Thirty attorneys general joined forces with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday in a civil suit to break up entertainment company Live Nation and its wholly-owned subsidiary company Ticketmaster.

The suit, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, claims the company committed antitrust violations with its alleged self-reinforcing business model. They claim Live Nation is using its market dominance to obtain noncompetitive long-term exclusive contracts. In a press statement, the DOJ accused the company of illegally achieving a monopoly.

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As Valuetainment previously reported, DOJ sources spoke anonymously with The Wall Street Journal in April to tip them off about the suit, as well as antitrust actions against Ticketmaster.

In 2010, the DOJ opted not to challenge a controversial merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation in exchange for certain concessions by the company. When the approval was granted, critics of the merger argued that Live Nation, which owned or ran 135 concert venues around the world at the time, would pressure those venues into exclusivity deals with its new ticketing division, preventing other sellers from offering better deals.

A legal order from the DOJ at the time of the merger placed a 10-year ban on this practice, but this has reportedly not stopped Live Nation from engaging in other forms of anti-competitive behavior, ranging from exorbitant ticket fees to substandard customer service.

The DOJ investigation into Ticketmaster and Live Nation began in earnest in late 2022 when the ticketing service crashed during a presale for pop singer Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour.” Once access to the sale was restored for hundreds of thousands of fans around the world, Ticketmaster continued to face complaints for massively inflating the cost of tickets to Swift’s shows.

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