The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking into accusations that live music promoters Live Nation are attempting to monopolise the live music and ticketing industry with alleged threats to venues.
As the New York Times report, there are concerns that the company, which also operates here and is an owner of Splendour In The Grass and Falls Festival, alongside its subsidiary Ticketmaster have been violating antitrust law.
When Live Nation merged with Ticketmaster in 2010 there were already concerns that they would crush competition and one of their direct competitors AEG is now saying that they’re attempting to do so with foul play.
AEG has accused Live Nation and Ticketmaster of telling numerous venues, “they would lose valuable shows if Ticketmaster was not used as a vendor.”
Atlanta venue the Gwinnett Centre’s booking manager Dan Markham claims that Live Nation bypassed the venue during a 2013 Matchbox 20 tour because they were not using Ticketmaster but an AEG‘s service AXS instead..
The next year Live Nation halved the number of shows it booked at the venue. Live Nation, however, deny that it was due to the ticketing deal with AXS.
Ticketmaster President Jared Smith has refuted the AEG‘s claims in a statement writing, “It is absolutely against Live Nation and Ticketmaster policy to threaten venues that they won’t get any Live Nation shows if they don’t use Ticketmaster.”
He also noted that the industry is, “far more competitive than ever,”
Following the NYT report Live Nation stocks fell by 13 per cent which equates to about $USD1.1 billion in value, as Billboard point out.
In Australia, Live Nation faced heavy backlashed when it leased Melbourne venue the Palais Theatre.
At the time Chugg Entertainment‘s Michael Chugg said, “When you book a venue for a concert they want to know who the act is. So you will be in a situation where you are telling a rival who the act is before that act is booked. And that rival will be running the venue.”
There were also concerns when Live Nation bought Splendour In The Grass and Falls Festival that it would result in the festival using Ticketmaster as its ticketing platform. That is yet to happen.