Songkick allows artists to pre-sell tickets ahead of general ticket sales, and the anonymous employee was also accused of sharing URLs that led to drafts of these ticketing pages. A Ticketmaster executive wanted the company to aim to “stifle” its competitor and “steal one of the [its] customers’ signature, ”the lawsuit wrote.
In January 2014, Coconspirator-1 sent Zaidi and a second Ticketmaster executive several sets of usernames and passwords for the toolkits. Coconspirator-1 urged leaders to “grab the hell out of the system,” but also warned: “I must stress that since it is an access to a live [victim company] I would be careful what you click on as it would be better not to [to] gift that we poke around.(Emphasis in original.) The information from the toolkits was then used to prepare a presentation for other senior executives that aimed to “compare” Ticketmaster’s offerings to those of the victim company.
The DoJ said the information was also shared within Ticketmaster. “Ticketmaster employees brazenly staged a division-wide ‘summit’ in which stolen passwords were used to gain access to victimized company computers, as if it was an appropriate business tactic.” , wrote DuCharme. “Ticketmaster used stolen information to gain an advantage over its competition, then promoted employees who broke the law.”
In 2018, Ticketmaster paid Songkick $ 110 million as part of a settlement following a lawsuit accusing Ticketmaster of abusing its market power to control ticket sales. Ticketmaster also paid an undisclosed sum to acquire the Songkick technology and patents. During the trial, Songkick also accused Ticketmaster of corporate espionage, which allegedly caught the attention of the DoJ, according to the New York Times.
The $ 10 million fine appears to be a light punishment given the charges and the fact that Live Nation has seen $ 11.5 billion in revenue for 2019. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the company’s operations significantly, with third-quarter 2020 revenue of $ 184 million compared to $ 3.8 billion in the third quarter of 2019, a decrease of more than 95%. In one declaration, a Ticketmaster spokesperson said: “Ticketmaster terminated both Zaidi and Mead in 2017, after their behavior came to light. Their actions violated our company policies and were incompatible with our values. We are pleased that this issue has now been resolved. “