Amid Taylor Swift Fiasco, Live Nation Under Investigation by DOJ – Billboard

In the wake of Ticketmaster’s disastrous sales for Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour, a report has emerged that the US Department of Justice is investigating whether parent company Live Nation abused its massive market share in the live music industry.

according to a friday story new York TimesThe DOJ’s Antitrust Division had been scrutinizing Live Nation for months before Tuesday’s botched rollout, which saw widespread service delays and website crashes as millions of fans tried to buy tickets for Swift’s 2023 Eras Tour — and many failed are.

Times The report says antitrust investigators have been contacting music venues and others involved in the live music industry for months to ask about Live Nation’s practices, with the aim of determining whether the company created an illegal monopoly on the sector. holds or not. The story was created for “two people with knowledge of the matter”; A spokesperson for the DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Although the DOJ investigation reportedly predates Swift’s debacle, it echoes the criticism that has been leveled at Live Nation in the days following the scandalous Eras Presley.

On Thursday Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), chairman of the Senate subcommittee for antitrust issues, wrote an open letter to Live Nation, complaining that the company’s market power “insulates it from the competitive pressures that normally force companies to sell their services.” Inspires you to innovate and improve.” Klobuchar said the results were similar to the “theatrical service failures” that occurred during Swift’s presale.

repealed. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.), was even more blunt, tweeting Tuesday: “Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, the merger with Live Nation should never have been approved, and they need to be ruled in. break them.”

As pointed out by Ocasio-Cortez, Ticketmaster and Live Nation have long been dogged by allegations that they unfairly dominate the market for live concerts, especially since they merged in 2010 to form their current structure.

The combined entity has operated for its entire existence under a so-called consent decree imposed by the DOJ when approving the merger. Under the decree, Live Nation is prohibited from retaliating against venues that refuse to use Ticketmaster. Those restrictions were set to expire in 2020, but were extended for five years in 2019 after the DOJ accused Live Nation of repeatedly violating the decree.

Ticketmaster has already tried to provide an explanation for what went wrong on Tuesday, publishing a since-deleted in-depth blog post saying it misidentified the demand for presale tickets and that people trying to log in Wasn’t ready for millions of fans.

“I apologize to all our fans. We are working hard on this,” said Liberty Media CEO and Live Nation President Greg Maffei said in an appearance on CNBC on Thursday. “Building capacity for peak demand is something we strive to do, but it has exceeded every expectation.”

Whether or not this explanation satisfies federal antitrust investigators, it doesn’t seem to be sufficient for Swift. In a statement released Friday in which Starr said the catastrophic pre-sales “really bother me,” Swift did not explicitly call out Ticketmaster, but placed the blame on an unnamed “outside entity.”

“I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them multiple times if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured,” Swift wrote.

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