In news that will come as little shock to fans who have ever bought an event ticket in the Live Nation/Ticketmaster-dominated United States market, much of their fees are not defendable. What is surprising is that Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino admitted that fact in emails that have come to light related to the ongoing lawsuit the entertainment giant is facing from Songkick.
Billboard is reporting that Rapino’s comments, which were made public as part of an order by U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer rejecting a motion to seal or redact files being entered into evidence, included that some of Ticketmaster’s fees are “not defendable” and that the company needs a “simpler more artist friendly policy/rule to meet the reality of today.”
Songkick, which sold its music sharing app to WMG earlier this year and announced last week that the rest of the business would soon be shuttered, is accusing Live Nation of anti-competitive practices and using inside information from former employees against it – leading to the recent departure of two central to the accusations from Ticketmaster.
In a statement to Billboard, Live Nation said that “documents cited indicate that Michael Rapino favored lower ticketing fees and changes to Ticketmaster’s Fan Club Policy that would benefit artists. We are at a loss to understand why that is a bad thing. The truth is that Songkick’s lawsuit has interfered with the natural evolution of these policies, harming both artists and fans.”
Both sides are in court on Monday as the judge hears arguments from both sides on whether or not Live Nation/Ticketmaster should be sanctioned for handing over some 4,000 documents – including those that form the core of Songkick’s allegations of theft of intellectual property – well past the deadline. Ticketmaster has argued that the delay was merely an oversight among the much larger volume of documents the company had handed over in a timely fashion.
When announcing that the ticketing portion of Songkick would shut down as of October 31st, Songkick founder Matt Jones set a defiant tone and indicated that he looked forward to Songkick’s day in court against the company he believes acted improperly.
“Our antitrust, trade secret misappropriation and hacking lawsuit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster will continue unabated,” Jones wrote. “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.”