The US Justice Department is investigating Ticketmaster and Live Nation Entertainment to determine whether an abuse of power has occurred in the live music industry.
The New York Times reports that this investigation was already underway before Ticketmaster began making headlines for botching Taylor Swift’s concert ticket sales.
According to the news outlet, antitrust investigators have anonymously spoken to sources in the concert management field — such as venue operators — to see if Live Nation maintained a monopoly in the industry.
Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010, garnering much more power than they did individually in the last decade. The merger was approved by the Justice Department despite suspicion and opposition from others involved in the music industry.
In 2019, just before the pandemic disrupted business for everyone, Live Nation organized 40,000 events and sold nearly 500 million tickets via Ticketmaster. That same year, an investigation found that Live Nation had violated terms of its decree. The Justice Department demanded clarification on ticket sale practices with venues, reports the NYT.
On Friday, Taylor Swift spoke up against the corporation on her Instagram story as well.
“It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse.”
She went on to add that there was a “multitude of reasons” why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets and that she’s trying to figure out how the situation can be improved in the future.
“I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could,” she said. “It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets, but it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.”
Legal trouble brews for Ticketmaster Canada and Live Nation
This story comes just under a month after a class-action lawsuit was filed against Ticketmaster Canada over delays in refunding customers for tickets they bought to shows affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In April, Shayne Beaucage filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster Canada and Live Nation, and it was certified as a class-action suit in Ontario in September. He now represents everyone in the class.
According to court documents, the plaintiff alleged that customers who purchased tickets to events that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic were entitled to prompt refunds, in the original form of payment, under the terms of their contracts with Ticketmaster or under consumer protection laws.
Ticketmaster denied the allegations and said that by November 30, 2020, all ticket holders had been provided refunds, or the option to receive refunds, for all but 12 events in Canada that had been postponed, rescheduled, or cancelled after March 11, 2020, due to pandemic.
This excludes Quebec. The province has its own lawsuit against Ticketmaster Canada in progress.
In late September, a settlement agreement was proposed and Ticketmaster agreed to compensate certain members of the class by giving them $5 gift cards per eligible ticket purchased. The company would also have to pay $100,000 additionally to settle the class action, bringing the total costs to $137,545.
You could be eligible for credit if you bought tickets for any of the following events. These are the 12 events for which, as per Ticketmaster’s own admission, refunds were not available prior to November 30, 2020:
In May of 2020, a person called Ryan MacIntyre helmed a class-action lawsuit against Ticketmaster Canada and Live Nation. With him were Canadians who purchased one or more tickets from the parties for events taking place after March 13 that year, that were postponed, rescheduled, or canceled.
If the settlement for Beaucage v. Ticketmaster Canada Holdings ULC et al. is not approved, litigation is expected to continue. Ontario Superior Court of Justice will hold a hearing on December 15 at 10:00 ET to share the verdict.