The Justice Department plans to take antitrust action against Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation

The Justice Department will file an antitrust lawsuit against entertainment conglomerate Live Nation on Thursday, multiple sources familiar with the matter confirmed to CBS News.

The federal government will be joined in its legal battle by several attorneys general. Prosecutors are expected to challenge the practices of Ticketmaster's parent company and may try to force a change in the way the company does business, the sources said. In many cases, when the Justice Department sues over antitrust issues, it tries to get a judge to force divestitures within a company or change the way it operates.

The Justice Department declined to comment. Live Nation did not respond to a request for comment from CBS News.

News of the antitrust action was first reported by the Washington Post.

The move comes after a years-long investigation by the Justice Department's antitrust division. In 2022, CBS News confirmed that the Justice Department had already been looking into the company and its Ticketmaster unit before the company's disastrous mishandling of ticket sales for Taylor Swift's Eras Tour.

In November 2022 on the Ticketmaster site crashed during a pre-sale period for the Eras Tour, sparking outrage among fans who waited hours for tickets only to be disappointed.

The department's investigation focused on whether Live Nation abused its market dominance in the ticketing industry.

The Justice Department's Antitrust Division has contacted music venues and ticketing industry participants to learn more about Live Nation's methods, focusing on whether the company had a monopoly about the sector, according to The New York Times, which first reported on the study.

During a Senate hearing in January 2023, artists testified about the hold Live Nation had over them. Clyde Lawrence, of the band Lawrence, testified that Live Nation is a promoter, venue and ticket company all at the same time.

“Because Live Nation owns the venue, does the money for the show and sells the tickets, they have outsized power in negotiating with artists,” he told the panel, giving an example: For one show, Lawrence suggested fixed ticket prices at $30. After Ticketmaster added a 40% fee, fans paid $42 per ticket. After paying facility fees, the band earned $12 per ticket, about half of which went to cover the costs of touring.

“That leaves us with $6 for an eight-piece band, before taxes, and we also have to pay for our own health insurance,” Lawrence said.

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