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Justice Department to announce lawsuit against Live Nation over ticket prices: Sources

In this April 17, 2024, file photo, the Live Nation website is shown on a laptop in New York. (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department and a group of state attorneys general are expected to announce an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation as soon as Thursday over Ticketmaster’s dominance over the concert ticket sales market, two sources familiar with the matter told ABC News on Wednesday.

Details of the pending lawsuit were not immediately clear.

The Justice Department’s antitrust suit follows a more than two-year investigation that probed whether the company created a monopoly over the concert ticket market through its exclusive contracts with venues.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the investigation. Live Nation did not immediately comment about the probe.

The Washington Post and Bloomberg first reported news of the expected lawsuit.

The company has come under increased scrutiny since late 2022 following a fiasco over pre-sales for Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour.”

Ticketmaster, which controls more than 70% of the market for ticketing and live events, crashed during the first day of sales, leaving millions of fans out of luck or seeking higher-priced tickets on the secondary market.

A StubHub secondary ticket for the show sold as high as $22,000.

Live Nation acknowledged the issues over the presales and said high demand for the show, technical issues and bots were behind it. The company said that every customer with a “Verified Fan” code was able to purchase an “Eras Tour” ticket.

Swift addressed the incident, without naming Live Nation or Ticketmaster, and chastised the system.

“It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse,” Swift said in a statement.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation have been accused of mistreating customers with speculative ticket sales, deceptive websites and large hidden fees ever since they merged in 2010.

In 2019, the company paid fines pertaining to the company violating the agreed-upon terms of a Justice Department consent decree during the final merger.

Swift fans have filed a lawsuit against Live Nation over the Eras Tour debacle contending that the company violated antitrust laws and deceived customers.

In January 2023, Joe Berchtold, Live Nation’s president and CFO, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was grilled by members of both sides of the aisle over these issues.

Berchtold apologized for the fiasco and blamed ticket scalping as the cause behind it.

“There are problems in the ticketing industry — problems that we believe can and should be addressed through legislation,” he said.

Last June, representatives from Live Nation met with President Joe Biden and later announced “upfront all-in” pricing that discloses fees when a consumer is shopping for a ticket.

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