Sen. Amy Klobuchar Slams ‘Broken Ticket Industry’ as Justice Department Prepares Legal Action Against Live Nation

Senator Amy Klobuchar Slams 'Broken Ticket Industry' as Live Nation Investigation Begins
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Senator Amy Klobuchar Slams 'Broken Ticket Industry' as Live Nation Investigation Begins
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Official U.S. government portrait of Sen. Amy Klobuchar

As the U.S. Justice Department prepares to take legal action against Live Nation, U.S. Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) attacked what she called a “broken ticketing industry.” In a Twitter post that referenced our earlier article about how the Justice Department plans to seek a legal remedy to force Live Nation to follow the consent decree that they agreed to a decade ago (and possibly extend it), Sen. Klobuchar wrote: “Americans purchase millions of tickets each year and shouldn’t be forced to pay sky-high prices because of unchecked consolidation in a broken ticketing industry. I’ve called for accountability and I’m glad it’s happening.”

This is not the first time that Sen. Klobuchar has called out Live Nation for their alleged practices. Back in August, she and fellow senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote a five-page letter to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, who runs the Justice Department’s antitrust division, calling on him to investigate Live Nation for possible anti-competitive practices and to extend the consent decree.

It would seem that — even in this environment of hyper-partisanship — President Trump’s Justice Department was in concurrence with the two senators, as they got exactly what they wanted. According to Billboard, the Justice Department has identified five separate violations of the consent decree by Live Nation. They relate to the company threatening — either directly or indirectly — to withhold tours from certain venues if these venues did not renew their contracts with Ticketmaster.

If true, this would be a definitive violation of the consent decree, which specifically forbids Live Nation from threatening or retaliating against venues that choose not to use Ticketmaster. The Justice Department is reportedly also looking into complaints that Ticketmaster is attempting to control the secondary ticketing market in an anti-competitive manner.

The consent decree in question was agreed to by Live Nation and Ticketmaster back in 2010, when the two companies merged. The decree was put in place to prevent the new entity from using its market power to engage in anti-competitive practices. Among other things, the decree forbids Live Nation from retaliating against venues that choose to use other ticketing providers.

It’s worth noting that the Justice Department has not yet filed any legal action against Live Nation, so it remains to be seen what the ultimate outcome of this situation will be. However, if the Justice Department is successful in its efforts to force Live Nation to comply with the consent decree, it could have significant implications for the ticketing industry as a whole.

For one thing, it could lead to increased competition in the ticketing space. If Live Nation is forced to play by the same rules as its competitors, it may no longer be able to use its market power to force venues to use Ticketmaster. This, in turn, could lead to increased competition among ticketing providers, which could ultimately result in lower prices for consumers.

Additionally, if the Justice Department is successful in its efforts to crack down on anti-competitive practices in the ticketing industry, it could have broader implications for antitrust enforcement more generally. Antitrust enforcement has been a hot topic in recent years, with some arguing that the government has not been aggressive enough in its efforts to prevent anti-competitive behavior.

Overall, it’s clear that the ticketing industry is in need of reform. With unchecked consolidation and anti-competitive practices running rampant, it’s no wonder that consumers are fed up with sky-high prices and limited options. Whether or not the Justice Department’s efforts will be successful remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.