A federal judge in Los Angeles has granted class action status to a bunch of different lawsuits from several states alleging that Clear Channel Communications and its former subsidiary, Clear Channel Entertainment, illegally inflated concert ticket prices through market dominance. Although the concert business, now called Live Nation, is no longer part of Clear Channel, the latter remains a defendant in the lawsuits.
If nothing else, the lawsuits make the case that radio is a powerful medium. "The complaints state that radio is by far the most effective marketing tool for music artists to promote concerts, and Clear Channel enjoys a near monopoly of the market. Artists often have no other choice but to use Clear Channel to promote live concerts, the complaint continues. According to the complaints, the company’s unlawful leveraging of its economic strength in the FM radio business obligates artists who would otherwise turn to other concert promoters to use Clear Channel’s promotion services," said the lead law firm, Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, in announcing the class action certification.
"The claims made by the plaintiffs are erroneous, misleading and completely without merit. We look forward to proving that it court," said a company statement from Clear Channel sent to RBR.
RBR/TVBR observation: "Near monopoly" may be a bit of a stretch when talking about Clear Channel Radio. It isn’t even the dominant radio company in its headquarters town. And lately it has been selling, not buying stations. Now, if the combination of radio and concert promotion had been as potent as the critics claimed, Clear Channel would likely still be in the concert business today – instead of having spun-off Live Nation at a huge loss.