The DOJ Can and Should Break Up Live Nation-Ticketmaster Monopoly to Save Live Events, New Brief Reveals

January 4, 2024 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — A year after the launch of the #BreakUpTicketmaster campaign and with a reported investigation into Live Nation-Ticketmaster by the Department of Justice, the American Economic Liberties Project today released a new policy and legal brief, ”The Case Against Live Nation-Ticketmaster,” to provide a roadmap to finally rein in this monopoly amid renewed scrutiny. The brief also comes alongside a new video from the #BreakUpTicketmaster Coalition to recap the movement’s grassroots momentum in the year since its creation.

“With an investigation of Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s anticompetitive and monopolistic practices already underway, there are a number of legal options the Justice Department can use to finally return competition to the live events industry,” said Katherine Van Dyck, Senior Counsel at the American Economic Liberties Project. “A toothless consent decree and lax oversight have allowed Live Nation-Ticketmaster to become a caricature of monopoly power, strong-arming venues and artists and ripping off fans on its way to record profits. The solution is clear: the Justice Department must pursue the divestment of not just Ticketmaster but also Live Nation’s venue operations, concert promotions, and artist management businesses into independent entities, so that it can no longer leverage its monopoly power to freeze out competitors from any part of its empire.”

“In the case of Live Nation-Ticketmaster, the obvious remedy is the best remedy: break it up” added Lee Hepner, Legal Counsel at the American Economic Liberties Project. “Live Nation controls each layer of the live events industry—we won’t see true competition in any of those markets until each of those layers is separated and measures are put in place to prevent exclusive dealing. While critics might say it’s impossible to unscramble eggs, there is ample precedent for successful breakups, as well as unique factors—such as the fact that Live Nation and Ticketmaster remain incorporated separately and have kept their distinct branding—that can make a break up clean in this case. There is no reason the Justice Department can’t step up to break the grip of this monopoly on artists, venues, and fans.”

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 unless they used Ticketmaster. Although these behaviors clearly violated the court-ordered consent decree Live Nation submitted to at the time of the merger, the government has 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.

It argues the Justice Department must pursue full divestment of Ticketmaster and its critical software and intangible assets, as well as the spinning off of Live Nation’s other core businesses into independent entities. Additionally, these structural remedies must be reinforced by behavioral remedies, such as ending Ticketmaster’s venue exclusivity agreements and restricting Live Nation’s re-entry into ticketing. Finally, the brief lays out the specifics of the Justice Department’s legal options for instituting these improved remedies, from requesting a modification of the consent decree to filing a new lawsuit alleging violations of the Sherman Act.

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. The Break Up Ticketmaster Coalition has since 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.

Read “The Case Against Live Nation-Ticketmaster.”

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.