Ticketmaster has ‘substantial control’ of the entire ticketing industry: Jonathan Skrmetti

Along with 30 states are seeking to break up Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation in a major antitrust lawsuit over the company's alleged ticket pricing monopoly. Joining us now, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Scrimmetti, thank you for being with us. So I'm going to come out, I'm going to come right out and say I'm a perma skeptic of antitrust. I, I hate when government gets involved in the free market, but you're in this lawsuit, so sell me on it. Why does this have to happen? Well, the free market works because competition lowers prices and it increases quality and it benefits consumers. And there are times when the free market doesn't work, when people are able to gain such control over the market or over related markets that the customers end up suffering. That's what we have here. Ticketmaster and Live Nation have substantial control over not just the ticketing industry, but over venues and over concert promotion. And they're able to use that interlocking set of leverage to raise prices, to force people to cut them in on a piece of the action, and to hurt consumers and hurt the people that are putting on concerts AG. This merger was approved under the Obama administration in 2010. What changed in less than 15 years that now makes this merger impalpable? Well, first of all, the Obama administration was approving a number of mergers that they probably shouldn't have. There are some other ones that have been under scrutiny since then as well. So I'm I'm not sure the fact that they approved it is by itself an indicator it was the right idea. But there was a consent decree. There have been problems with the consent decree since then. I think the data point that should alarm everybody about whether this market is working or not is there are people who say it's cheaper to fly to Europe to see Taylor Swift there than to try to see a show here. I mean, we have a busted ticketing industry and it's making concerts more expensive for everybody. This Graceland story is completely fascinating to me. You're looking into it. There's a company that essentially came out and said that to Elvis's granddaughter, who is the owner of Graceland, that her mother had put up the the house for some sort of collateral for a loan. And they're basically saying that she never repaid it. So therefore they own the asset. But they really just came out of the blue, can't really prove what went on here. The judge has said you can't go ahead and sell it or do anything of that sort until we we get through this. How does this play out from here? So Graceland is iconic in Tennessee. It's the second most visited home in America behind the White House. There are people that come from literally around the world for Elvis Week to remember Elvis at Graceland. So this is really important to Memphis. The neighborhood White Haven depends on it. And, you know, the facts are still out there. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself on exactly what's going on here, but there have been some troubling allegations made. And this is, this is something somewhat consistent with other types of conduct that we've looked at, especially involving elderly homeowners, where people try to essentially trick them into signing things over. Yeah, well, $150 million in revenue for Memphis as a result of all that tourism to Graceland. Yeah, good point. Yeah, it critical for the city attorney general. Great stuff, especially on that point about, you know, elderly being taken advantage of in a world of AII. Think that's only going to get worse. We've got to be watching it. Thanks for your time today. We appreciate it.

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