New Jersey Politician Argues Government Should Break Up Live Nation
This month, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey called for the anti-monopolistic breakup of Live Nation, the ubiquitous conglomerate concert promoter. He suggested the company's massive size and influence led to the safety issues that created incidents such as last year's Astroworld tragedy and the recent onstage attack on comedian Dave Chappelle.
In 2010, Live Nation merged with ticket retailer Ticketmaster to become a single live event company. According to the congressman, since just before that merger, hundreds of concertgoers have died or gotten hurt at events produced by Live Nation.
"About 200 deaths and 750 injuries occurred at Live Nation events since 2006," Pascrell told New York Post.
"Have safety measures not improved?" he asked. "Has Live Nation silenced organizers? I want answers. I think the public deserves to know."
Live Nation recently posted soaring quarterly profits — to the tune of $1.8 billion, per THR — as ticket sales rebounded from the low of the COVID pandemic.
"They may double the profits, and they still didn't do anything about the safety of folks who go to their concerts," Pascrell remarked. "The disaster results are obvious in terms of how many people died."
He continued, "They got to be held accountable, just like any other business."
In March, the rep wrote to the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice seeking an easier method to overturn mergers like Live Nation, which he said wasn't just terrible for concert competition, but also for the safety of fans at events.
And despite what Live Nation called its "best first quarter ever," the company is now facing a $750 million lawsuit brought on behalf of victims of the fatal crowd crush that occurred during Astroworld in Houston last November, where 10 concertgoers died.
The New York Post pointed out on Sunday (May 8) that calls for the breakup of Live Nation have come from both sides of the aisle. Pascrell is a Democrat, but Mark Perry of the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank asked for the same thing last year.
"It's only going to get worse unless Washington lawmakers and regulators step in with a fix," Perry said.
Indeed, Pascrell argued there's "no way out" once "larger corporations [are] controlling more and more of the entertainment. So, Congress has to come up with some way to break up Live Nation."