"There will be enough air and sunlight in this space for strong competitors to take root, grow and thrive", said the country's top antitrust regulator, Assistant Attorney General CHRISTINE A. VARNEY, adding that reduced ticket service fees, even lower ticket prices, could be the result of the merger.
Ticket prices are at record highs. Service fees are far from reduced.
"So Live Nation is barred from punishing an arena by, say, steering a star like Drake to appear at a rival stop down the road".
Now Department of Justice officials are looking into serious accusations about Live Nation's behavior in the marketplace.
They have been reviewing complaints that 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. AEG told The Times that it has been threatened with the loss of shows at venues it manages in several markets should it turn away from using Ticketmaster as its vendor for ticketing, which Ticketmaster dismissed as "tactical, deliberate mischaracterizations" by a competitor. The thing that was never supposed to happen.
Jared Smith, Ticketmaster president, responded to the Times article on the company's website on Sunday, writing, "The New York Times article suggests that any benefits of being a vertically integrated company are, in and of themselves, anticompetitive. Its terms were strict, they said: It would boost competition and block monopolistic behavior by the new, larger LIVE NATION".
The manager of the Gwinnett Center in Atlanta, for example, claims the number of Live Nation shows brought to his venue dropped from four to two in the year after it switched to a ticketing system controlled by AEG. We also do not re-route content as retaliation for a lost ticketing deal.