Nov 21, 2022
Live Nation Reportedly Under Investigation By The Justice Department—Before Taylor Swift Mess
Live Nation Entertainment is being investigated by the Department of Justice, the New York Times reported Friday, citing anonymous sources, over concerns the company has abused its power with the live entertainment industry—though the investigation reportedly started before the company came under fire this week for botching the sale of tickets for Taylor Swift’s “The Eras” tour.
Antitrust staffers at the DOJ have contacted music venues and players over the last few months to gather information on how Live Nation Entertainment works, and one source told the Times the agency is looking into whether Live Nation has a monopoly
.A merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster was approved in 2010, during which the company agreed that it could not threaten concert venues who used other ticket sellers over losing access to its tours, which a 2019 investigation found it violated, according to the Times.
Ticketmaster came under fire this week when its site crashed during a pre-sale event for Swift’s 2023 tour, and because of “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.”
The Department of Justice isn’t the only government entity taking action: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called Live Nation Entertainment a “monopoly,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) sent a letter to the company addressing the “state of the competition in the ticketing industry and its harmful impact on consumers” and the Tennessee attorney general said it's probing the company in response to the Swift debacle.
Forbes has reached out to Live Nation Entertainment and the DOJ for comment; neither responded to the New York Times.
In an interview this week, Live Nation Chairman Greg Maffei said “though AOC may not like every element of our business,” Swift’s tour was not being promoted by Live Nation. Ticketmaster was chosen as the tour’s ticket selling platform even though “Eras” was being managed by a Live Nation competitor. Swift said Friday that she was assured by Ticketmaster and Live Nation they could handle the massive demand expected for tickets.
Tickets for Swift’s tour–her first since 2018—first became available for presale on Tuesday. A select number of fans, 1.5 million, were chosen to get access to tickets, however 14 million users tried to buy them, crashing the site and causing massive wait times. Ticketmaster canceled Friday’s sale of general admission tickets on Thursday. In her statement, Swift said it was “excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.”