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Ticketmaster, Live Nation Sued Again Over ‘Predatory’ Practices

The new case claims Live Nation is abusing its dominance by forcing venues to use Ticketmaster and charging "extraordinarily high" prices to consumers.

Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation are facing another lawsuit that claims they’re violating antitrust laws by monopolizing the market for concert tickets and engaging in “predatory” behavior – only this time with added accusations that they’re foisting new draconian arbitration agreements on ticket buyers.

Echoing claims made in an earlier lawsuit filed in 2020 by the same attorneys, the new case filed Tuesday argues that Ticketmaster’s dominant market share and Live Nation’s huge influence over touring allow the combined entity to bully venues and charge “extraordinarily high” prices to consumers.

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“Defendants’ anticompetitive scheme has been wildly successful and today threatens to put nearly all ticketing services for major concert venues … under Ticketmaster’s monopolistic thumb,” wrote attorneys at top litigation firm Quinn Emanuel, which represents the consumers suing Live Nation and Ticketmaster.

The case seeks to represent a nationwide class of consumers who purchased tickets from Ticketmaster, which could include “hundreds of thousands if not millions” of people.

The new lawsuit is something of a second crack for the legal team at Quinn Emanuel, after a ruling last year that tossed out their earlier case against Ticketmaster on procedural grounds. At the time, a federal judge ruled that when plaintiffs purchased their tickets, they had agreed to settle any disputes with Ticketmaster via private arbitration rather than in open court.

While that ruling is pending on appeal, the new lawsuit filed this week added new accusations that take square aim at Ticketmaster’s use of such arbitration agreements, including claims that the company has recently begun using new language that’s even more unfair to buyers.

“The [new] agreement … requires consumers to engage in a novel and one-sided process that is tailored to disadvantage consumers,” wrote the Quinn Emanuel attorneys. “The … agreement skews the odds so egregiously in defendants’ favor through its defense-biased provisions, and is imposed in such a procedurally unfair manner, that it is permeated with unconscionability to a far greater degree than the prior … agreement.”

In a statement to Billboard, a spokeswoman for Live Nation said: “Plaintiff’s attorneys have made prior, unsuccessful attempts to bring nearly identical class actions. We are confident in the judicial process.”

Ticketmaster and Live Nation have long been dogged by accusations that they exert an unfair dominance over the market for live concerts, particularly since they merged in 2010.

The combined entity has operated for its entire existence under a so-called consent decree imposed by the U.S. Department of Justice when it approved the merger. Under the decree, Live Nation is prohibited from retaliating against venues that refuse to use Ticketmaster. Those restrictions were set to expire in 2020 but were extended by five years in 2019 after the DOJ accused Live Nation of repeatedly violating the decree. More recently, members of Congress have called for new investigations into the company’s dominance.

In addition to Quinn Emanuel, the plaintiffs in the new case are also represented by the law firm Keller Lenkner LLC.