Live Nation Entertainment, the corporate parent of Ticketmaster, is reportedly facing a Department of Justice (DOJ) probe over antitrust concerns.
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The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reported Friday that the investigation’s focus is whether Live Nation Entertainment constitutes a monopoly and has taken unfair advantage of its market position with its practices. The probe has involved DOJ Antitrust Division staff reaching out to parts of the music industry, including venues and ticket sellers, according to the outlet.
FOX Business reached out to the DOJ and a Live Nation Entertainment representative for comment on the report, but neither responded by publication.
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Live Nation Entertainment was formed in 2010, when ticket seller Ticketmaster and concert promoter Live Nation combined. At the time, the DOJ hinged its approval of the combination on Ticketmaster licensing its software to two firms and divesting certain segments, as well as the new company agreeing to not retaliate against venues that choose not to use its services, according to a press release.
The DOJ and Live Nation Entertainment agreed to extend by over five years and amend the agreement in 2019 after the entertainment company faced accusations of repeatedly breaching the original terms. The new agreement included “additional safeguards to ensure Live Nation does not punish venues that want to work with competing ticketers,” according to the DOJ at the time.
Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster have been facing heightened scrutiny this week over handling of ticket presales for Taylor Swift’s upcoming “The Eras” tour. However, the antitrust probe apparently started well before Swift’s ticketing issues, according to The New York Times.
TAYLOR SWIFT TICKETS SEE HUGE DEMAND AMID REPORTS OF TICKETMASTER SITE CRASHING DURING PRESALE EVENT
Presales for Swift’s tour opened Tuesday, with many fans waiting hours in the online Ticketmaster queue to purchase tickets or wind up empty-handed. Some customers reported experiencing issues while attempting to score seats, and others complained about prices and fees, Forbes reported.
Ticketmaster issued a statement about the Swift presale event Thursday, saying that a “staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who didn’t have invite codes drove unprecedented traffic” to its website, according to NPR.
It took steps such as pausing or delaying queues for certain time zones to accommodate the high demand, as well as scheduling the Capital One-specific event. The company said that customers bought over two million tickets in one day, the outlet reported.
Ticketmaster on Thursday canceled the general public sales of Swift’s concert tickets slated to start Friday morning over “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet demand.”
Swift, writing on her Instagram Story on Friday, said she was “trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward” and “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.”
TAYLOR SWIFT’S NOSEBLEED SEATS COST OVER $1K, TICKET PRICES SKYROCKET FOLLOWING TICKETMASTER SALE CANCELATION
“And to those who didn’t get tickets, all I can say is that my hope is to provide more opportunities for us to all get together and sing these songs,” she also said.
Amid customers reporting presale issues for Swift tickets, politicians such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. David Cicilline criticized the company. Some targeted Live Nation Entertainment’s 2010 merger and made monopoly accusations.
Klobuchar said Thursday and Friday that she planned to hold a hearing about Ticketmaster before the end of the year.
Live Nation Entertainment said in its most recent annual report that it sold a total of over 282 million tickets through its systems in 2021. In 2019, before the pandemic, it sold over 485 million, according to the filing.
FOX News Digital’s Lauryn Overhultz contributed to this report.