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Published on May 23, 2024
AG Paxton Leads 30-State Antitrust Suit Seeking to Break Live Nation’s Concert MonopolySource: Texas Attorney General's Office

The legal gloves are off as Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, backed by a strong bipartisan coalition of nearly 30 states and the U.S. Department of Justice, has taken a swing at Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and Ticketmaster LLC with a civil antitrust lawsuit. The litigation accuses the entertainment giant of monopolizing the live concert industry and engaging in anti-competitive practices. Paxton's legal maneuver, which includes an ask for structural changes, seeks to inject competition back into the market, ultimately aiming to lower prices for fans and open up opportunities for musicians and artists.

Since Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged into the behemoth now known as Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. in 2010, they have effectively cornered the market on ticket sales, live event promotions, and venue control. Allegedly, the company has not hesitated to strongly encourage venues to enter into exclusive contracts, and even strong-arm performers with restrictive deals, all under threat of severe economic penalties. This has enabled Live Nation-Ticketmaster to quickly hike prices, pile on hidden fees, and limit choices for the average concertgoer.

According to a statement from the Texas Attorney General's Office, the coalition is pushing the court to prohibit Live Nation from continuing its current business strategies, enforce the separation of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, and also provide compensation to customers who have suffered from the merger's market stranglehold. AG Paxton minced no words when it came to the goals of the lawsuit: “Mega-corporations cannot control entire industries to create anti-competitive environments, drive up prices, and take advantage of consumers,” he said. “With this lawsuit, we aim to ensure fair competition for ticket sellers, concertgoers, venues, and others in the entertainment space who have been affected by this merger."

This pursuit of legal action serves as a clear message that regulators and state authorities are willing to dramatically push back against corporate consolidation perceived as harmful to the public. Meanwhile, representatives for Live Nation-Ticketmaster have yet to publicly respond to the filing. The case, if successful, could potentially reconfigure an industry that has steadily condensed under the weight of a single corporate entity, potentially to the benefit of consumers and artists alike.