Break Up Ticketmaster Coalition Celebrates DOJ Suit Against Live Nation-Ticketmaster

May 24, 2024 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — In response to news that the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit to break Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s monopoly power and return competition to the live events industry, members of the Break Up Ticketmaster coalition—which mobilized 100,000+ Americans to urge the DOJ to file this suit—released the following statements.

“Today is a historic, long-awaited day for fans, artists, and independent businesses in the live events industry—the Department of Justice is officially seeking to break up one of America’s most infamous monopolies,” said Morgan Harper, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the American Economic Liberties Project. “For far too long, Live Nation-Ticketmaster has acted as the mafia boss of the live events industry — using its power to rip off fans with sky-high prices and junk fees, exploit musicians and artists, and bully workers and small business owners in the industry. Since 2022, we’ve been urging the government to take action to stop the obvious abuses of this cartoonishly-villainous monopoly—mobilizing the 100,000-plus Americans who sent letters to the Department of Justice through our Break Up Ticketmaster coalition. Today, Jonathan Kanter and the DOJ Antitrust answered those calls to action.“

“The biggest victory today isn’t just that the DOJ is suing to break up Live Nation, but that they’re doing it specifically ‘to restore competition for the benefit of fans and artists,’” said Kevin Erickson, Director of the Future of Music Coalition. “For far too long, the voices of musicians were ignored or sidelined in policy conversations about our own industry, and this has been a key reason why the dysfunction has grown and problems remained unaddressed until now. AAG Kanter’s leadership in centering the lived experience of artists and fans in antimonopoly analysis offers an example of a path forward. This lawsuit is a testament to the courage of musicians, independent venues, promoters, booking agents, and managers who’ve shared their experiences with the Department of Justice; we hope their example helps others to speak out and challenge predatory behaviors and extractive business models propagated by massive corporations in all parts of live music.”

“United Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) applauds the Department of Justice for filing a comprehensive antitrust lawsuit against Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, for its illegal monopoly over live events in the U.S.,” United Musicians and Allied Workers said in a statement. “Artists and their fans have continued to struggle as Live Nation squeezes out every ounce of profit available, making it impossible for artists to earn a fair wage and infeasible for fans to afford tickets. This is an important step towards establishing a sustainable live music industry where all music workers are paid fairly. UMAW thanks Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter for his leadership on this issue, and for continuing to center artists and fans

“In 2010, the Department of Justice decided that allowing Ticketmaster to swallow up its largest competitor could be a net positive for live event fans. The last fourteen years have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that the DOJ’s bet was dead wrong. Today’s action begins the long-overdue process of correcting that error and upholding the law,” said John Breyault, National Consumers League Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications & Fraud. “We will be closely monitoring this case to ensure that the result this time is a fairer and more competitive industry for fans and all the stakeholders in the success of live events.”

“Sports Fans Coalition has called for the break up of Live Nation/Ticketmaster for many years. Today’s landmark lawsuit answers that call,” said Brian Hess, Executive Director of the Sports Fans Coalition. “The harms the DOJ has identified affect sports and concert fans alike, especially as a result of Ticketmaster’s ‘data supremacy’ scheme known as SafeTix, which makes it difficult for fans to freely transfer their tickets and puts these fans at risk for retaliation at the gate by denying them access. We applaud Assistant Attorney General Kanter and the 30 other state attorneys general for standing up for sports fans across the country and taking this important action.”

“This is a pivotal moment for antitrust enforcement as the Department of Justice takes on a monopoly that has directly hit millions of Americans in the pocketbook,” said Demand Progress Corporate Power Director Emily Peterson-Cassin. “Anyone who has bought a ticket from Ticketmaster or performed at a Live Nation venue knows firsthand what it’s like when a middleman inflates prices to maximize profits. This is precisely why tens of thousands of our activists have signed a petition to break up Live Nation-Ticketmaster, and why we’ll be rooting for the suit to move quickly.”

“The Artist Rights Alliance applauds DOJ for taking this strong action to address Live Nation’s monopolistic practices,” said Jen Jacobsen, ARA’s Executive Director. “Live Nation’s market dominance has led to a marketplace where skyrocketing ticket prices, hidden fees, and illegal BOTS prevent fans from seeing their favorite artists. DOJ’s effort to ensure healthy competition, along with pending legislation to curb the predatory practices of secondary ticket sellers, will significantly improve the live concert experience for artists and fans alike.”

“Jonathan Kanter and the Antitrust Division’s case reflects a deep understanding of how Live Nation’s various business lines reinforce its monopoly power not just over the selling of tickets, but over large venues and concert promotions,” said Lee Hepner, Senior Legal Counsel at the American Economic Liberties Project. “Live Nation’s pattern of retaliation against independent venues and promoters is supplemented by evidence of market splitting to avoid competition and depress compensation for artists. At the end of the day, consumers are paying more, artists are making less, and Live Nation is walking away with the bag. The companies should, at a minimum, be broken up.”

“We applaud the Department of Justice for taking this vital step to protect artists and consumers and realize that there is a long road ahead to see it through. We also recognize that the policy failures that led to Ticketmaster’s illegal monopoly aren’t limited to the live event industry,” said Stephanie Aly, Head of Communications & Media at Vigilante Media. “Tens of thousands of fans have built on decades of organizing efforts to help bring about this change. Every person who shared their Ticketmaster experience with us, contacted government officials, posted information online, or signed up to volunteer played a role in this victory. Fans are paying more attention than ever to issues impacting the entertainment industry and we look forward to continuing our work to help them realize their collective power.”

The 2010 merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster combined the nation’s largest concert promoter, venue operator, and artist manager with the nation’s largest ticketing service. The merged firm proceeded to leverage its control over each layer of the live event industry to block competitors to any part of its empire and self-deal at the expense of artists, independent venues, and fans—for example, by threatening to boycott venues for tours unless they used Ticketmaster. The Justice Department describes the integration of Live Nation’s various business lines as a “self-reinforcing ‘flywheel,’” allowing it to impose a litany of fees that it calls a “Ticketmaster Tax.”

Although these behaviors clearly violated the court-ordered consent decree Live Nation submitted to at the time of the merger, the Obama and Trump administrations punted on opportunities to implement stronger remedies, allowing Live Nation’s anti-competitive and illegal behavior to continue into the present. Many fans reached a breaking point over eye-popping monopoly prices for Taylor Swift’s Eras tour in the fall of 2022 (as the company reported record profits), leading to calls for the Justice Department to take action once again.

The Antitrust Division’s new suit challenges and proposes structural remedies to curtail Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s monopoly power business lines: ticket selling, concert promotion, venue ownership, and more. Similar to remedies Economic Liberties called for in a January 2024 legal brief, the suit orders, at a minimum, the divestiture of Ticketmaster, along with termination of Live Nation’s ticketing agreement with Oak View Group, enjoining Live Nation from continuing to engage in anticompetitive practices, and other structural relief to restore competition to the live events market.

In October 2022, a broad coalition of allies launched #BreakUpTicketmaster, a campaign to urge the Department of Justice to investigate and unwind the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger of 2010. So far, the Break Up Ticketmaster Coalition has organized over 100K concerned fans, artists, and independent venue owners that want to break Ticketmaster’s power over live events ticketing, artist promotion, and venue ownership.

Learn more about the Break Up Ticketmaster Coalition here.


The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.