Live Nation + Ticketmaster Sued for Alleged Predatory Sales Practices
A group of plaintiffs from multiple U.S. states has sued Live Nation Entertainment — the live event conglomerate that includes Live Nation and Ticketmaster — for allegedly violating antitrust laws and using what they called "predatory" sales practices.
The suit was filed Tuesday (Jan. 4) by lawyers for the firms Quinn Emanuel and Keller Lenker, according to recent reports from Billboard and NME.
It's the second such lawsuit from Quinn Emanuel, which mounted a similar case against Live Nation and Ticketmaster in 2020. Appeals to that ruling, which sided with the conglomerate over the consumers accusing it of predation, are still pending.
But Ticketmaster has inarguably maintained a stronghold on ticket sales in the United States. In 2010, the retailer merged with concert promoter Live Nation to become a singular company. And judging by this week's lawsuit on behalf of consumers in California, Ohio and Florida, the merger has only strengthened the company's purported exploitation.
The new suit argues Live Nation and Ticketmaster used their power to intimidate venues into selling tickets exclusively through Ticketmaster, for fear of retaliation in the form of withholding future events.
That's in addition to the previous lawsuit's argument that Ticketmaster already forces consumers into "one-sided" arbitration agreements when they buy tickets. In September, according to THR, U.S. District Judge George Wu ruled that consumers are locked into Ticketmaster's contracts that require them to resolve their claims outside of court.
Regardless, the new complaint asserts Live Nation's "anticompetitive scheme has been wildly successful and today threatens to put nearly all ticketing services for major concert venues (primary and secondary) in the U.S. under Ticketmaster's monopolistic thumb." It accuses Ticketmaster of engaging in "blatant, anti-consumer behavior for years."
It continues, "In addition to its behind-the-scenes efforts to feed ticket brokers huge amounts of supply if they sold on Ticketmaster's secondary platform, the [U.S. Department of Justice] recently needed to move to extend the consent decree it originally crafted to permit the Live Nation … merger, because defendants — as has only recently become public to ticket-buying consumers — shamelessly violated its terms."
It adds, "Venue operators must take into account the very real possibility that Live Nation will not route tours through their venues if they do not select Ticketmaster as their primary ticketing service provider."
The Justice Department previously said Live Nation violated restrictions required of its merger. Under a 2019 settlement, the company is subject to a $1 million penalty if it threatens retaliation against a venue.
The new suit is a class-action case representing Ticketmaster customers who purchased tickets from the retailer since July 2020, per Rolling Stone.
Consumers aren't the only ones who have fought against Ticketmaster, and for similar reasons. Thirty years ago, the rock band Pearl Jam also charged Ticketmaster with creating a monopoly.