2015 was the year that artists and their teams learned the advantages of and profits earned from selling directly to fans. It's a hugely disruptive shift that is threatening to those who profit from their position as an intermediary; and few in the old guard have been as protective of their gatekeeper status as Ticketmaster.
Concert listings and direct to fan ticketing platform Songkick has taken Live Nation and its ticketing arm Ticketmaster to court. Their federal court filing alleges that the world's largest concert promoter abuses its market power to control the sale of tickets direct to fans via the artists websites and fan clubs and interfering with Songkick’s business in violation of U.S. antitrust laws.
"repeatedly engaged in the anti-competitive acts"
Ticketing deals typically allow artists to sell 8-10% of available tickets direct to their fan clubs via a pre-sale. But according to the filing, Live Nation and Ticketmaster "attempted to destroy competition in the artist presale ticketing services market.” Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino was named specifically and charged with "personally and repeatedly engaged in the anti-competitive acts giving rise to this complaint."
Songkick says it has specific proof of abuse which it will admit into evidence once a court order protecting the artists involved is in place. After being bullied by Ticketmaster, one artist manager allegedly told Songkick, "Ticketmaster bullying is out of control and we’re not going to be able to do all tour pre-sales off-platform. They are just sticking it to us too hard.”
Live Nation and Ticketmaster have not yet responded to the charges publicly.
Success With Adele & $10 Million In Funding
Songkick made headlines recently after successfully handing fan club pre-sales for the much anticipated Adele tours in Europe and the U.S. The startup also just landed $10 million in new funding from Access Industries, the holding company that owns Warner Music Group.