A federal judge has granted class action status in a lawsuit alleging that Clear Channel Communications, the nation’s largest radio broadcaster, used its market dominance to illegally inflate concert ticket prices.
The suit, which combines five existing actions in different regions, states that radio is by far the most effective marketing tool for artists to promote concerts, and that Clear Channel’s clout in that market “obligates artists who would otherwise turn to other concert promoters to use Clear Channel’s promotion services.”
Since Clear Channel controls major radio stations in most U.S. markets, it is empowered to “prohibit an artist’s music from being played on the air if they opt to use a promoter other than Clear Channel.”
Additionally, Clear Channel is alleged to “bid up the fees paid to artists so it becomes impossible for other promoters to compete.”
The complaint also cites a study that attorneys for the plaintiffs say indicates a disparity between the rate of inflation (13%), and Clear Channel’s rise in ticket prices (61%) during the period in question.
The suit seeks relief for plaintiffs and members of the class, which currently includes consumers who purchased concert tickets in the Chicago, New England, New York/New Jersey, Colorado, and Southern California regions during the period of June 19, 1998 to the present.