AAI Says DOJ Missed the Opportunity to Bust a Monopoly: Letter Unpacks Government’s Response to Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s Violations of the 2010 Merger Settlement

Today, AAI submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division regarding its recent enforcement action in U.S v. Ticketmaster Entertainment, Inc., and Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. The decade-old merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster melded together artist management, concert promotion, venue operation, and ticketing in a monolithic, multi-level supply chain in the live music business.

In January, the Antitrust Division submitted modifications to the 2010 settlement to the court in light of evidence that Live Nation-Ticketmaster has persistently violated it. The letter explains why AAI believes a far stronger enforcement response than modifying the failed conduct remedies contained in the 2010 settlement is warranted. Several factors support AAI’s conclusion that the government’s response does not address the failed remedies, and will not restore competition lost by the merger or deter further anticompetitive conduct by Live Nation-Ticketmaster. These factors include: the presumptive illegality of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger when it was originally proposed; evidence of persistent violations of the 2010 settlement; and the company’s ongoing exercise of market power over the last decade against ticket resellers.

The DOJ asked the court to forego public comment on the amended decree, which was entered without meaningful review under the procedures outlined in the Antitrust Procedures and Penalties Act (Tunney Act). Given the serious implications of this matter for merger enforcement and for protecting competition and consumers, AAI notes its disappointment that the public was not given the opportunity to comment.