We research all brands listed and may earn a fee from our partners. Research and financial considerations may influence how brands are displayed. Not all brands are included. Learn more.

Published: May 23, 2024 4 min read
Photo collage of two smartphones one showing the  Live Nation Entertainment  logo and the other showing the  Ticketmaster  Logo
Money; Getty Images; Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Justice sued Live Nation on Thursday over alleged antitrust violations, arguing the Ticketmaster parent company has become a monopoly at the expense of everyday consumers.

The federal lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, doesn't mince words, starting off by saying, "One monopolist serves as the gatekeeper for the delivery of nearly all live music in America today."

The government’s move to sue Live Nation is a long time coming for entertainment lovers frustrated with the system. Criticism intensified in 2022 after a botched rollout of tickets for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, which is now the highest-grossing concert tour ever.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Don't forget your tickets — or your Travel Insurance
If you're traveling to see your favorite artists, make sure that your trip is covered with Travel Insurance. Click your state to get coverage.
HawaiiAlaskaFloridaSouth CarolinaGeorgiaAlabamaNorth CarolinaTennesseeRIRhode IslandCTConnecticutMAMassachusettsMaineNHNew HampshireVTVermontNew YorkNJNew JerseyDEDelawareMDMarylandWest VirginiaOhioMichiganArizonaNevadaUtahColoradoNew MexicoSouth DakotaIowaIndianaIllinoisMinnesotaWisconsinMissouriLouisianaVirginiaDCWashington DCIdahoCaliforniaNorth DakotaWashingtonOregonMontanaWyomingNebraskaKansasOklahomaPennsylvaniaKentuckyMississippiArkansasTexas
View Rates

Fans waited hours in online queues for the chance to get Eras tickets, many of which reportedly went to scalpers who sold them on secondary websites for thousands of dollars. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle threw support behind the fan push for the government to act, stating that the entertainment conglomerate is too big and too powerful.

After investigating the company for more than two years, the Department of Justice is asking the court to force the sale of Ticketmaster and require additional relief to address the alleged harm.

“It is time to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement Thursday.

Who's to blame for expensive concert tickets?

The DOJ's lawsuit, which 29 states joined, alleges that Live Nation's exclusive contracts with venues for ticketing lead to higher prices for consumers. The complaint also mentions other alleged anti-competitive practices, like restricting musicians' access to venues unless they use Live Nation's promotion services.

“We allege that Live Nation relies on unlawful, anti-competitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States at the cost of fans, artists, smaller promoters and venue operators,” Garland said in the statement.

For its part, Live Nation is pushing back against the allegation that it has violated antitrust laws. Responding to the lawsuit Thursday, the company said it's not at fault for expensive tickets.

The DOJ complaint "blames concert promoters and ticketing companies — neither of which control ticket prices — for high ticket prices," Dan Wall, Live Nation's executive vice president for corporate and regulatory affairs, said in a statement. "It ignores everything that is actually responsible for higher ticket prices, from increasing production costs to artist popularity, to 24/7 online ticket scalping that reveals the public’s willingness to pay far more than primary tickets cost."

Live Nation and Ticketmaster used to be competing companies in the entertainment space until they merged in 2010. Live Nation had been primarily a concert promotion company, but the Ticketmaster acquisition gave it more power in ticketing: According to the Justice Department's complaint, "through Ticketmaster, Live Nation controls roughly 80% or more of major concert venues’ primary ticketing for concerts and a growing share of ticket resales in the secondary market."

Live Nation manages over 400 artists and owns about 265 U.S. venues, according to the complaint. In many cases, the company owns the venue where a concert is held, it books the artist, and it sells all the tickets.

The Department of Justice says this needs to change so other companies can compete. With more competition, the theory goes, comes lower prices.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer

Digital Travel Insurance

  • Cancel for any reason available
  • Includes emergency medical expenses
  • Quick claims & reimbursements in App with 24/7 support
  • Includes trip cancellation, baggage delay/loss, and flight delays

Largest selection of policies with Covid-19 coverage

  • Largest selection of 100+ policies
  • Award-winning customer service with an A+ BBB rating
  • Reviewed by 47,691 customers with an average rating of 5 stars
  • Coverage for trip cancellation/interruption, travel delay, medical emergency & evacuation and pre-existing conditions

'Cancel for any reason' policy available

  • Coverage for trip cancelations, interruptions, medical emergencies, and more
  • Lost, stolen, damaged, or delayed baggage costs
  • 'Cancel for any reason' policy available
  • Travel Accident Insurance for non-US citizens

Pre-Existing Conditions coverage available

  • 28 covered reasons for trip cancellation/trip interruption
  • Customizable standard & comprehensive coverages
  • Up to $1MM for emergency medical evacuation
  • Pre-existing conditions and cancel for any reason coverage available

Quote, compare and buy in a few minutes

Best Price Guarantee By Comparing Top Policies In A Single Platform

  • Buy online and get instant coverage by email
  • 24/7 emergency assistance worldwide
  • Policies from trusted providers
  • Over 100,000 verified customers with 5-star reviews and $3.5 billion in protected trip costs
  • Includes coverage from theft, trip cancellations, baggage loss and delay, medical expenses for hospital treatments

More from Money:

17 Best Credit Cards of May 2024

Why Eating at Restaurants Is So Expensive Right Now

Travel Rewards Are Now an ‘Essential’ Part of Americans’ Vacation Budgets

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.Ad
Enjoy your trip worry-free with the help of Travel Insurance