Julianna Perez is a first-year student at American University Washington College of Law working toward her JD. Julianna graduated from Villanova University with a BA in Political Science and a BA in Communications and previously worked in the public relations industry. Her interests include business law, antitrust law, and international law.
In January of this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee gathered for a hearing on Ticketmaster’s major blow-up in November during the launch of sales for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour. The hearing made headlines for its pop-culture subject but, more importantly, ignited questions about the risks of industry-monopolization and Ticketmaster’s alleged violation of its consent decree.
In the aftermath of the hearing, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Mn.) and Mike Lee (R-Ut.), drafted a bipartisan letter to the Department of Justice, urging the department to increase its investigation of Ticketmaster and Live Nation. The letter, addressed to Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division Jonathan Kanter and dated in late February, accused Live Nation of harming artists and fans with its monopoly power and violating the consent decree currently in place by the DOJ. The decree has been active since Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged in 2010, the Final Judgment of United States v. Ticketmaster Entertainment. Designed to “preserve and promote ticketing competition,” the decree “prohibits the company from retaliating against concert venues for using another ticketing company, threatening concert venues, or undertaking other specified actions against concert venues for ten years.” Klobuchar and Lee also said that a former DOJ lawyer testified at the January hearing and claimed that remedies from the 2010 conduct decree had failed and Live Nation still “has the power to silence market participants who fear its retaliation.”
In a previous letter dated November 2022, Senator Klobuchar, Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.), and Edward Markey (D-Ma.) argued that a mere investigation would accomplish nothing and urged the DOJ to consider unwinding the merger and breaking up the company in order to protect stakeholders and competitors from Live Nation’s anticompetitive behavior. The Department of Justice has been actively investigating Live Nation since late November, and the letter is the latest effort by Senators to push for more thorough investigations and consequences for antitrust violations. The disaster also prompted Taylor Swift fans to file a class-action lawsuit in L.A. County Superior Court against Ticketmaster and Live Nation, suing for fraud, misrepresentation, and antitrust violations.
Live Nation was previously under investigation in 2019 when the DOJ revealed the conglomerate had violated the retaliation provision of the consent decree. The DOJ ultimately extended the settlement until 2025 but filed a petition in U.S. District Court to modify the Final Judgment in the original settlement case to specify the language restricting Live Nation’s conduct. The amended modifications also included safeguards “to ensure Live Nation doesn’t punish venues that want to work with competing ticketers.”
The continuing bipartisan investigation of anticompetitive conduct from Live Nation is the latest in an ongoing movement by the government to establish more wide sweeping antitrust laws and increase enforcement of existing laws. Several proposed mega-mergers like that of Ticketmaster and Live Nation have also been blocked recently, including the proposed merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, blocked by a federal judge in November 2022 due to competition concerns.
At the State of the Union in early February, President Biden called on Congress to pass the Junk Fee Prevention Act to restrict four major junk fee groups that drive up prices, including excessive online entertainment ticket fees. In a briefing issued ahead of the President’s fourth competition council, President Biden explained the damaging effects of concentration within the ticketing and event space, directly citing Live Nation’s domination of having 80 partnerships with the top 100 arenas.
If the Junk Fee Prevention Act is passed, businesses involved in the ticketing and events space, Live Nation included, will be required to improve price transparency and eliminate excessive “service fees” typically included with online ticket purchases. Early in his administration, President Biden also issued an executive order promoting competition in the economy and warning of the risks of industry consolidation and threats to economic growth. Depending on the outcome of the DOJ’s investigation into Live Nation, undoing the merger could be the government’s most extreme step toward antitrust law regulation if the DOJ finds that Live Nation has once again violated the consent decree.
 See Mini Racker, What Happened During Congress’ Hearing on Ticketmaster and the Taylor Swift Concert Mess,
(Jan. 4, 2023), https://time.com/6249730/ticketmaster-taylor-swift-hearing-congress/.
 See Jem Aswad, Senators Call for U.S. Justice Department to Continue Examining Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s ‘Anticompetitive Conduct’ (Feb. 23, 2023) https://variety.com/2023/music/news/justice-department-live-nation-ticketmaster-anticompetitive-conduct-1235532519/.
 See Letter from Amy Klobuchar, Senator, and Mike Lee, Senator, to Jonathan Kander, Assistant Attorney General. (Feb. 22, 2023) (on file with the Office of Senator Klobuchar).
 United States v. Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc., et al., Case No. 1:10-cv-00139-RMC (July 30, 2010) (granting the Ticketmaster and LiveNation merger).
 Press Release, Department of Justice, Justice Department Will Move to Significantly Modify and Extend Consent Decree with Live Nation/Ticketmaster, (Dec. 19, 2019), https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-will-move-significantly-modify-and-extend-consent-decree-live.
 Letter from Amy Klobuchar, Senator, and Mike Lee, Senator, to Jonathan Kander, Assistant Attorney General. (Feb. 22, 2023) (on file with the Office of Senator Klobuchar).
 See Live Nation, Ticketmaster may need breakup, some senators say (Nov. 22, 2023), https://www.reuters.com/world/us/live-nation-ticketmaster-may-need-breakup-some-senators-say-2022-11-22/.
 See David McCabe, Ben Sisaro, Justice Dept. Is Said to Investigate Ticketmaster’s Parent Company (Jan. 24, 2023),
 See Rachel Treisman, Dozens of Taylor Swift fans sue Ticketmaster in the wake of its ticket sale fiasco (Dec. 6, 2022), https://www.npr.org/2022/12/06/1140968805/taylor-swift-fans-ticketmaster-lawsuit.
 See Press Release, Department of Justice, Justice Department Will Move to Significantly Modify and Extend Consent Decree with Live Nation/Ticketmaster (Dec. 19, 2019), https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-will-move-significantly-modify-and-extend-consent-decree-live.
 See Judge blocks Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster merger (Nov. 1, 2022), https://www.npr.org/2022/11/01/1133032238/judge-blocks-penguin-random-house-simon-schuster-merger.
 See Press Release, FACT SHEET: President Biden Highlights New Progress on His Competition Agenda (Feb. 1, 2023) (on file with White House).
 See Rebecca Deczynski, Junk Fee Prevention Act: Price Transparency Might Benefit Small Businesses (Feb. 21, 2023), https://www.inc.com/rebecca-deczynski/junk-fee-prevention-act-price-transparency-might-benefit-small-businesses.html
 See Press Release, Executive Order Promoting Competition in the American Economy (July 9, 2021) (on file with White House).