A lawsuit against Coachella overns Goldenvoice’s infamous radius clause has been dismissed by a United States judge, meaning that the popular music festival will be able to continue its practice of forbidding artists from performing for other concert promoters from December 15 to May 1. This suit was brought by Soul’d Out Productions, an Oregon based concert promoter who claimed that Goldenvoice held a monopoly over live music performances in the area.
Soul’D Out Productions, which was represented by the plaintiffs Nicholas Harris and Haytham Abdulhadi, cited artists such as SZA and Daniel Caesar as examples of artists who had to abandon their festival appearances in favor of Coachella, which hurt their own festival. Coachella representatives stated that they would ““vigorously defend against this lawsuit, which calls into question a long-standing industry practice that is crucial to our ability to continue offering fans the unrivaled experience for which Coachella has become known.”
This lawsuit was launched toward the iteration of Coachella’s 2018 festival, which included headliners such as The Weeknd, Beyonce and Eminem. The festival’s upcoming 2019 lineup will feature artists such as Tame Impala, Ariana Grande, and Childish Gambino as headliners for the three day Southern California Music Festival.
“We are pleased with the court’s decision today to dismiss the lawsuit challenging the agreements between Coachella and artists,” Shawn Trell, general counsel and chief operating officer for Goldenvoice and AEG Presents told Billboard. “Coachella is focused on providing an incredible festival experience for both fans and artists, and looks forward to another special event next month.”
Under Goldenvoice’s radius clause, musical acts are prevented from performing in venues, music festivals or other associated live music performances in and around the Coachella region for a few months before and around a month after the popular festival. This would prevent promoters such as Live Nation from booking acts for their own concerts if the artists were to perform at Coachella, or vice versa.
Nika Aldrich, an attorney for Harris and Abdulhadi, accused Goldenvoice in an April 2018 civil complaint of operating “an illegal monopoly in the market for live music festival performances” by “unreasonably restricting price and cost of competition among live concert venues” and “limiting entry or expansion of competitors.”
Although this case ultimately failed in court, and prevented the same plaintiff’s from filing a lawsuit against the concert promoters in the near future, it succeeded in raising awareness regarding Coachella’s restrictive practices and business clauses. This includes the reveal of previous unknown information regarding Coachella’s radius clause during the case, which was unknown to the public.
Goldenvoice’s lawyers defended against this, stating that the clause allowed Coachella to be unique among the numerous music festivals across Southern California. Goldenvoice, however, retains the ownership of several Southern California music festivals, including FYF, which took place annually in Los Angeles, California.
“The entire purpose of the radius clause is to protect AEG from competitors unfairly free-riding on its creative choices in selecting its artist lineup,” lawyers on behalf of Goldenvoice explained. “As more festivals proliferate, maintaining a unique festival lineup is crucial for Coachella to remain competitive.”