Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, have been accused of effectively monopolizing the live music industry.
The Justice Department has launched an investigation into Live Nation following years of anti-trust complaints from across the live music industry.
According to The New York Times, the probe will broadly examine accusations of abuse against Live Nation Entertainment, a company formed after a 2010 merger with Ticketmaster. The claims range from the company wielding unmatched influence and power in the live music and ticketing industry to leveraging access to tours from their vast roster of more than 450 artists to effectively force venues to use Ticketmaster as their ticketing provider. Ironically enough, it was the Justice Department who approved the merger. But on the condition of Live Nation Entertainment selling off parts of the company and entering a decade-long agreement that forbade it from using its artists and their tours as bargaining chips for exclusivity deals with venues. That agreement was extended until 2025, but sources who spoke under the condition of anonymity claimed the company had violated the deal on multiple occasions between 2010 and 2020.
Though the accusations predate yesterday’s butchered, and eventually canceled, public sale of the wildly coveted tickets for Taylor Swift’s upcoming The Eras tour, the fumble perfectly demonstrated the danger of trusting one company to handle the volume of ticket sales an artist of Swift’s stature can spark. In preparation for an onslaught of ticket requests from bots, Ticketmaster invited 1.5 million of the 3.5 million people who requested early access to tickets to a pre-sale via an exclusive code and waitlisted the remaining 2 million customers. On the same day as the codes were distributed, the company received a staggering 3.5 billion requests for tickets, which crashed their site and left many unable to purchase their tickets even with the code.
For her part, Swift claims to be looking into Ticketmaster as well. In a statement on Instagram (read below,) the singer expressed her frustration with the company’s handling of the public sale. “There are a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets and I’m trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward,” Swift wrote. “I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could,” she added.
At the time of publication, reps from Live Nation and Ticketmaster, had yet to offer comment.