US groups form ‘Break Up Ticketmaster’ coalition

Featured image credit: Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash

A new North American coalition led by economic libertarian groups and consumer champions has been established to campaign for the breakup of Live Nation and Ticketmaster.

The ‘Break Up Ticketmaster’ coalition, led by the American Economic Liberties Project, Consumer Federation of America and the National Consumers League, plans to increase the pressure on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate and unwind the 2010 Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger.

The coalition said “momentum is building to unwind the merger” and its founding comes in the wake of an antitrust class action over Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s alleged monopoly over the sector. A number of politicians have called for action to be taken, with influential congressman Bill Pascrell recently urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and DOJ Antitrust Division to consider overturning the merger.

“Ticketmaster’s market power over live events is ripping off sports and music fans and undermining the vibrancy and independence of the music industry,” said Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project.

“With new leadership at the DOJ committed to enforcing the antitrust laws, our new campaign helps connect the voices of fans, artists, and others in the music business who are sick and tired of being at the mercy of Ticketmaster’s monopoly with enforcers who have the power to unwind it.”

The ‘Break Up Ticketmaster’ coalition said Live Nation-Ticketmaster owns more than 70% of the primary ticketing and live event venues market, and “uses that power to hike up ticket prices, tack on expensive junk fees, and exploit artists, independent venues, and fans”.

The campaign launch features a new policy quick-take from Economic Liberties, an explainer video from More Perfect Union and a coalition letter writing campaign that will allow fans, artists, and venues across the US to share stories of Ticketmaster’s anticompetitive conduct and demand the DOJ move to break it up.

The group also features Sports Fans Coalition, Fight Corporate Monopolies, More Perfect Union, Fan Freedom and the Artist Rights Alliance.

Helen Brosnan, executive director of Fight Corporate Monopolies, said: “Everyday Americans are being scammed and extorted by Ticketmaster for wanting to see their favourite sports teams and artists perform.

“More than a decade later, their merger has resulted in consumers being held hostage by a company that uses its monopoly power to make everyone’s experience miserable — artists, concertgoers and sports fans, and independent venues alike. It should have never happened in the first place and the DOJ must step in and break them up.”

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