The Department of Justice is investigating Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation Entertainment over antitrust concerns, The New York Times reported Friday. Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010 but have come under scrutiny for largely dominating the live event ticket sales market. Ticketmaster has received renewed attention after it dropped the ball with Taylor Swift ticket sales this week.
The DOJ has reached out to venues and “players in the ticket market” in recent months to ask about the company’s practices, according to the NYT, meaning the probe predates this week’s debacle. DOJ spokesperson Arlen Morales declined to comment.
Live Nation issued a response to antitrust concerns in a post on its website and argues that its practices aren’t anticompetitive. “The Department of Justice itself recognized the competitive nature of the concert promotion business at the time of the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger,” the post reads. “That dynamic has not changed.”
Many government officials have Live Nation and Ticketmaster in their sights as well. The attorneys general of North Carolina and Tennessee are each investigating Ticketmaster. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the chair of the Senate subcommittee on competition policy, antitrust, and consumer rights, wrote a letter to Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino (pdf) on Wednesday expressing “serious concerns” about competition in the ticketing industry. And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted Tuesday that “Ticketmaster is a monopoly” and called for it and Live Nation to be broken up.
Swift issued a statement about the ticket situation on Friday, and she didn’t mince words. On Thursday, Ticketmaster posted an explanation for why it crashed during the presale. While it yanked its original post, it has since reposted the explanation with some minor changes.
Update, November 19th 11:58AM ET: Updated to add a response from Ticketmaster on its website.