Beverly Hills-based Live Nation merged with Ticketmaster in 2010, dominating ticket sales and holding a monopoly on venues and promoters, as alleged by a class action lawsuit brought in Federal Court. Citing 4-year-old data, the suit claims Live Nation sold 70 percent of tickets for concerts by major artists in 2008, and that it controls amphitheaters in 18 of the 25 largest markets in the country.

In an interview with the lead Plaintiff, Brian Holub, he said: “This case has been brought to find a common answer to a lingering legal question…. Can monopolist Live Nation overcharge ticket buyers with add-on fees to event ticket prices rather than selling tickets using a clear and conspicuous ‘all-in’price?” This case is “to determine once and for all if defendant’s practice of charging add-on fees is an unfair business practice and whether defendant must use ‘all-in pricing.”

Live Nation created all-in ticket pricing, which allows music fans to see the total retail price before they buy tickets. However, the suit alleges that Live Nation “has not made a clear, simple transaction for the consumer” and continues to “charge unfair fees and refuses to provide consumers with a clear simple transaction through implementation of ‘all-in’ pricing. Due to lack of competition…[Live Nation] has extracted unfair overcharges in the form of add-on fees to ticket prices.”

The case seeks an injunction barring Live Nation from charging add-on fees, and restitution under California unfair competition law.

California Unfair Competition Law and Injunctive Relief

According to Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17200, “Unfair competition shall mean and include any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising….”

According to Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17203, “Any person who engages, has engaged, or proposes to engage in unfair competition may be enjoined in any court of competent jurisdiction. The court may make such orders or judgments, including the appointment of a receiver, as may be necessary to prevent the use or employment by any person of any practice which constitutes unfair competition, as defined in this chapter, or as may be necessary to restore to any person in interest any money or property, real or personal, which may have been acquired by means of such unfair competition.”