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IMP’s Seth Hurwitz charged with soliciting prostitution

Seth Hurwitz, chairman of US promoter and venue operator IMP, has been charged with soliciting prostitution after he attempted to purchase sex from a masseuse in Montgomery County, Maryland.

According to Montgomery County Department of Police, Hurwitz, 60, is alleged to have solicited sex from an unidentified “licensed massage and physical therapist” at her place of business on the afternoon of Thursday 15 August.

“During the massage session, Hurwitz made sexual comments and inappropriate sexual motions,” reads the police report. “He implied to the victim that her tip would be greater if she performed sexual acts. The victim also noted that Hurwitz had left a roll of cash laying on the floor in plain view in the massage room.

“Twice during the interaction, Hurwitz asked the victim if she would consider coming to his home and providing a massage. The victim declined. The victim ended the massage early due to Hurwitz’s increasing inappropriate sexual behaviour.”

The masseuse reported the alleged solicitation on the 16th.

“The victim also noted that Hurwitz had left a roll of cash laying on the floor in plain view”

“Later that day, Hurwitz texted the victim’s business phone,” the police statement continues. “He texted and called her the next day (August 16), asking if she would come to his home. In a text conversation and a phone call between the victim and Hurwitz, during which vice and intelligence unit detectives were present with the victim, Hurwitz agreed to pay cash in exchange for the victim performing sexual favours.

“In a follow-up text conversation, Hurwitz said that he would come to the business on August 21.”

Hurwitz was arrested as he arrived at the massage parlour yesterday, Wednesday 21 August. After being charged with solicitation for prostitution, he was released on US$5,000 bail.

According to Montgomery County police, statements Hurwitz made “during conversations with the victim about having similar arrangements with other women” lead investigators to believe there may be additional alleged victims.

Hurwitz owns two Washington music venues, the 9:30 Club (1,200-cap.) and the Anthem (6,000-cap.). IMP additionally promotes shows at the Merriweather Post Pavilion (19,319-cap.) in Columbus, Maryland, and the Lincoln Theater (1,225-cap.) in Washington.

 


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Onsales pushed back as Ticketfly remains offline

More than 24 hours after their shutdown following a cyberattack, Ticketfly’s systems and website remain offline, forcing partners to push back onsales or migrate to parent company Eventbrite.

Washington DC-based IMP Productions, which operates the 9:30 club (1,200-cap.), the Anthem (6,000-cap.) and the Lincoln Theatre (1,225-cap.), has four show onsales scheduled for today – Florence and the Machine/Beth Ditto, Eric Hutchinson/Jeremy Messersmith, Garbage and the Bentzen Ball – all of which have been pushed back a week. In a statement, the company thanks both Ticketfly, which is “working hard to securely restore its ticketing system”, and customers, for their “continued patience through these ongoing issues”.

Also affected is Chicago’s Jam Productions, as well as a host of venues, including Colorado’s Fox Theatre (500-cap.), New York’s Birdland Jazz Club (200-cap.), Vermont’s Higher Ground Music (900-cap.) and the Chameleon Club (1,000-cap.) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, all of whose Ticketfly-powered websites are down. Jam’s Friday onsales are being processed by Eventbrite.

Ticketfly.com has been down since yesterday afternoon, after coming under attack from a hacker or hacking group identifying themselves as ‘IsHaKdZ’.

‘IsHaKdZ’ replaced the website’s homepage with a picture of a figure in a Guy Fawkes mask – the V for Vendetta style, as adopted by hacking collective Anonymous – and provided a link to 4,283 CSV spreadsheets, which it suggested contained the personal information of thousands of Ticketfly ‘members’, or customers (screenshot below).

Ticketfly members CSVs

The company confirmed this morning that client and customer data was compromised in the attack, although the severity of the breach is not yet known.

The timing of the hack is especially sensitive, coming just a week after the implementation of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which compels all companies – even those outside the EU, but which hold data on EU citizens – to ensure “an appropriate level of security” to protect data from theft or destruction.

A person close to the situation says, since Ticketfly administrators are still “examining the extent of what’s happened”, it’s too early to say if any European customers have been affected by the breach – although it’s a possibility.

“It’s a forensic investigation. They’re dealing with huge amounts of data”

“Ticketfly is only really active in North America,” they tell IQ, “but it’s completely possible that, say, someone on holiday in Miami bought a ticket to see a show. If that data was then compromised, that would of course affect GDPR.”

Another source says the internal investigation into the attack is proceeding with “forensic” precision. “They’ve taken it very seriously,” they say. “It’s a forensic investigation. They’re dealing with huge amounts of data.”

At press time, there are conflicting reports as to the hackers’ demands – according to CNET, ‘IsHaKdZ’ had previously demanded one bitcoin (currently worth around US$7,500) to fix a security exploit in Ticketfly.com’s code, and downed the site when the ransom was not paid.

The attacker claims to have obtained also Ticketfly’s ‘backstage’ database, which is believed to contain client, rather than customer, information.

 


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Roof collapse at Merriweather Post Pavilion

Merriweather Post Pavilion bosses have said the Columbia, Maryland, amphitheatre is to open as planned for its 2018 concert season following a roof collapse in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The 19,319-capacity venue was in the final stages of a five-year renovation project when the roof, which was being hydraulically lifted 20 feet to improve sightlines from the lawn, “unexpectedly fell” when nearly in its final position, explains Seth Hurwitz, chairman of venue operator IMP Concerts.

No one was hurt in the accident, and a “team of experts” is assessing the reason for the collapse, he adds.

“The winds of fate decided that, instead of simply raising the roof, we should just go ahead and built a new one”

“Last night, in the middle of our months-long roof raising operation, the winds of fate prevailed and decided that, instead of simply raising the roof, we should just go ahead and built a new one,” Hurwitz says in a statement. “Was not our decision, but the bright side is all the money we save on imploding.

“Nobody was hurt. That is, of course, the most important thing. [And the] second most: everything will be ready for season opening.”

Merriweather Post Pavilion last summer celebrated the 50th anniversary of its opening with a host of upgrades and a party and concert featuring performances from Jackson Browne – who recorded three songs from 1977’s Grammy-nominated Running on Empty live at the venue – Willie Nelson and Father John Misty.

 


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