On October 12, Songkick, a tech start-up in the music industry, announced that it will stop selling tickets for good later this month. For the past decade, the company has helped music fans track live concerts in town and provided ticket services to fans directly through artists’ websites and fan clubs. Songkick peaked in 2015 when it handled ticket sales for Adele directly to her fans through its website to cut out scalpers. However, there were early signs that the company’s business has been winding down. Three months ago, Songkick, splitting in two, sold its concert recommendation segment to Warner Music Group. What Warner did not acquire was the company’s ticket business, which faces extremely fierce market competition from its rival Ticketmaster.
Songkick first filed a lawsuit in December 2015, accusing the merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, of antitrust violations. The merger was completed in January 2010 following Ticketmaster’s promise to U.S. Department of Justice to divest some assets. In March 2016, Songkick requested a temporary injunction for Ticketmaster’s alleged retaliation against its clients. U.S. District Court in Los Angeles rejected Songkick’s injunction request and dismissed its claim to challenge the merger.Early this year, Songkick battled with Ticketmaster and Live Nation again on grounds of unfair competition and misappropriation of information. This time, it alleged that one of its former employees who now works for Ticketmaster used Songkick’s trade secrets to steal customers. Last Monday, Songkick asked a California court to sanction Ticketmaster for failing to produce nearly 4,000 documents during initial discovery. Ticketmaster responded that it was due to unintentional human error at a rate of 0.22 percent.
Ying Li is an Entertainment Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current L.L.M. student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2018).