Although the Live Nation merger with Ticket Master took place in 2010, on Monday, five representatives have signed a letter asking the Biden administration to look into the merger which they call a monopoly. They have addressed the letter to the Attorney General, Merrick Garland and the acting chair of the Federal Trade Commission, (FTC), and Rebecca Slaughter.
The letter said that there is overwhelming evidence that the 2010 merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster must be revisited as the two companies have combined together and have “strangled competition.” They mention that according to Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) 2018 report, more that 80 percent of the venue ticket sales market is captured by Live Nation Entertainment (LNE).
The letter also said that the FTC had held an important workshop in 2019 to examine LNE’s anticompetitive behavior. The letter adds that more could be done by the federal agency to investigate its anticompetitive actions that have also been reported by the media.
It mentioned how the Department of Justice (DOJ) had found that LNE has often violated terms of the agreement of the merger. The company had threatened venues and had “forced bundling of artists with ticketing services.” The letter said that the extension of the consent decree in 2019 to 2025 was insufficient and the DOJ should take steps to bring back competition.
They mentioned that the introduction of a “SafeTix” smart phone ticketing product was introduced ostensibly to reduce fraud but was unfairly used to resell or gift tickets under the Ticketmaster system.
It said that as the pandemic was subsiding, restrictions on live shows wouldn’t also be eased and the departments should take action before LNE starts dictating conditions when events returns center stage as would soon happen in New York and in New Jersey in the near future.
In conclusion, the representatives urge the FTC and the DOJ to protect the future of consumer’s access to live events by immediately starting an investigation into Live Nation Entertainment’s “potentially unfair,” “deceptive” and “anticompetitive practices.”
The five representatives who signed the letter are as follows:
- Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ-09)
- Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ-06)
- Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10)
- Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09)
- David Cicilline (D-RI-01)