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Songkick Ticketing Operations to Shut Down (EXCLUSIVE)

Songkick, the ticketing company that for months has been embroiled in litigation against Ticketmaster, will shut down at the end of the month, according to a memo sent to clients that was obtained by Variety. The company, which specialized in selling tickets directly to fans through artists’ websites and fan clubs, will continue its lawsuit against Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation.  The suit includes allegations of antitrust violations and anticompetitive behavior.

“I’m sad to write that on October 31, Songkick will bow to pressure from Live Nation and Ticketmaster and complete the shutdown of all ticketing operations (including the design and maintenance of artist webpages) we began earlier this year when Ticketmaster and Live Nation effectively blocked our US ticketing business,” founder and CEO Matt Jones wrote in the letter. “Our antitrust, trade secret misappropriation and hacking lawsuit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster will continue unabated” (read the full letter below). He stressed that all of the company’s debts will be paid in full. The company sold off a number of assets to Warner Music Group over the summer.

A rep for Songkick had no comment when contacted by Variety.

The lawsuit, which also includes the ticketing service Crowdsurge (which merged with Songkick in 2015), claims that Ticketmaster hired one of CrowdSurge’s top executives, Stephen Mead, who hacked into his former employer’s database in order to provide real-time information about its plans. According to the suit, the hacking was so extensive that Ticketmaster was able to see which artists CrowdSurge was hoping to work with, giving Ticketmaster the opportunity to obtain the artists’ business. In February, Live Nation and Ticketmaster issued a statement noting that a significant portion of Songkick’s original anti-trust action had been dismissed by the court. “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,” the companies said.

The trial is scheduled to begin in November, according to the letter.

Songkick reached a peak in 2015 when it was hired by Adele to sell tickets directly to fans in an effort to cut out scalpers — and claimed it sold 235,000 tickets through her website — but has been consumed by the lawsuit in recent months. The 10-year-old company was founded by Jones, whose letter to clients follows in full.

“Before I say anything, let me say thank you.

Thank you to the artists and managers who entrusted us with their tickets and audience; to the agents, labels, promoters and venues that partnered with us to make artists’ visions into realities; and to the many – always committed and now nearly all former – employees of CrowdSurge and Songkick who worked tirelessly over the last 10 years with nothing short of a remarkable passion to better the live experience for artists and fans.

With that said, I’m sad to write that on October 31, Songkick will bow to pressure from Live Nation and Ticketmaster and complete the shutdown of all ticketing operations (including the design and maintenance of artist webpages) we began earlier this year when Ticketmaster and Live Nation effectively blocked our US ticketing business. Songkick’s concert discovery app, which was sold to Warner Music Group in July, will continue uninterrupted under the WMG umbrella.

Our antitrust, trade secret misappropriation and hacking lawsuit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster will continue unabated, with trial currently scheduled to begin in the second week of November, just a month from now. Many of you receiving this note have helped us immensely as we prepare for our day in court, and even as we shutter our business, we will remain focused on pursuing a legal victory and making the live music industry better for artists and fans.

If you are an artist, promoter or venue for whom we have sold tickets to a show occurring on a future date, you will be contacted individually over the following three business days to arrange for payment. All outstanding amounts will be paid in full.

If you are an artist, promoter or venue currently using our services to sell tickets, list shows, store customer data or power parts or all of your website, these services will become unavailable on October 27. 

On behalf of myself and all of my colleagues, it’s been a pleasure to work with you. Once again: thank you, for everything.

All the best,
MJ”

 

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