Industry News

Songkick accuses Ticketmaster of hacking system

Songkick has accused Ticketmaster and Live Nation of hacking its systems to steal trade secrets and confidential information.

In the latest development in its long-running lawsuit, the event discovery and ticket vendor made accusations against Ticketmaster employee Stephen Mead, formerly of CrowdSurge. It also alleged figures as high as Live Nation chief executive Michael Rapino was aware of the subterfuge.

Songkick acquired Crowdsurge in June 2015, around six months before it began legal proceedings against Ticketmaster. The hacking was said to have taken place between 2013 and 2015.

In an amended complaint filed in US District Court in California, Songkick claims Mead departed CrowdSurge in July 2012 with as many as 85,000 documents. These included “a suite of proprietary service offerings; financial information, such as ticket sales, merchandise revenues, quarterly profitability, and forecasts of various kinds; cost and pricing data; customer information; and other non-public information of economic value”.

Mead later joined Ticketmaster’s artist services division, where he used the stolen data to create “a clone of CrowdSurge called Ticketmaster OnTour”.

Songkick added that Mead was directed by Ticketmaster senior vice-president Zeeshan Zaidi, among others, to “use his knowledge of CrowdSurge’s internal systems to improperly access those systems for purposes of monitoring CrowdSurge’s potential and actual artist-clients, staying abreast of what CrowdSurge was doing and, ultimately, to ‘cut [CrowdSurge] off at the knees’”.

Songkick further alleged that the information Mead obtained was then presented to the Live Nation hierarchy, including chief executive Rapino.

Live Nation denied the accusations in a statement, noting that Songkick’s movement for a preliminary injunction had been denied in a Los Angeles court last May.

“In late 2015, Songkick elected to file a baseless antitrust lawsuit against Ticketmaster,” said Live Nation. “Since then, the case has gone poorly for Songkick. It sought a preliminary injunction and lost, with the court concluding that Songkick’s complaint ‘failed to show virtually any likelihood of success on the merits.’ And the court granted in full defendants’ motion to dismiss a significant swath of Songkick’s antitrust claims concluding that ‘there is no plausible argument’ supporting the baseless position Songkick adopted.

“In the face of those adverse rulings, Songkick has been forced to conjure up a new set of dubious arguments and theories, resulting in the amended complaint 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.”