Senate Judiciary Committee to DOJ: Break Up Ticketmaster
Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s first hearing of the 118th Congress was a clear-eyed, bipartisan rejection of Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s monopoly power and abuse. Zeroing in on the many ways Live Nation-Ticketmaster exploits its dominance to harm artists, venues, promoters, and consumers, the hearing offered overwhelming evidence to support the reported investigation underway at the Department of Justice.
Key commentary from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee is excerpted below.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT): “Mr. Berchtold, I want to congratulate and thank you for an absolutely stunning achievement. You have brought together Republicans and Democrats in a unified cause…Live Nation-Ticketmaster is the 800lbs gorilla here. You have clear dominance, monopolistic control. This whole concert ticket system is a mess, it’s a monopolistic mess.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT): “If the Department of Justice establishes a violation of the consent decree, unwinding the merger ought to be on the table. If the DOJ establishes facts that involve monopolistic and predatory abuses, there ought to be structural remedies, such as breaking up the company.”
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX): “So whether or not you actually own the venue, you have effective influence — and in some cases, outright control — over what the venue charges as the ticket price.”
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): “The ticketing and live entertainment markets lack competition and are dominated by a single entity, Live Nation…In the decade plus since the [Live Nation-Ticketmaster] merger, Live Nation has consolidated its dominant position in the ticketing and live event markets, and the result is a competition-killing strategy that has left artists and fans paying the price.”
Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC): “I think this hearing today represents the best of the committee…I think the big theme here today is that consolidation of power in the hands of a few can create problems for the many.”
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO): “You are using your monopoly on the front end to create a monopoly in the resale market where you’re forcing everyone on the resale market to come into your ecosystem…This is how monopolies work. You leverage market power in one market to get market power in another market and it looks like you’re doing that in multiple markets.”
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN): “Live Nation-Ticketmaster is so powerful that it doesn’t even need to exert pressure, it doesn’t need to threaten, because people just fall in line.”
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN): “Today, 87% of NBA teams, 87.5% of NHL teams, and 93% of NFL teams have exclusive ticketing agreements with Ticketmaster. In 2020, DOJ confirmed that Ticketmaster has been the largest primary ticketing service provider for major concert venues in the US for at least three decades. I just want to dispel the notion that this is not a monopoly.”
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT): “It’s very important that we maintain fair, free, open and even fierce competition in this and every other space. When there’s competition, it does two things: it increases quality and it reduces price.”
In October 2022, the American Economic Liberties Project and 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. Through the Taylor Swift Eras Tour ticket meltdown to Bad Bunny’s fake ticket fiasco, the coalition has directed fans to learn how Ticketmaster’s monopoly power plays a significant role in undermining the vitality of live events and advocated for robust regulatory action to promote market competition.
The broad coalition of advocacy organizations includes American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), American Economic Liberties Project, Artist Rights Alliance, Consumer Federation of America, Demand Progress, Fan Freedom, Fight Corporate Monopolies, Future of Music Coalition, More Perfect Union, Music Workers Alliance, National Consumers League, Public Citizen, Sports Fans Coalition, Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, and Voters of Tomorrow.
Learn more about Economic Liberties here.
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.