Citing, “serious concerns that online ticket markets are not working for American consumers,” Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn are asking the Department of Justice to investigate the ticketing industry. During a Senate Judiciary Committee markup meeting on Capitol Hill, Senators raised concern about a company we should all be familiar with: Live Nation Entertainment. In 2009, Live Nation merged with major competitor, Ticketmaster, further consolidating their presence in the market. Even then their merger was controversial, with activists and performers protesting the reduced competition. Bruce Springsteen would be one such vocal opponent.
Both companies are no stranger to scrutiny for engaging in bad practices. Just recently, a Live Nation executive has embroiled the company in a scalping scandal. Ticketmaster would apparently have an entire department dedicated to the practice. As a condition for the approval of the merger, the concert promoter operates under a DOJ Consent Decree that bars Live Nation from withholding concerts and tours from venues that don’t use Ticketmaster, or retaliating against them when they go with a competitor. The consent decree is set to expire in July of 2020. The aforementioned Senators have stated in their letter that the consent decree has been criticized as ineffective and that Live Nation Entertainment has been circumventing its conditions. They will also recommend that the consent decree be extended past 2020, a suggestion that would likely be unpopular at the Beverly Hills headquarters.