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DOJ filing highlights Live Nation’s alleged consent decree violations

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has detailed examples that it claims demonstrate Live Nation threatened venues to ensure they used Ticketmaster, acts that would be a violation of its consent decree.

The DOJ antitrust enforcers submitted a court filing documenting the claims that highlights Live Nation’s supposed abuse of the agreement that allowed it to merge with the ticketing service in 2010.

The consent decree, which was originally set to expire this year, allowed Live Nation and Ticketmaster to combine but required them to follow a set of conditions designed to keep consumer prices in check by preserving competition in the industry.

Last month, the DOJ agreed to extend and clarify the consent decree to 2025 following an investigation that found the entertainment giant to be in violation of the agreement.

“Live Nation settled this matter to make clear that it has no interest in threatening or retaliating against venues that consider or choose other ticketing companies,” the concert promoter said yesterday (Thursday) in a written statement. “We strongly disagree with the DOJ’s allegations in the filing and the conclusions they seek to draw from six isolated episodes among some 5,000 ticketing deals negotiated during the life of the consent decree.”

The new filing, submitted on Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in Washington, records instances in which six unnamed venues said they were told that the concert-promotion giant would stop booking acts at those venues if they continued to use a competitor to Ticketmaster. Some of the venues said Live Nation retaliated against them after they chose to use a competing company.

“They have failed to live up to their end of the bargain,” the antitrust enforcers said in the filing.

The filing went on to state that Live Nation’s “well-earned reputation for threatening behaviour and retaliation in violation of the [consent decree] has so permeated the industry that venues are afraid to leave Ticketmaster lest they risk losing Live Nation concerts, hindering effective competition for primary ticketing services”.