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Attorney General Ellison joins federal antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation

May 23, 2024 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that he has joined the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and a bipartisan coalition of 30 attorneys general in filing an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., the owner of Ticketmaster, alleging that the companies have illegally monopolized the live-entertainment industry. They are asking the court to prohibit Live Nation’s anticompetitive practices and order Live Nation to divest Ticketmaster.

Minnesota is home to numerous live-entertainment venues of varying sizes. Live Nation controls two of the most important parts of the live-entertainment industry: ticketing and artists. That means for most shows, Live Nation’s misconduct results in fans paying more to see the show.

“One of the major drivers of inflation in this country is corporate greed and illegal behavior — and Live Nation and Ticketmaster are prime examples,” Attorney General Ellison said. “People are fed up with having no option but to fork over their hard-earned money for the high prices and hidden fees that Ticketmaster routinely charges. Live Nation’s anticompetitive behavior is to blame, because too often, consumers who just want to enjoy live entertainment have nowhere else to turn. Especially at a time when it’s tough for Minnesotans and all Americans to afford their lives, I’m proud to join DOJ and this bipartisan coalition from across the country in holding Live Nation to account. Consumers deserve an end to these obnoxious and monopolistic practices, including Live Nation divesting itself of Ticketmaster for good.”

In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Attorney General Ellison, the DOJ, and the bipartisan coalition of attorneys general allege that Live Nation has:

• Harmed fans through higher fees and limited the amount of information fans have regarding the ultimate cost to see a show. Fans’ ticketing experience — from buying a ticket to showtime — is also worse than it would be if the industry was competitive.

• Maintained its monopoly in ticketing markets by locking up venues through restrictive long-term, exclusive agreements and threats that venues will lose access to Live Nation-controlled tours and artists if they sign with a rival ticketer.

• Leveraged its extensive network of venues to force artists to select Live Nation as a promoter instead of its rivals, maintaining its promotions monopoly.

The lawsuit asks the court to restore competition in the live entertainment industry by:

• Prohibiting Live Nation from engaging in its anticompetitive practices.

• Ordering Live Nation to divest Ticketmaster.

In joining the DOJ’s complaint, Attorney General Ellison is joined by the bipartisan attorneys general of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Minnesota’s action to strengthen protections for ticket-buyers

Minnesota also recently passed new legislation to support consumers when they buy tickets to live events. In early May, Governor Walz signed into law a bill — HF 1989, chief-authored by Rep. Kelly Moller and Sen. Matt Klein — that strengthens protections for ticket-buyers. The provisions of the new law require any business selling tickets to disclose all fees up front, so consumers can see total cost of a ticket right away. The legislation also prohibits resellers from selling more than one copy of a ticket and prohibits resellers from hiring people to stand in line to purchase tickets for resale.

Attorney General Ellison encourages Minnesota consumers and businesses who wish to report concerns about antitrust issues to submit a report online via the Antitrust Report Form. Consumers may also call the Attorney General’s Office at (651) 296-3353 (Metro area), (800) 657-3787 (Greater Minnesota), or (800) 627-3529 (Minnesota Relay).

 

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