Will Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood With Ticketmaster Spur Antitrust Action?

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Taylor Swift fans seeking to score tickets to the superstar’s highly anticipated “Eras” tour were outraged when Ticketmaster could not handle what it dubbed “unprecedented” demand. Those following the story know all too well that the political reaction was swift. After briefly recounting the history of Ticketmaster and Live Nation and their respective lines of business, this Update analyzes the potential legal theories and remedies that antitrust enforcers could pursue against the entertainment conglomerate.

It is important to recognize that the recent hubbub around Taylor Swift tickets does not itself appear to violate antitrust laws. However, enforcers could view the incident as indicative of a lack of competition in the ticket servicing market, resulting in supracompetitive service fees, lower quality, and reduced innovation. If enforcers decide to bring a case against Live Nation, they could proceed under any (or all) of the following five theories: conditional dealing, tying, illegal merger, course of conduct, or unfair competition.