Live Music

SeatGeek and Paciolan sent queries in TM antitrust probe – report

Featured image credit: Dominic Hampton on Unsplash

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has reportedly sought information from at least two of Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster's rival ticketing companies, as part of the ongoing look into the company’s dominance in the ticketing industry.

Bloomberg has reported that people familiar with the probe have said ticketing platform SeatGeek and ticketing and technology provider, with a focus on college athletics, Paciolan have received document requests. The civil investigative demands were sent last month and sought details on the primary ticketing market and the resale market. 

Since Live Nation’s merger with Ticketmaster in 2010, the company has been operating under a ‘consent decree’ with certain restrictions. These include not retaliating against venues that switched promoters or ticketing services for example. 

Live Nation Entertainment had to enter a new settlement in 2019 after it was found by antitrust lawyers to have violated its promises. This was extended for five-and-a-half years.

In January, Live Nation Entertainment’s president and chief financial officer Joe Berchtold was criticised heavily at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington DC, surrounding the topic of competition in the ticketing sector. 

SeatGeek was represented at the hearing by its chief executive, Jack Groetzinger. 

Ticketmaster has said that it believes it controls around 50% to 60% of the market for primary ticket sales in the US, and 20% to 25% of the resale market. However, others would say its market share is as high as 80%.

The hearing followed the Taylor Swift situation at the end of last year, where fans faced hours of waiting to be able to buy tickets for the singer’s Eras Tour. Eventually, Ticketmaster cancelled the general sale due to low inventory. The ticketing company then said it had faced high levels of bot attacks and fans without presale codes trying to access the website, leading to the issues. 

Live Nation Entertainment then launched its support for a FAIR Ticketing Act to to tackle the bots. Over 20 live music businesses, including the likes of Universal Music Group and Creative Artists Agency, have shown their support for the initiative.