The Ticketmaster and Live Nation Lawsuit: Everything You Need to Know About the Department of Justice’s 2024 Lawsuit Against the Merged Entity

The Ticketmaster and Live Nation Lawsuit


After Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged in 2010, the merged entity was called Live Nation Entertainment.

In a significant development that could reshape the landscape of live event ticket sales, Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, find themselves in a high-stakes legal battle that raises critical questions about monopolistic practices and consumer rights. The lawsuit, initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), alleges that Ticketmaster and Live Nation engaged in anti-competitive behavior, leveraging their dominant market position to impose exorbitant fees and restrict access to tickets. Additionally, the plaintiffs argue that these practices have stifled competition and innovation within the industry, ultimately harming artists, venues, and fans alike. This case not only puts the spotlight on the business practices of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, but also has the potential to set an important precedent in antitrust litigation.


The 2010 Merger


The 2010 merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation marked a pivotal moment in the live entertainment industry, creating a behemoth with unprecedented control over concert ticket sales, event promotion, and artist management. Prior to the merger, Ticketmaster was already dominant in the ticketing industry, having built a reputation as the go-to platform for purchasing tickets to major events. At the time, Ticketmaster’s market share in primary ticketing was 80%.1Live Nation, on the other hand, was the largest concert promoter in the world, responsible for producing and marketing live concerts, managing artists, and operating entertainment venues.


The merger, valued at approximately $2.5 billion, was initially met with significant scrutiny.2 Concerns were raised about the potential for anti-competitive behavior and the creation of3 a monopoly. Central to this scrutiny was Section 7 of the Clayton Act, which prohibits mergers and acquisitions where the effect “may be substantially to lessen competition, or to tend to create a monopoly.”4 The DOJ conducted an extensive investigation under this legal framework to assess the merger’s impact on competition within the industry. The investigation involved defining the relevant market for ticketing services, concert promotion, and artist management, analyzing the potential competitive effects of the merger, examining whether new competitors could easily enter the market to challenge the merged entity’s dominance, and assessing the market shares of Ticketmaster and Live Nation before the merger and the combined entity’s projected market share.5 Ultimately, the DOJ approved the merger but imposed several conditions designed to mitigate potential anti-competitive effects. These conditions included the requirement for Ticketmaster to license its ticketing software to AEG Presents, a major competitor, and to divest its subsidiary Paciolian, a company that provides ticketing services to venues and promoters.6


Despite these regulatory safeguards, the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger fundamentally altered the competitive landscape of the live entertainment industry. By combining Ticketmaster’s extensive ticketing infrastructure with Live Nation’s vast portfolio of concerts and venues, the merged entity gained a significant advantage over its competitors. This consolidation enabled the company to exert greater control over ticket prices, fees, and availability, often to the detriment of consumers. The conditions imposed by the DOJ, while aimed at preserving competition, have faced criticism for being insufficient to curb the power of the merged entity.


The Taylor Swift Effect


After the chaos of the presale ticket sale, Ticketmaster announced via (formerly that the general
sale would be cancelled “due to extraordinarily high demands.”


Over the years, the merged entity has faced ongoing criticism and legal challenges related to its market dominance and business practices. These concerns came to a head with, what is now colloquially known as, “The Taylor Swift Concert Ticket Fiasco”.


The Taylor Swift concert ticket fiasco in late 2022 served as a significant catalyst for the current lawsuit against Ticketmaster and Live Nation. When tickets for Swift’s highly anticipated “Eras Tour” went on sale, the overwhelming demand led to widespread technical issues on Ticketmaster’s platform, resulting in a frozen queue or forced logouts, and countless fans being unable to secure tickets despite hours of waiting. The situation was exacerbated by the rapid appearance of tickets on resale platforms at outrageous prices, highlighting concerns over transparency, fairness, and the monopolistic control of Ticketmaster over the ticketing market.


This debacle drew intense public and regulatory scrutiny, with fans, artists, and lawmakers criticizing Ticketmaster’s handling of the sale and its dominant market position. Swift herself expressed frustration over the ticketing issues, posting on her Instagram story, “It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse . . . 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 they could.”7 This incident underscored long-standing grievances about high service fees, limited ticket availability, and the company’s alleged anti-competitive practices, which many argued were a direct consequence of the 2010 merger.


In response to the public outcry, several lawmakers called for an investigation into Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s business practices. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings where industry experts, consumer advocates, and representatives from Ticketmaster testified about the state of competition in the ticketing market.8 These hearings highlighted the systemic issues within the industry, including allegations that Ticketmaster’s control over both primary and secondary ticketing markets stifled competition and harmed consumers.9 The Taylor Swift ticketing debacle significantly influenced the current lawsuit by bringing these issues to the forefront of public and legal discourse.


The Current Allegations


The DOJ now alleges that Ticketmaster and Live Nation have engaged in a series of anti-competitive tactics that violate the Sherman Act, a foundational piece of U.S. antitrust legislation designed to prohibit monopolistic practices and promote fair competition.10 Specifically, the DOJ’s allegations focus on how Ticketmaster and Live Nation have leveraged their dominant market position to stifle competition, inflate prices, and limit consumer choice in the live entertainment industry.


Central to the DOJ’s case is the accusation that Ticketmaster and Live Nation have employed exclusive dealing arrangements with venues, which effectively blocks competitors from the market.11 By requiring venues to use Ticketmaster as their sole ticketing provider as a condition for hosting Live Nation-promoted events, the company allegedly creates significant barriers to entry for other ticketing services.12 This practice not only reinforces Ticketmaster’s control over ticket sales but also prevents rival companies from gaining a foothold in the market.


Another key aspect of the DOJ’s allegations involves the use of retaliatory tactics against venues that do not comply with these exclusive agreements. According to the DOJ, Live Nation has threatened to withhold its concerts from venues that choose to partner with competing ticketing services.13 The DOJ argues that these actions violate Section 2 of the Sherman Act, which addresses the conduct of monopolies and attempts to monopolize any part of trade or commerce.14 By threatening to pull valuable Live Nation tours and events from non-compliant venues, the company allegedly coerces these venues into exclusive contracts, shutting out rival ticketing firms and cementing its dominance.15


The DOJ also contends that Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s control over both primary and secondary ticketing markets allows them to manipulate ticket prices and availability.16 This means that the company can benefit from both the initial sale and the resale of tickets, often at significant markups, leading to higher costs for consumers and more revenue for Ticketmaster and Live Nation. Such practices, the DOJ argues, exemplify how the entities exploit their market power to the detriment of consumer welfare.


In sum, the DOJ’s allegations paint a picture of a monopolistic entity that uses a combination of exclusive deals, retaliatory threats, and market manipulation to maintain and expand its dominance in the live entertainment industry. These tactics not only violate the Sherman Act but also illustrate the need for regulatory intervention to restore competitive balance and protect consumers from the adverse effects of monopolistic practices.


Impact of the Alleged Conduct


The anticompetitive tactics alleged in the complaint have drastic impacts on the live music industry as a whole. The primary result of the alleged conduct by Ticketmaster and Live Nation is the inhibition of choices made by fans, artists, and venues – choices that should exist in a free market. For artists, the opportunities to play concerts will dwindle and they will be left with fewer and fewer choices for promoting their concerts, selling tickets, and performing at certain venues. Similarly, venues are limited in their choices for obtaining concerts and ticketing services. Additionally, the evolution of the live music industry as a whole suffers as a result of the conduct that Ticketmaster and Live Nation are allegedly engaged in. It is a known fact that competition drives industries to innovate and improve, fostering advancements in technology, service quality, and consumer choice. In a competitive market, businesses are incentivized to differentiate themselves through better products, lower prices, and enhanced customer experiences. This dynamic encourages efficiency and drives continuous improvement, ultimately benefiting consumers with greater variety, higher quality products, and more favorable pricing. When competition ceases to exist, it is the fans that are harmed the most, because the controlling company in a monopoly has no incentive to improve or cater to the consumer experience. As a result, fans are left with no alternative to turn to, and instead are forced to endure whatever pitfalls Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s system may present.


What is the Remedy?


It seems the DOJ is fully receptive to the consequences of Ticketmaster and Live Nation’s anticompetitive conduct; the agency is not merely seeking new conduct rules against the practices, similar to the results of the 2010 investigation. Rather, the DOJ has stated that it will seek to split Ticketmaster off from Live Nation.17 What is the reason for this seemingly drastic remedy? The basic answer is that nothing else would work. The DOJ has previously attempted to rein in Ticketmaster and Live Nation and, historically, has been vastly unsuccessful. Therefore, the DOJ is taking the matter a step further, with the primary ask being the forced sale of Ticketmaster, and potentially forcing Live Nation to divest control of venues as well as ending all exclusive contracts.18 While there are ample possibilities, if Ticketmaster and Live Nation are found to be in violation of antitrust law, the remedy will be up to a judge to decide.


Future Implications


The Ticketmaster lawsuit holds significant implications for the live music industry, potentially reshaping the landscape of ticketing practices and competition. A successful outcome for the plaintiffs could lead to increased regulatory scrutiny, potential reforms aimed at promoting fair competition and transparency in ticketing, and potentially the divestiture of Ticketmaster and Live Nation. This could foster a more open marketplace where alternative ticketing providers can thrive, enhancing competition and offering consumers greater options and potentially lower fees. Conversely, a ruling favoring Ticketmaster and Live Nation could solidify their market position, reinforcing current practices and potentially further cementing their control over ticket sales and concert promotions. As the lawsuit unfolds, its outcome will likely shape the future dynamics of how live events are accessed and experienced by audiences worldwide.


1 Busting the Live Nation-Ticketmaster Monopoly: What Would a Break-Up Remedy Look Like?, AMERICAN ANTITRUST INSTITUTE (July 11, 2023), (last visited 2/23/24).


2 Krista Brown & Zach Freed, How Antitrust Enforcers Helped Create a Live Events Monster, AMERICAN ECONOMIC LIBERTIES PROJECT, 1, 1 (Oct. 2022), (last visited 2/23/24).


3 Ticketmaster, Live Nation Announce $2.5 Billion Merger Into Live Nation Entertainment, FORBES (June 19, 2013, 4:47 PM), (last visited 2/23/24).


4 15 U.S.C. § 18.


5 Justice Department Requires Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. to Make Significant Changes to Its Merger with Live Nation Inc., U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS (Jan. 25, 2010), (last visited 2/23/24).


6 Id.


7 Taylor Swift (@taylorswift), INSTAGRAM (Nov. 18, 2022).


8 Ben Sisario & Matt Stevens, Ticketmaster Cast as a Powerful ‘Monopoly’ at Senate Hearing, THE NEW YORK TIMES (Jan. 24, 2023),


9 15 U.S.C. §§ 1-38.


10 Complaint at 36, U.S. v. Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., No. 1:24-cv-3973 (S.D.N.Y. May 23, 2024).


11 15 U.S.C. §§ 1-38.


12 Id. at 37.


13 Id.


14 Id. at 7; 15 U.S.C. § 2.


15 Id. at 37.


16 Id. at 16.


17 Id. at 104.


18 See id.