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Senators call for investigation into US ticketing market competition

US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar have called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate competition in the American ticketing industry.

The senators said in their letter to assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim with the DOJ’s antitrust division that they have “serious concerns that online ticket markets are not working for American consumers,” Billboard reports.

The letter covers the entire market, though specifically mentions Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, which it merged with in 2010. The concert promoter has operated under a DOJ consent decree since then, set to expire in July, that bars Live Nation from withholding concerts and tours from buildings that do not use Ticketmaster, or retaliating when venues go with a competitor.

“The consent decree has been criticised as ineffective, and there have been disturbing reports that Live Nation has flouted its conditions,” the letter reads, saying the soon-to-expire deal leaves “Live Nation’s dominance virtually unchallenged.”

Blumenthal and Klobuchar want the DOJ to “investigate the state of competition in the ticketing industry” and potentially extend the consent decree past July 2020.

“The Department of Justice should act to reinvigorate competition in the ticket market to help consumers,” reads the five-page letter, calling for the DOJ to “enforce the terms of the Ticketmaster-Live Nation consent decree, including the anti-retaliation merger conditions” and “not hesitate to seek appropriate remedies to ensure compliance with the merger conditions.”

Image: National Transportation Safety Board