Business News Legal Live Business

Songkick accuses Ticketmaster of hacking in updated Live Nation lawsuit

By | Published on Friday 17 February 2017


Songick has amended its ongoing antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation to include new claims that staff at the live music giant’s ticketing firm Ticketmaster stole trade secrets from the start-up and used them to develop its own rival service. Live Nation calls the accusations “baseless”.

As previously reported, Songkick sued Live Nation in December 2015, alleging that the live entertainment firm – which is, of course, a significant player in tour and festival promotion, and venue and artist management, as well as tickets – was holding the acts it works with to ransom, especially in the US, if they decided to collaborate with the gig recommendation and DIY ticketing service on fan club pre-sales.

Later, Songkick also alleged that Live Nation had increased its demands around the pre-sale campaigns it was running for artists tied to the live music major after its legal action had been filed. It then requested a preliminary injunction that would stop Live Nation from making such demands, which was denied in May last year.

In new legal documents, Songkick alleges that Ticketmaster’s Director Of Client Relations Stephen Mead used his position as a former employee of CrowdSurge – with which Songkick merged in 2015 – to steal data from both start-ups.

Mead left CrowdSurge in 2012 and did not join Ticketmaster – through a role at its Ticketweb division – until twelve months later. Songkick alleges that he nevertheless retained 85,000 Crowdsurge company documents on his laptop – including business plans, financial information, contracts and more – which he used to create reports for his new bosses about potential new business.

The lawsuit claims that in an email in January 2014, Mead wrote: “I must stress that as this is access to a live CS tool I would be careful in what you click on as it would be best not to give away that we are snooping around [but] feel free to screengrab the hell out of [CrowdSurge’s] system”.

At least in part, this information related to CrowdSurge test sites created for potential new clients, which were publicly available to anyone who knew how the URLs were formulated.

It is claimed that Ticketmaster then developed a plan to compete with CrowdSurge based on the confidential information it had obtained, including targeting new clients which the start-up was aiming to work with.

In a statement, Live Nation said: “In the face of [last year’s] adverse rulings, Songkick has been forced to conjure up a new set of dubious arguments and theories, resulting in the amended compliant they recently filed. Songkick’s amended complaint is based on the alleged misappropriation of information that Songkick did not even try to keep secret, in some cases could not have kept secret, and in some cases shared with artist managers that work for Live Nation. The claims have no legal merit and Live Nation and Ticketmaster will continue to vigorously defend this case”.