On Wednesday, Ticketmaster decided to pay a $10 million fine to avoid litigation over federal charges accusing the corporation of hacking a start-up rival’s computing infrastructure.
In what has been a long-running legal dispute that questioned Ticketmaster’s control of ticket sales for concerts by major music artists, a judge in federal court in New York City signed off on the contract. The Live Nation affiliate has faced several allegations of collusion against a Brooklyn-based corporation named Songkick to conduct hacking and wire fraud.
To end a civil suit filed by Songkick, Ticketmaster has already paid $110 million in 2018.
Court papers accused Ticketmaster of attempting to penetrate Songkick’s generated programmes for musicians who had employed the startup to help directly sell up to 10 percent of seats through their fan clubs for U.S. tours. The deal was seen as a means of thanking loyal customers while thwarting scalpers, and also something that the Ticketmaster empire might eat into revenues.
“Ticketmaster workers “repeatedly and inappropriately hacked the servers of a rival without consent to improperly obtain potential business information using compromised passwords,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme.
On Wednesday, a statement from Ticketmaster said that the actions concerned only two staff who were fired in 2017.
“Their behaviour violated our corporate policies and was inconsistent with our principles,” the statement added. “We are delighted that this matter has been resolved now.”
Messages have been left with Warner Music Company, Songkick’s new owner.
The device, founded in 2014 by a former Songkick employee who joined Ticketmaster and a colleague there, tried to break into accounts so that they could recognise and dissuade Songkick’s customers from doing business with the business, prosecutors said in court papers.
One of the workers boasted that Ticketmaster could “cut off (the victim company) at the knees” in internal correspondence if it could take back the pre-sale ticketing market for an unspecified big artist, the papers said.