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CT joins national lawsuit against Live Nation

State Attorney General William Tong
Molly Ingram
State Attorney General William Tong

Connecticut has joined the U.S. Justice Department and 29 states in a lawsuit that accuses Ticketmaster and Live Nation of monopolizing the live music concert market.

Attorney General William Tong said Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, control 80% of the country's concert industry, which would be a violation of U.S. Antitrust laws.

“If you are a venue and you want to sell seats, you’ve got to use Live Nation and Ticketmaster and their technology. If you are a fan and want to buy seats, you’ve got to use Live Nation and Ticketmaster to get access. They control the entire stack,” Tong said.

The monopoly has led to skyrocketing ticket prices with outrageous fees for consumers.

“Convenience fees, payment processing fees, facility fees, handling fees, shipping fees, ticketing fees, just pay us cause we told you fees. And that’s why to watch a concert with teenagers like I do — hundreds of dollars,” Tong added.

The lawsuit seeks to break up Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

The company operates several concert venues in Connecticut, including the XL Center in Hartford, the Toyota Oakdale Theater in Wallingford and the Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater in Bridgeport.

"The DOJ's lawsuit won't solve the issues fans care about relating to ticket prices, service fees, and access to in-demand shows," Dan Wall, executive vice president of corporate and regulatory affairs at Live Nation, said in a statement. "Calling Ticketmaster a monopoly may be a PR win for the DOJ in the short term, but it will lose in court because it ignores the basic economics of live entertainment, such as the fact that the bulk of service fees go to venues, and that competition has steadily eroded Ticketmaster’s market share and profit margin."

"Our growth comes from helping artists tour globally, creating lasting memories for millions of fans, and supporting local economies across the country by sustaining quality jobs. We will defend against these baseless allegations, use this opportunity to shed light on the industry, and continue to push for reforms that truly protect consumers and artists," he added.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.