DOJ lawsuit unlikely this year say Live Nation executives, despite reports

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) could file an antitrust lawsuit against entertainment company Live Nation Entertainment and its subsidiary Ticketmaster, according to a report from Politico.

However, a follow-up report from Billboard claimed that Live Nation executives believe it would be unlikely to happen this year.

Politico reported that the DOJ would be looking to file a lawsuit over claims that the entertainment giant was abusing its power over the music industry. The report also said that the timing of any lawsuit was ‘fluid’ and that the DOJ could ultimately decide not to go after Live Nation. However, a potential case against Ticketmaster had been part of recent discussions on upcoming litigation plans in the department’s antitrust division, according to Politico’s sources.

The sources also reported that the DOJ’s investigation began last summer, meaning the botched Taylor Swift sales were not the catalyst for the ramped up heat on Ticketmaster. 

The article added that Live Nation executives were told early on that the investigation would be largely focused on Ticketmaster, with further focus on prohibitions on reselling tickets and exclusive deals with venues to only use Ticketmaster, as well as contracts for artist tours. 

Ticketmaster continues to maintain that its market share has fallen, and that it now has less than the 80% share of the market that was claimed by the DOJ in its 2010 case against the initial merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

In a statement to Politico and Billboard, Live Nation executive vice-president for corporate and regulatory affairs Dan Wall, said: “We’re in regular contact with the DOJ and they haven’t told us they think we’re doing anything illegal or asked us to address any concerns. 

“It would be highly irregular for the DOJ to file without that notice and a lot of dialogue afterwards. However, if they do file we are prepared to defend ourselves.”