Songkick's antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation has taken a new twist after it filed an amended complaint accusing a former CrowdSurge and current Ticketmaster employee of hacking trade secrets.
Concert discovery and ticketing firm Songkick, which merged wih CrowdSurge in 2015, is suing Live Nation and its subsidiary Ticketmaster, alleging the firms have “exploited their monopoly power” by engaging in anti-competitive behaviour. The promoting giant is accused of pressuring touring artists and concert venues to not work with Songkick's service.
However, in newly-filed documents, Songkick alleges former Crowdsurge SVP Stephen Mead, who went on to join Ticketmaster-owned Ticketweb within a year of departing the firm, "improperly acquired" CrowdSurge trade secrets in order to revamp Ticketmaster's Artist Services division into a CrowdSurge "clone", called Ticketmaster On Tour.
"In documents produced in discovery, Songkick has learned that defendants have, through a former CrowdSurge senior vice-president, intentionally and without authorisation accessed CrowdSurge’s protected computers and improperly acquired and used CrowdSurge’s trade secrets and confidential information
"Despite signing a separation agreement forbidding him to do so, Mead proved willing and eager to share the requested confidential CrowdSurge information with... others at Ticketmaster because Mead’s goal, like those of defendants generally, was to 'bring down the hammer on Crowd[S]urge' and 'cut [CrowdSurge] off at the knees' using whatever means necessary."
Live Nation has dismissed the long-running lawsuit, initially filed in December 2015, as "baseless". "In late 2015, Songkick elected to file a baseless antitrust lawsuit against Ticketmaster," the company said in a statement. "Since then, the case has gone poorly for Songkick. It sought a preliminary injunction and lost, with the court concluding that Songkick’s complaint 'failed to show virtually any likelihood of success on the merits'. And the court granted in full defendants’ motion to dismiss a significant swath of Songkick’s antitrust claims concluding that 'there is no plausible argument' supporting the baseless position Songkick adopted.
"In the face of those adverse rulings, Songkick has been forced to conjure up a new set of dubious arguments and theories, resulting in the amended complaint they recently filed. 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 and Live Nation and Ticketmaster will continue to vigorously defend this case."