Live Nation Settles with Justice Department Outside Court & That’s Not Good for Music

At the end of last week, the US Department of Justice was preparing legal action against Live Nation for violating its consent decree established when the company bought Ticketmaster in 2010. Now, the DOJ and Live Nation have come to a settlement that does little to address the concert promoter’s alleged violations of the decree, aside from a monetary slap on the wrist and some slightly more strict guidelines.

Under what’s known as the consent decree, Live Nation was forbidden from retaliating against or intimidating venues who that chose to use ticket platforms other than Ticketmaster. The DOJ had apparently identified five specific instances that Live Nation broke the decree, and yet no punishment will come of it.

The new settlement with the DOJ extends the decree, originally set to expire next June, through 2025. Live Nation will also have to cover the DOJ’s legal fees, estimated in the millions. Additionally, it adds language clarifying and “barring sales reps from discussing how venues using Ticketmaster get preferred treatment or anything about content bundle deals.”

With such a light slap on the wrist, Live Nation is surely feeling more empowered than ever to bend the rules of the decree to their breaking point if our nation’s highest enforcer of rules isn’t going to do anything about it. It’s also sure to leave Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) and Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) feeling defeated, after bringing up the investigation to the DOJ in the first place in August.