The battle between Live Nation and ticketing platform Songkick is ratcheting up over fan club presales as the companies swap accusations over an antitrust lawsuit against Ticketmaster and its parent company in December.
After being accused of violating antitrust laws by defining fan clubs that can access tickets for presale, and attempting to “force” artists to sell their presale tickets on Songkick for no less than what they are priced on TM’s own secondary platform, Live Nation is now being accused of retaliation.
According to Songkick’s motion filed in a Los Angeles federal court March 21, Live Nation has allegedly demanded that “Songkick pay the company what it would have earned if Ticketmaster, rather than Songkick, had conducted the concert ‘presales’” for the company’s clients, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Live Nation in a statement said that the “right to ticket artist presales is ‘explicitly within the scope’ of its exclusive rights and that it is not obligated to relinquish this right, though it does share up to 8% of tickets with artists ‘as an accommodation,’” according to the WSJ.
The motion reportedly alleges that a TM exec admitted the company “made these demands and escalated their anticompetitive conduct in this way” because of Songkick’s lawsuit. In its motion, Songkick also reportedly asks the court to prevent Live Nation from charging extra fees for fan club holds it allocates to artists – typically 8 percent to 10 percent of the inventory.
The filing gives what Songkick says are examples of “retaliatory” behavior, including one involving Alabama Shakes and its fan club. Shortly after the band started using Songkick to sell its presale allotment, according to the WSJ, it was notified it didn’t comply with Ticketmaster’s fan-club policy and told it couldn’t sell tickets for two Live Nation-promoted shows unless Songkick paid the service fees that Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster would have charged.
58th annual Grammy Awards, Staples Center in Los Angeles.
February 15, 2016
“Alabama Shakes fans would have had to pay fees of at least 30% to 47% of the face value of their tickets,” the motion said. The band reportedly decided against using Songkick for further presales.
“Weird Al” Yankovic’s fan club faced a similar charge, but Yankovic reportedly absorbed the fees by raising presale ticket prices because the “alternative was to lose the long-planned artist presale for the tour,” according to the WSJ.
In its statement, Live Nation reportedly says that Songkick is “a serial violator of Ticketmaster’s fan club policies.”