PHOENIX – Attorney General Brnovich announced today that the Department of Justice (DOJ), Arizona, and several other States, negotiated an Amended Final Judgment with Live Nation after it was uncovered that Live Nation allegedly violated terms of a 2010 Consent Judgment by engaging in retaliation and conditioning activities. The Amended Final Judgment should be entered by the Judge in the near future. The Amended Final Judgment was filed Friday night.
In 2010, Live Nation notified the DOJ of its intent to merge with Ticketmaster. DOJ, along with several states, identified a number of anti-competitive concerns with the original merger. Specifically, prior to the merger, Live Nation had a newly-created ticketing service that competed with Ticketmaster, but post-merger, the loss of competition could result in higher ticketing fees and less innovation. Also, the combination of ticketing and promotion services could make it difficult for small firms to compete for primary ticketing services.
"Consumers looking to purchase tickets to concerts or live events are facing increasing sticker shock with little to no alternative to Ticketmaster," said Attorney General Brnovich. "We must take all necessary steps to enforce the 2010 consent decree and ensure competition to protect consumers from excessive fees and runaway hidden costs."
Live Nation entered into a consent decree in 2010 as a requirement for completing its merger with Ticketmaster. The consent decree, which was set to expire in July 2020, prohibited Live Nation from engaging in anti-competitive conduct, including retaliating against any venue that contemplates using or works with Ticketmaster's competitors.
A recent investigation uncovered violations at six different venues across the country. Most of the violations involved Live Nation pulling or threatening to pull its shows from a venue if the venue chose not to use Ticketmaster for their ticketing services. This behavior violates the anti-retaliation provision of the 2010 consent decree where Live Nation agreed to not retaliate against venues or companies that chose not to use Ticketmaster. Other violations included violations of the anti-conditioning provision of the 2010 consent decree as Live Nation would only use a venue for its events if the venue used Ticketmaster for ticketing.
In the filing, Arizona, DOJ, and the other States negotiated comprehensive injunctive relief, including:
- An injunction against Live Nation from further violations;
- Disciplinary action for future violations that may result in conviction for contempt of court and imprisonment or fine;
- Extension of the Consent Judgment to July 30, 2025;
- Appointment by the Court of a Monitoring Trustee paid for by Live Nation;
- Appointment by Live Nation of an Antitrust Compliance Officer;
- Live Nation must provide a copy of the Amended Final Judgment to relevant employees;
- Live Nation must conduct semi-annual compliance training for the first year followed by annual compliance training the remaining years;
- Live Nation must provide a copy of the Amended Final Judgment to every actual or potential customer, and at the beginning of any negotiation related to ticketing service; and
- Live Nation must establish a whistleblower protection policy.
The Amended Final Judgment provides for notification rights, enforcement authority, and the ability to monitor Live Nation for an extended 5-year period. This will prevent Live Nation from engaging in future anti-retaliation and anti-conditioning activities, including in Arizona, and will hold Live Nation accountable for any further violations.