In 2009, Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment expressed their intent to merge to become Live Nation Entertainment. Before the merger, Ticketmaster Entertainment was the leading live music ticketing and marketing company. Live Nation was the leading producer of live music events. Live Nation also entered the primary ticket sales market and led merchandising at its entertainment venues. Antitrust concerns arose that this newly formed entity would be a near-monopoly in live music. Despite general antitrust concerns and lawsuits from consumers, smaller promoters, seventeen state attorneys general, and the Department of Justice (“DOJ"), Live Nation Entertainment agreed to a consent decree in 2010 with the DOJ to become the largest live music conglomerate in the world. Since the merger, competition at virtually all levels of the live music industry has diminished. This has hurt consumers, artists, and venues the most. Live Nation Entertainment has violated the 2010 consent decree and the consequences of their violations have amounted to a “slap on the wrist” thus far.
This Note argues the best way to increase competition at all levels of the live music industry is increased enforcement of a 2019 extension of the 2010 consent decree by the DOJ. The updated consent decree is more precise and gives the DOJ more power to enforce it. A breakup of Live Nation Entertainment has the potential to destroy live music, but true enforcement by the DOJ will help consumers, smaller artists, venues, and promoters. Congress can also consider passing legislation to target the live music industry and this Note will layout the factors Congress must consider. Ultimately, the DOJ must fully enforce the enhanced consent decree. In doing so, live music can avoid the potential negative consequences of a breakup or targeted legislation while reaping the rewards of lower ticket prices, more competition for talent, and greater freedom for artists and venues.
Increasing Competition in Live Music: The Case for Better Enforcement of the Live Nation Entertainment Consent Decree,
71 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol71/iss1/12