AAI Calls Out Ticketmaster Monopoly on NPR’s 1A, Highlights Importance of a Break-up Remedy

AAI’s Diana Moss appeared on NPR’s 1A program: Does Ticketmaster have a monopoly on live events? on August 31, 2022. Moss discussed the harmful effects of the Live-Nation/Ticketmaster monopoly over live entertainment on competition and consumers. On the show, Moss pushed back on Live Nation’s claims that the firm has a low market share and highlighted the company’s practices that are designed to stifle competition. She also highlighted the missed opportunity for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to bring a monopolization or consummated merger challenge in early 2020 when it re-opened the 2010 consent decree. AAI wrote to the DOJ at that time, emphasizing that the vertical merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster was illegal and that evidence that the behemoth company has violated the terms of the decree dictated stronger action from the government. 

From the NPR 1A website:

“Bruce Springsteen built his reputation on being a man of the people. That’s part of why some of his fans were especially aghast at the ticket prices for his upcoming tour, which in some cases reached upwards of thousands of dollars each.

Dynamic pricing is the reason why. It’s a relatively new pricing system used by live events company Ticketmaster that sets prices based on demand. The more people waiting in line for tickets, the higher the prices go.

Bruce Springsteen, Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, and other popular artists have taken advantage of the system. It puts more money in their pockets rather than those of scalpers. But many fans aren’t happy with the ballooning costs. It’s the latest controversy surrounding the company, which has long attracted antitrust criticism.

Live Nation, Ticketmaster’s parent company, owns concert venues, promotes tours, and sells tickets. Some say that leaves little room for competition, hurting fans, artists, and the industry at large.

Is Live Nation a monopoly? Who would that hurt? And what’s being done to address the lack of competition?

Guests: Diana Moss, Economist and President, American Antitrust Institute; Gary Witt, CEO, Pabst Theater Group; James Skoufis, State Senator, New York (D-Hudson Valley); and Joe Berchtold President and CFO, Live Nation”