The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced it is “looking into violations” by Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation.
At yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) Senate anti-trust subcommittee, which featured testimony from the anti-trust heads of the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, Makan Delrahim the assistant attorney-general for the DOJ’s antitrust and competition division, said the department is “examining allegations of violations” of the consent decree that ruled the 2010 merger of the two industry giants.
The concert promoter has operated under the consent decree since 2010, which is set to expire in July 2020, that bars Live Nation from withholding concerts and tours from buildings that do not use Ticketmaster, or retaliating when venues go with a competitor.
A letter to the DOJ from Senators Richard Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar said: “The consent decree has been criticised as ineffective, and there have been disturbing reports that Live Nation has flouted its conditions.” Adding that the soon-to-expire deal leaves “Live Nation’s dominance virtually unchallenged.”
Earlier this month, the Senators called on the DOJ to “investigate the state of competition in the ticketing industry” and potentially extend the consent decree past July 2020.
Live Nation and Ticketmaster replied in a statement: “As we have previously stated, Live Nation and Ticketmaster have always complied with their obligations under the consent decree. We do not force anyone into ticketing agreements by leveraging content, and we do not retaliate against venues that choose other ticketing providers.”