Creators and Competition Watchdogs Urge Congress, DOJ to Stop Live Nation’s Abusive 2021 Contract Terms

The Artist Rights Alliance, Center for Digital Democracy, and Future of Music Coalition have sent a letter calling on the House Judiciary Committee to investigate Live Nation’s exploitative 2021 venue policies and its parent company, Liberty Media, for monopolistic behavior and abuses. In an attempt to profit off the pandemic, LiveNation has implemented unfair “take it or leave it” contract terms for 2021 that radically cut performance fees and expose artists to absurdly high penalties in the event of any pandemic-related delays or cancellations. The letter reads, in part:

“Liberty/Live Nation should not be allowed to exploit its multi-market monopoly and impose overwhelmingly one-sided and exploitative terms on performers under cover of a worldwide pandemic emergency. Consumers in areas served by Live Nation’s huge array of venues and should not be held hostage to grotesquely overreaching corporate demands.”

In addition to calling on Congress to investigate, the Artist Rights Alliance has launched a petition urging DOJ to stop Liberty Media’s planned merger with iHeartMedia which would only expand their market dominance. The petition also asks artists to boycott Live Nation venues and find alternatives to Liberty Media’s offerings when and if possible. The petition can be found here.

June 24 , 2020

The Honorable David Cicilline, Chairman

The Honorable Jim Sensenbrenner, Ranking Member

Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law

U.S. House of Representatives

2138 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Cicilline and Ranking Member Sensenbrenner:

We write seeking urgent oversight of Liberty Media/Live Nation’s abusive 2021 performance terms, which would unfairly cut artist fees and shift the risk of pandemic cancellations to performers.

Live Nation is part of the Liberty Media conglomerate, which also includes the Ticketmaster monopoly, the SiriusXM satellite radio monopoly, and Pandora digital radio. Liberty is also currently seeking to acquire the massive iHeartMedia network, which ARA and leading consumer and competition watchdog groups have strongly opposed.

Liberty/Live Nation should not be allowed to exploit its multi-market monopoly and impose overwhelmingly one-sided and exploitative terms on performers under cover of a worldwide pandemic emergency. Consumers in areas served by Live Nation’s huge array of venues and should not be held hostage to grotesquely overreaching corporate demands.

Artists are organizing to resist this pressure, including by considering boycotts of Live Nation facilities. But in many areas there are no practical alternatives to Live Nation facilities. Performers there will find themselves on the horns of an impossible dilemma: either don’t appear in the region at all — disappointing fans, driving down streaming and radio play, and ceding the spotlight at enormous long term cost — or accept the crippling risk of Live Nation’s cancellation “penalties” — rolling the dice on public health conditions no one can truly control.

We urge the Committee to investigate these abuses of market power and the creative economy.

Sincerely,

Artist Rights Alliance

Center for Digital Democracy

Future of Music Coalition

Artist-run, non-profit advocating for musicians, performers, & songwriters in the digital landscape. (Formerly the Content Creators Coalition or “c3”)

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