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Songkick to shutter ticketing division

CEO Matt Jones says Songkick remains "focused on pursuing a legal victory" over Live Nation…but that its ticketing business has been "effectively blocked" by its opponent

By Jon Chapple on 13 Oct 2017

Matt Jones, Ian Hogarth, Songkick

Jones (left) with Songkick founder Ian Hogarth


Songkick is to shut down its ticketing operation at the end of October, founder and CEO Matt Jones has said in an email to clients.

Songkick, a concert discovery platform, has sold tickets since June 2015, when it merged with white-label ticketing platform Crowdsurge, partnering with artists including Adele and Metallica to sell directly to fans through websites and fan clubs. Label giant Warner Music Group acquired “selected assets” of Songkick – everything bar its ticketing business and all associated “pending litigation” – in July.

That litigation concerns a legal battle with Live Nation/Ticketmaster, which the company initiated in December 2015 over alleged abuses of its “monopoly power” to stifle competition. Despite stepping back from ticketing, Jones says the lawsuit, which is set to begin in November, will continue “unabated”.

“I’m sad to write that on 31 October, 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,” Jones writes in the letter, first obtained by Variety and confirmed as genuine by IQ. “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.”

“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”

The lawsuit accuses Stephen Mead and Zeeshan Zaida, two former Crowdsurge/Songkick employees who moved to Ticketmaster, of illegally accessing confidential Songkick information with the intention of turning it over to their new employer, reports Amplify. Both have since exited Ticketmaster.

Jones concludes his letter by thanking all Crowdsurge/Songkick employees and clients, “who [have] worked tirelessly over the last ten years with nothing short of a remarkable passion to better the live experience 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,” he writes. “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 27 October. 

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

 


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