The Justice Department is reportedly considering filing an antitrust lawsuit against concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment and its subsidiary Ticketmaster by the end of the year. The lawsuit would claim that Live Nation is abusing its power in the live music industry. If successful, the lawsuit could potentially lead to a breakup of the company.
The timing of the lawsuit is uncertain, and the final decision has not been made. The Department of Justice is currently dealing with other trials and investigations, which could impact their ability to bring a case against Ticketmaster.
Ticketmaster has faced criticism in the past, including over the botched sale of concert tickets for Taylor Swift. However, the DOJ's investigation is unrelated to this incident and has been ongoing since last summer. The investigation is focused on Ticketmaster's practices, including prohibitions on ticket reselling and exclusive deals with venues.
Ticketmaster is the largest ticketing company in the US, but it claims that its market share has fallen in recent years. The company argues that it faces competition from other companies including SeatGeek, AEG, and Paciolan.
Live Nation has been under federal oversight since its merger with Ticketmaster in 2010. The companies settled with the government, agreeing to sell off some ticketing assets and not force venues to use Ticketmaster. However, the settlement expired in 2020, and Live Nation settled with the DOJ again in 2019 over violations of the earlier agreement.
No Live Nation executives have been deposed by the DOJ yet, and the company is still in the early stages of cooperation with the government.
The DOJ's litigation team is involved in the case, and the department is moving quickly. Jonathan Kanter, the DOJ's antitrust head, has expressed a preference for litigating cases rather than settling. A group of state attorneys general could potentially join the case, and Congress has also expressed concerns about the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger.
Overall, the DOJ's potential lawsuit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster could have significant implications for the live music industry. However, the final decision on whether to sue has not been made, and the timing of any lawsuit is still uncertain.