RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The U.S. Department of Justice says an illegal monopoly is leading to inflated event ticket prices, and Attorney General Jason Miyares has joined the lawsuit.

According to a release, the DOJ and a 30-state coalition have filed a lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ticketmaster LLC.

The lawsuit claims the company has violated antitrust laws through a range of anticompetitive practices as part of an effort to control the live entertainment industry.

“Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s stronghold over the live entertainment industry has harmed artists, venues, and small businesses, leaving consumers with less choice and exorbitant fees,” said Miyares. “Virginia consumers and businesses deserve a free marketplace for products, services, and ideas, and breaking up Ticketmaster and Live Nation will allow for competition and innovation to return to the live entertainment industry.” 

The lawsuit claims Live Nation and Ticketmaster illegally obtained and preserved a monopoly power in much of the live entertainment industry through control of ticketing and venues.

In the United States, Ticketmaster is the largest primary ticketing company, several times larger than its closest competitor.

Meanwhile, Live Nation owns or controls many venues across the country, and the lawsuit alleges it has maintained an anticompetitive monopoly in ticketing markets by having venues in restrictive long-term and exclusive agreements.

Additionally, Live Nation would reportedly threaten venues that they would lose access to live Nation-controlled tours and artists if they signed with a rival ticketer.

The lawsuit also says Live Nation has leveraged its network of amphitheaters to force artists to select it as a promoter instead of its rivals in order to maintain a promotional monopoly.

These factors have harmed fans through higher fees, lack of transparency, fewer consumer choices and stifled innovation, according to the lawsuit.

The DOJ wants to make Live Nation divest itself of Ticketmaster and it seeks civil penalties and other forms of relief.

The other states that are part of the coalition are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming as well as Washington, D.C.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster responded to the lawsuit on Thursday afternoon.

"The DOJ’s complaint attempts to portray Live Nation and Ticketmaster as the cause of fan frustration with the live entertainment industry.  It blames concert promoters and ticketing companies—neither of which control ticket prices—for high ticket prices.  It ignores everything that is actually responsible for higher ticket prices, from increasing production costs to artist popularity, to 24/7 online ticket scalping that reveals the public’s willingness to pay far more than primary tickets cost," wrote Dan Wall, the executive vice president of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs for Live Nation in a statement.

The companies also say they do not fit the profile of a company wielding monopoly power, especially when considering profit margin.

In a release, Live Nation and Ticketmaster say this lawsuit will not lead to reduced ticket prices or service fees and there is more competition than ever in the live events market.

The full text of the lawsuit can be found here.