New Evidence Exposes Another Way Live Nation-Ticketmaster Exploits Conflicts of Interest to Rake in Cash

March 29, 2024 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — In response to a 2019 report released yesterday revealing new evidence of Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s abuse of monopoly power through the use of rebate schemes, the Break Up Ticketmaster Coalition released the following statement.

“The documents unearthed by Representative Pascrell reveal a previously-unknown tactic by which Live Nation has issued itself ‘rebates’ to inflate its own profits while hiding revenue from artists, promoters and independent venues,” The Break Up Ticketmaster Coalition said in a statement. “It should be clear that Live Nation’s monopoly power extends far beyond ticket prices and junk fees and is hobbling the entire live events industry.”

“These records also provide further evidence of Live Nation’s pattern of dirty legal tricks, including refusing to comply with Congressional records requests and using confidentiality orders to prevent public awareness and expert analysis of its rebate scheme,” the Coalition added. “The only reasonable inference is that Live Nation knows its behavior is highly problematic and is buying itself extra time – and stashing away extra profits – before regulators and enforcers take action.”

How Live Nation’s Rebate Scheme Works

According to the expert analysis unearthed by Rep. Pascrell, Live Nation unilaterally enters into agreements with outside vendors that set key costs associated with producing live events, including venue rental costs. Live Nation is incentivized to set those costs at a higher rate, which results in higher receipts for the vendor, in exchange for a “rebate” from the vendor that Live Nation receives exclusively. Meanwhile, Live Nation passes through those higher costs onto artists, agents, managers, and event co-promoters. Though many in the industry may deploy these tactics, Live Nation’s market power and status as a public company make this conduct particularly egregious. Live Nation has concealed its exclusive financial gains from all of its other partners, including co-promoters and artists, enjoying 100% of the benefit while saddling them with material costs. Live Nation then reports to these other parties that the event resulted in a “loss” or “very low profit,” while quietly keeping a higher profit only discernible on internal documents that reflects Live Nation’s undisclosed rebate. Because the rebate is categorized by Live Nation as “ancillary income,” it is not subject to the customary 50-50 split of expenses and revenue with co-promoters.

“Live Nation is gaming the market to project revenue losses onto its business partners, which can result in financial ruin, while padding its own profits,” said Morgan Harper, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the American Economic Liberties Project. “This predatory business tactic should be of acute interest to the Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation into Live Nation. It adds further credence to the calls from fans, artists, promoters and venue owners to break up Live Nation’s middleman monopoly.”

“Representative Pascrell’s report further demonstrates the underhanded and anticompetitive practices Live Nation/Ticketmaster regularly employs to inflate their bottom line,” said Brian Hess, Executive Director, Sport Fans Coalition. “It’s well past time for the DOJ to bring their case. We only have about a year until Live Nation’s extended consent decree expires, yet we know from reports like this Live Nation/Ticketmaster have violated it time and time again. The only remedy fans should accept at this point is a break up. We hope this report will further encourage the DOJ to finally bring their rumored lawsuit.”

The expert report surfaced by Rep. Bill Pascrell was originally filed in 2019 in the context of private litigation in a New Jersey federal court. Live Nation successfully struck the expert report from the record in that case on the basis that underlying records were subject to a confidentiality order (which the plaintiffs in that case disputed.) Representative Pascrell is now urging Senator Richard Blumenthal, Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Investigation, to use the documents in the context of its inquiry into Live Nation’s abusive practices.

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. In November 2022, the Department of Justice opened an investigation into Live Nation for potential antitrust violations and violations of a long-standing consent decree. In February 2024, the Department of Justice reportedly issued new information requests in its antitrust probe of Live Nation amid concerns that Live Nation was not cooperating with previous requests.

Learn more about the Break Up Ticketmaster Coalition here.

Learn more about Economic Liberties 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.