Ticketmaster denies stifling competition

LOS ANGELES • Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc says it is not stifling competition in the concert industry, pushing back against a report that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is probing whether its parent company is abiding by an antitrust agreement from eight years ago.

Justice Department officials are looking into possible cases where Live Nation, which manages 500 artists, including U2 and Miley Cyrus, has used its control over concert tours to pressure venues into contracting with its subsidiary, Ticketmaster, The New York Times said on Sunday.

The company's chief competitor, AEG, has told the officials that venues it manages that serve Atlanta; Las Vegas; Minneapolis; Salt Lake City; Louisville, Kentucky; and Oakland, California, were told they would lose valuable shows if Ticketmaster was not used as a vendor, a possible violation of antitrust law.

Live Nation bought Ticketmaster in 2010 and agreed to a set of rules, called a consent decree, to ensure it would not gain a monopoly on live music promotion and ticketing.

"We take our obligations under the DOJ Consent Decree very seriously and we do not ever knowingly violate it," Ticketmaster president Jared Smith said in a blog post on the company's website. "It is absolutely against Live Nation and Ticketmaster policy to threaten venues that they won't get any Live Nation shows if they don't use Ticketmaster."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2018, with the headline 'Ticketmaster denies stifling competition'. Print Edition | Subscribe