainment market and, specifically, our practices and the practices of our competition.”
“AEG has always worked hard to put artists first,” the statement adds. “At the same time, we must respond to the actions of those we compete with, specifically Live Nation and Madison Square Garden. Fighting for a level playing field is fair competition at its core.”