Live sector, internet
Songkick’s legal battle with Live Nation is heating up, with Songkick filing new court papers in connection with their claim. Interestingly, Live Nation subsidiary Ticketmaster has also confirmed a new relationship with Bandsintown – a direct Songkick rival: now Bandsintown users will be able to buy tickets for shows through Ticketmaster within the Bandsintown app – a process that will make the ticket buying experience more seamless, according to the new partners. “By building on Ticketmaster’s new capabilities, we have dramatically improved the user experience, strengthening artists’ and promoters’ ability to sell out shows” said Bandsintown CEO Fabrice Sergent.
Songkick, the website and mobile service that provides tickets and personalised calendars for live music events, sued Live Nation last December, alleging that the live entertainment firm – which is a significant player in tour and festival promotion, venues, ticketing and artist management – was holding the artists it works with to ransom, especially in the US, if they decided to collaborate with the gig recommendations service (such as the likes of Songkick) on fan club pre-sales. Songkick has been increasingly moving into ticketing itself – firstly merging with direct-to-fan platform Crowdsurge, and more recently Songkick has been working with artists on selling tickets to fans before they go on general release, including its efforts to prevent pre-sale tickets for Adele’s current tour falling into the hands of touts.
Songkick’s litigation against Live Nation now includes claims that the live music and events group has further complicated and hindered Songkick’s business prospects since the original lawsuit was filed late last year. Reports in the Wall Street Journal disclose that Songkick’s new legal filing state that Live Nation has been demanding Songkick pays it what the corporation would have earned if the artist pre-sales had been processed by Ticketmaster. The new filing also alleges that a senior Ticketmaster exec has admitted that the new demands Live Nation is now making are a direct result of Songkick’s December lawsuit.
In its response to the litigation, Live Nation has reportedly said that while it is customary to give artists an allocation of tickets to sell direct to signed-up fans – the exact allocation varying according to deal, and often country – as the promoter it still ultimately controls those tickets and therefore is within its rights to dictate terms about how they are sold.
Songkick has filed the law suit in he U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, saying that Live Nation is in violation of federal antitrust laws. It is understood that an initial court hearing is scheduled for April.