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US senators want justice department review of competition in the American ticketing market

By | Published on Wednesday 28 August 2019

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Two US senators have called on the country’s Department Of Justice to investigate the ticketing market and whether there are any competition issues with the way the American ticketing business is currently structured. Which is basically code for “is Live Nation’s Ticketmaster too damn dominant?”

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar do specifically mention Live Nation in their letter to Makan Delrahim, who is Assistant Attorney General for the anti-trust division of the justice department.

In particular, they talk about the consent decree that Live Nation agreed with the DoJ when it merged with Ticketmaster back in 2010. That consent decree aimed to counter competition concerns raised in relation to a deal that brought the prolific tour promoter and venue operator into common ownership with the market-leading ticketing platform.

Live Nation’s critics have argued that that consent decree has proven pretty ineffective in stopping the live giant from exploiting its market dominance. Some have also accused Live Nation of not being fully compliant with the agreement. But the consent decree is due to expire next year anyway. Blumenthal and Klobuchar think it should probably be kept in place.

Hence why they want Delrahim to investigate competition in the ticketing market now, including looking at the effectiveness of the Live Nation consent decree and whether it should be extended beyond July 2020. According to Billboard, Blumenthal says the justice department should also consider “the effects of past consolidation and an assessment of how the available anti-trust enforcement tools may be used to help restore competition”.

Possible new regulation of the ticketing market Stateside is very much on the agenda in Washington at the moment. Blumenthal is also among those backing congressman Bill Pascrell in his latest attempt to introduce new federal laws in the US that would provide new regulation of both the primary and secondary ticketing markets.