For the international contemporary live music industry

Court case ditched as Live Nation pays more than $110m for Songkick

United States -
World News
January 31, 2018
Matt Jones

A $110 million out-of-court settlement has put an end to the long-raging legal battle between now defunct event discovery and ticketing company Songkick and Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) and its Ticketmaster (TM) subsidiary.

LNE has also agreed to pay an undisclosed sum, believed to be substantial, for Songkick’s ticketing platform, anti-scalping (touting) algorithm, patents and other assets, from owner Complete Entertainment Resources Group (CERG).

Founded in the UK, Songkick merged with white-label ticketing company CrowdSurge in 2015 and specialised in direct-to-fan (DTF) services for artistes such as Adele, Paul McCartney, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Mumford & Sons.

Finding progress in the US effectively blocked by TM’s exclusive deals with venues and insistence on being paid booking fees for DTF allocations, Songkick instigated legal action against LNE and TM in 2015, alleging “anti-competitive behaviour”.

The lawsuit was amended last year to include fresh allegations that former CrowdSurge senior vice-president Stephen Mead, who left the company in 2012 and joined TM-owned Ticketweb the following year, had illegally accessed and shared up to 85,000 confidential documents belonging to his former employer (see Audience issue 205).

Mead and then TM senior vice-president of artiste services Zeeshan Zaidi were named in the lawsuit, with Zaidi claimed to have made use of the information allegedly procured by Mead. In October it was confirmed that the two had left the company.

Songkick/CERG’s principle investor billionaire Len Blavatnik and his Access Industries which owns Warner Music Group (WMG), led a $16m funding round when Songkick and CrowdSurge merged. He invested a further $10m in December 2015 and $15m in August 2016. In total Songkick received more than $60m in investment over its lifetime.

WMG acquired Songkick’s concert discovery platform, including its app, website and company trademark in July 2017 (see Audience issue 210).

The ticketing side of Songkick, as CERG, continued separately until last October when it shut down stating that it would “bow to pressure from Live Nation and Ticketmaster” (see Audience issue 213). Despite this CERG had continued to pursue its legal action against LNE.

“We are pleased that we were able to resolve this dispute and avoid protracted and costly legal proceedings, while also acquiring valuable assets,” says LNE president Joe Berchtold.

CERG CEO and Songkick founder Jones says, “We are glad to have resolved this litigation and thank all the employees, artistes and industry partners who contributed so much to our many successes over the last decade.”

Although the case may be over, it is understood that an FBI investigation into the actions of Mead and Zaidi is ongoing.

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