Minnesota AG joins Live Nation, Ticketmaster federal lawsuit

In this photo illustration, a Live Nation Entertainment logo is seen on a smartphone and a pc screen. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Minnesota Attorney General announced his office is joining the U.S. Department of Justice and 30 other attorneys general in filing an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment, which owns Ticketmaster, alleging that the company illegally monopolized the live entertainment industry. 

Prosecutors say the goal is for a court to "prohibit Live Nation's anticompetitive practices and order Live Nation to divest from Ticketmaster" according to a news release from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison's Office. 

The lawsuit claims that Live Nation is guilty of the following:

  • Harming fans through higher fees and limiting the amount of information fans can access to see the final cost of attendance
  • Maintaining its monopoly in ticket markets by locking up venues through restrictive long-term exclusive agreements
  • Leveraging its network of venues to force artists to select Live Nation as a promoter

This comes after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed a law, dubbed by some as the "Taylor Swift bill", requiring ticket transparency after the pop star's sold-out 2023 performance at U.S. Bank Stadium. Fans took Ticketmaster to court for the site crashing during a presale event in November 2022. 

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar introduced legislation on the issue last year called the "Fans First Act" which she says would allow for automatic refunds of canceled concerts, more regulation of bots that fraudulently buy tickets and make pricing more transparent.

"We're glad Minnesota passed a similar bill, but it continues to be the case that we need to do this federally," Sen. Klobuchar said on Thursday. "So we're moving ahead with our legislation, I think it compliments this lawsuit that was just brought."

RELATED: Taylor Swift ticket scams: Ellison warns ahead of Minneapolis performance

Officials say the federal lawsuit was originally filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District Court of New York. 

The Associated Press reports that data in a federal lawsuit from 2022 shows Ticketmaster, which merged with Live Nation in 2010, is the world's largest ticket seller and processes 500 million tickets each year in more than 30 countries. The data also shows about 70% of tickets for major concert venues in the United States are sold through Ticketmaster. 

"One of the major drivers of inflation in this country is corporate greed and illegal behavior — and Live Nation and Ticketmaster are prime examples," Attorney General Ellison said in the news release. "People are fed up with having no option but to fork over their hard-earned money for the high prices and hidden fees that Ticketmaster routinely charges. Live Nation’s anticompetitive behavior is to blame, because too often, consumers who just want to enjoy live entertainment have nowhere else to turn. Especially at a time when it’s tough for Minnesotans and all Americans to afford their lives, I’m proud to join DOJ and this bipartisan coalition from across the country in holding Live Nation to account. Consumers deserve an end to these obnoxious and monopolistic practices, including Live Nation divesting itself of Ticketmaster for good."

Other state attorneys general in the lawsuit include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.