A district court in Los Angeles ruled Friday that concert business Live Nation does not have a monopoly on rock show tickets, though it made no ruling on whether its emails still have a monopoly on my inbox.
This antitrust lawsuit has been going on for more than a decade—far longer than I’ve been receiving Live Nation emails imploring me to buy Motley Crue tickets. A class of ticket-buyers accused Live Nation and its former owner Clear Channel of using their monopoly power to raise the prices of rock concert tickets and offer fewer concerts.
The district court granted summary judgment for Clear Channel, ruling that the plaintiffs failed to sufficiently define the market over which they alleged Clear Channel and Live Nation had a monopoly. Economist Owen Phillips, the plaintiffs’ lead witness, was found to have no expertise in rock music. He used Billboard magazine’s artist biographies to classify different artists, but the court found flaws in that analysis, namely that he classified Burt Bacharach as a rock artist, and labeled Simon & Garfunkel pop musicians when their Billboard biography refers to them as the “most successful folk-rock duo of the ’60s.”
This ruling applies to two of the 22 suits brought before the LA court, which gave both sides three weeks to decide what to do with the remaining 20 class actions. A representative for Clear Channel seemed confident that the ruling would put an end to the litigation once and for all.