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DOJ, Colorado Attorney General and others sue Live Nation, alleging 'illegal monopoly'

Among those calling the presale event a flop, was Joe Akmakjian, a Denver resident, who was among the first to sue Ticketmaster after the rollout.
Posted at 4:32 PM, May 23, 2024

DENVER — The United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Thursday to try and break up Live Nation, the parent company of Ticketmaster, over what it is calling a violation of antitrust laws.

The Department of Justice alleges Live Nation has displayed a blatant example of a monopoly. Thirty Attorneys General across the country agree with the DOJ, including Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.

"If you want to go to a concert there's generally no other option because all these arenas all across the U.S., not just here in Colorado, have exclusive deals with Live Nation, Ticketmaster," Attorney General Weiser said. "If those arenas threatened to go to a rival upstart ticketing service, they're told, you may pay the price and we'll send concerts to your rivals, that's led to a stranglehold in this marketplace."

"These ticketing fees have gone up and up and up, consumers are paying all sorts of fees, both in the primary market also secondary if they try to sell their tickets," the attorney general said.

In 2022, the DOJ launched an investigation into Live Nation after what many called a 'botched' ticket sale rollout for Taylor Swift's the 'Era's Tour'.

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Among those calling the presale event a flop, was Joe Akmakjian, a Denver resident, who was among the first to sue Ticketmaster after the rollout.

"It's really opened my eyes to how corrupt some industries are," Akmakjian said.

Akmakjian said he heard about the DOJ's lawsuit against Live Nation first thing Thursday morning, immediately checking in with attorneys leading his lawsuit.

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Taylor Swift fans sue Ticketmaster after botched rollout of concert tickets

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"I never imagined what that would turn into years later," he said.

He told Denver7 he and others decided to file their lawsuit in December of 2022 for the same reasons the DOJ is now suing Live Nation.

"They own the venue's they have them under very predatory contracts. They own the artists they own, you know, the ticket sales, they own all of it, the promotion," Akmakjian said. "At some point, they need to be stopped. Because where does it end? You know?"

Live Nation's Executive Vice President of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Dan Wall, took to the company's website saying in part, the following.

It is also absurd to claim that Live Nation and Ticketmaster are wielding monopoly power. The defining feature of a monopolist is monopoly profits derived from monopoly pricing. Live Nation in no way fits the profile. Service charges on Ticketmaster are no higher than elsewhere, and frequently lower. And even accounting for sponsorship, an advertising business that helps keep ticket prices down, the company’s overall net profit margin is at the low end of profitable S&P 500 companies.

Akmakjian added his intention to sue Live Nation wasn't rooted in wanting tickets to Taylor Swift's Eras Tour, instead in a fair chance to get those tickets, which he felt he and others didn't have.

"The presale just went so poorly," he said. "They provided codes to millions of more people, millions more people than they had the ability to manage in their queue."

For Akmakjian and dozens of attorneys general in the U.S., this lawsuit is an opportunity to potentially break up Live Nation and Ticketmaster, in turn giving concertgoers across the country more options when buying tickets, and more transparency.

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