“Break Up Ticketmaster”: Activists Call on DOJ to “Investigate and Unwind” the Live Nation-Ticketmaster Merger

As anyone who’s tried to buy tickets to a popular show like, say, Blink-182’s reunion tour will tell you, Ticketmaster is your wallet’s mortal enemy, now more than ever. Between exorbitant fees, surge pricing and overwhelming queues, the company’s live music monopoly has turned the process of buying concert tickets into a source of dread, rather than joy. Now, a coalition of activists is moving to remedy the situation via the “Break Up Ticketmaster” campaign, which seeks to “pressure the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate and unwind the 2010 Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger,” as a press release explains.

“Ticketmaster’s market power over live events is ripping off sports and music fans and undermining the vibrancy and independence of the music industry,” says Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project, in a statement. “With new leadership at the DOJ committed to enforcing the antitrust laws, our new campaign helps connect the voices of fans, artists, and others in the music business who are sick and tired of being at the mercy of Ticketmaster’s monopoly with enforcers who have the power to unwind it.”

“Everyday Americans are being scammed and extorted by Ticketmaster for wanting to see their favorite sports teams and artists perform,” says Helen Brosnan, Executive Director of Fight Corporate Monopolies. “More than a decade later, their merger has resulted in consumers being held hostage by a company that uses its monopoly power to make everyone’s experience miserable—artists, concertgoers and sports fans, and independent venues alike. It should have never happened in the first place and the DOJ must step in and break them up.”

“Live Nation-Ticketmaster has been unabashedly raising prices and fees, giving fans no other choice but to give them their hard-earned money to attend events,” says Faiz Shakir, Executive Director of More Perfect Union. “This is an opportunity for the Department of Justice to demonstrate that government is working to protect our best interests by reversing the failed merger of Live Nation-Ticketmaster after a decade of scamming Americans.”

The coalition—led by the American Economic Liberties Project, Sports Fans Coalition, Fight Corporate Monopolies, More Perfect Union, Fan Freedom, the Consumer Federation of America, the National Consumers League and the Artist Rights Alliance—is also instituting a letter writing campaign, encouraging “fans, artists and venues across the country to share stories of Ticketmaster’s anticompetitive conduct and demand the DOJ move to break it up.” So if you have your own story of missing out on—or paying through the nose for—tickets, this is somewhere to put it other than social media. “Letters submitted through the campaign will be delivered to Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Jonathan Kanter in coming months,” the coalition’s press release notes.

Watch the campaign’s explainer video on the situation below.