It’s pretty accurate to say that most mega corporations are evil. But some of them are truly worse than others. Live Nation and Ticketmaster fall into that category with their horrible ticketing practices. Anyone who has gone to a concert in recent years has quickly noticed that an array of fees, often adding up to a ticket price or more, are tagged on to a purchase. And, they essentially have the monopoly on the event ticket business. It has gotten so bad that the United States Department of Justice has sued Live Nation and Ticketmaster for violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. (Thanks to Variety for bringing this to everyone’s attention!)

Billy Butcher from the Boys drinks tea with a smirk
Prime Video

This act is a federal statute which “prohibits activities that restrict interstate commerce and competition in the marketplace.” If this suit is successful, it can change how Live Nation—which owns Ticketmaster—operates. Here’s an official statement from the attorney general: 

“We allege that Live Nation relies on unlawful, anticompetitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States at the cost of fans, artists, smaller promoters, and venue operators. The result is that fans pay more in fees, artists have fewer opportunities to play concerts, smaller promoters get squeezed out, and venues have fewer real choices for ticketing services.”

Of course, Live Nation had a response to the suit: 

“The DOJ’s lawsuit won’t solve the issues fans care about relating to ticket prices, service fees, and access to in-demand shows. Calling Ticketmaster a monopoly may be a PR win for the DOJ in the short term, but it will lose in court because it ignores the basic economics of live entertainment, such as the fact that the bulk of service fees go to venues, and that competition has steadily eroded Ticketmaster’s market share and profit margin. Our growth comes from helping artists tour globally, creating lasting memories for millions of fans, and supporting local economies across the country by sustaining quality jobs. We will defend against these baseless allegations, use this opportunity to shed light on the industry, and continue to push for reforms that truly protect consumers and artists.”

While I don’t see Department of Justice as a hero here, I absolutely hope that this leads to changes at Live Nation that make going to shows more fair and affordable for all.