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Ticketmaster parent Live Nation under investigation by DOJ; apology issued to Swift fans

The Department of Justice is investigating Ticketmaster parent Live Nation, the company that sparked chaos and anger this week with its mishandling of ticket sales for Taylor Swift's upcoming "Eras" tour, two people familiar with the matter confirmed to CBS News. On Friday night, Ticketmaster issued an apology via Twitter to Swift's fans.  

The investigation, which predates the Ticketmaster failure with Taylor Swift ticket sales, is focusing on whether Live Nation is abusing its market dominance in the ticket industry. Ticketmaster's site crashed during a pre-sale period this week, sparking anger from fans who waited hours to get tickets, only to be disappointed. 

The Justice Department's antitrust division has recently contacted music venues and participants in the ticket industry to learn more about Live Nation's methods, with a focus on whether the company has a monopoly over the industry, according to The New York Times, which earlier reported the investigation.

This week's Taylor Swift ticket-sales debacle has sparked renewed calls for more scrutiny of the company. Several lawmakers called for an inquiry into Live Nation and Ticketmaster, which has sold more than 115 million tickets to events in the first nine months of the year, up 37% from 2019.

Ticketmaster on Friday night apologized to Swift's fans, saying on Twitter: "We want to apologize to Taylor and all of her fans — especially those who had a terrible experience trying to purchase tickets. We feel we owe it to everyone to share some information to help explain what happened." 

The tweet included a link to Ticketmaster's site, where the company explained why the issues occurred.

On Tuesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused Ticketmaster of acting as a monopoly in ticket sales and called on the company to be broken up, with the New York Democrat tweeting that the 2010 merger between the company and Live Nation "should never have been approved."

The site's crash has also sparked an investigation by Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmettian, who has launched a probe into how Ticketmaster handled the event.

After the crash, Ticketmaster canceled Friday's ticket sales for Taylor Swift's tour.

"Due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand, tomorrow's public on-sale for Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour has been cancelled," the company tweeted

—With reporting by CBS News' Ed O'Keefe.

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