Concert ticket buyers can sue Clear Channel

Just came across this over on Bloomberg. The jist of it is that as a group, concert ticket buyers can sue Clear Channel over claims the company used its dominant market position to illegally inflate the price of concert tickets.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson in a ruling filed yesterday in Los Angeles granted class-action status to five lawsuits that sought to represent concertgoers in the U.S. Wilson denied a request by San Antonio-based Clear Channel to dismiss the case because no law was violated.

The concert goers claim that Clear Channel, the largest U.S. radio broadcaster, uses its control of the radio airwaves to limit competition from rival concert promoters by not playing music by artists that don’t use Clear Channel as promoter.

“We intend to show that Clear Channel bullies groups into using Clear Channel’s facilities for concerts through its market dominance of the airwaves,” Beth Fegan, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said in a statement sent today by PR Newswire. “The upshot is that if bands don’t use Clear Channel venues, they will be playing to empty houses.”

The case is: In Re. Live Concert Antitrust Litigation, 06-ML-1745, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

I’m not sure I necessarily buy that argument, though anytime someone decides to put their bigboy pants on and take on the man, well, we’re all for it. Interestingly enough, it seems the argument in the article is not about whether or not ticket prices are inflated and detrimental to consumers, but about how Clear Channel limited competitive concert promotions.

We’ll be following this one to see how it plays out.

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