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Live Nation and Ticketmaster face an impending federal antitrust lawsuit. Will the government finally break up the monopoly?

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Fans cheer as American singer and songwriter Xavi performs in concert at the Black Berry Auditorium in Mexico City, Thursday, March 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
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The U.S. Department of Justice is expected to file an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation, Ticketmaster’s parent company, in what could be a major blow to the biggest player in live music. Whether it’s being brought because of the fallout from the Taylor Swift ticket fiasco or it’s the latest move in a more aggressive antitrust strategy, an antitrust case against Live Nation could be an opportunity to address a monopoly that’s harmed artists and consumers for 15 years, says John Kwoka, Neal F. Finnegan distinguished professor of economics at Northeastern University. 

It’s also an opportunity for the Justice Department to fix its own past mistakes, Kwoka says. “The Justice Department, many of us thought, made a mistake by not preventing the merger [between Live Nation and Ticketmaster] in the first place, and in some ways what we’ve seen for 15 years is the logical consequence of not preventing the merger,” Kwoka says. “We’re now faced with a need to deal with the problems of past policy mistakes. It’s good for them to be willing to do that in the face of continuing complaints, but it is going to be a hard question, harder than to have stopped the merger in the first place.”

This is far from the first time the Justice Department has tried to reign in Live Nation in the wake of the merger. In 2019, the Justice Department revised its consent decree against Live Nation to prevent the company from retaliating against venues that use competing ticketing services. But there are ongoing lawsuits alleging that Live Nation Entertainment coerces venues into not only using Ticketmaster but boycotting competing ticketing platforms.

Read more at Northeastern Global News.

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