Statement from Consumer Federation of California Executive Director Robert Herrell on the federal DOJ antitrust lawsuit against the Live Nation/Ticketmaster monopoly:

The Consumer Federation of California (CFC) applauds the federal Department of Justice for its comprehensive and devastating federal antitrust lawsuit against the Live Nation/Ticketmaster monopoly alleging a myriad of anti-competitive and anti-consumer actions. CFC also thanks the 30 State Attorneys General, including California AG Rob Bonta, for working with AG Garland and his team on the antitrust lawsuit.

When AGs from Texas, Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia, to just name a few, agree with the US and CA AGs that the behavior of Live Nation/Ticketmaster is monopolistic and horribly anti-consumer, you know a marketplace is truly broken due to monopolistic practices, as is currently the case with our live entertainment market, including sports.

The lawsuit asserts that the monopoly:

  • Gouges consumers with what the lawsuit calls the “Ticketmaster tax” that includes “service” fees, “convenience” fees, “Platinum” fees, “VIP” fees, “per order” fees, “handling” fees, “payment processing” fees, “facility” fees, and many other fees collected from fans and consumers which help line the pockets of the Live Nation/Ticketmaster monopoly;
  • Colludes with former competitors turned partners;
  • Retaliates against potential entrants into the marketplace
  • Acquires competitors and competitive threats (a la Facebook w/ Instagram and WhatsApp)
  • Threatens and retaliates against venues that work with rivals
  • Locks out competition with exclusionary contracts
  • Blocks venues from using multiple ticketers
  • Restricts artists’ access to venues
  • Undermines innovation

Live Nation/Ticketmaster should be broken up. But the replacement shouldn’t be just a number of regionally anti-competitive anti-consumer entities; the replacement should be a marketplace where consumers and fans actually matter and true competition, not the faux competition the monopoly gives lip service to, exists. Consumers should come first, not last.

California should have been leading the way to protect consumers and fans in this area, as CFC has been asserting for years. Instead, we have been lagging behind. That’s why CFC has taken the lead on legislation to crack down on the monopoly. Now is the time for Governor Newsom and the Legislature to act decisively in this area to actively help consumers and crack down on the monopoly. Anything less would be consumer and political malpractice.

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