Ticketmaster Pays $10 Million To End Criminal Prosecution For Songkick Hacking Case

Zeeshan Zaidi – Zeeshan Zaidi
Zeeshan Zaidi, Ticketmaster’s former VP/GM of OnTour within Ticketmaster, who was at the center of the Songkick hacking scandal.

Ticketmaster agreed last week to pay a $10 million fine to close the book on criminal charges of hacking into Songkick’s systems.

Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said Ticketmaster “repeatedly — and illegally — accessed a competitor’s [Songkick’s] computers without authorization using stolen passwords to unlawfully collect potential business intelligence.”

A federal court judge approved the deferred prosecution agreement on Dec. 30 in New York, ending the criminal charges facing Ticketmaster for the Songkick case, which included conspiracy to commit hacking and wire fraud. Ticketmaster is also required to report to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to check on its compliance with the terms of measures set in place with the fine, according to Variety.   

A civil suit from Songkick was effectively settled in 2018 when Live Nation acquired Songkick’s ticketing services and patent portfolio from Complete Entertainment Resources Group, Inc. for a lump sum payment of $110 million.

That suit claimed that Stephen Mead, the former director of Ticketmaster artist-services unit who was a former Songkick exec, hacked Songkick’s computers and improperly accessed proprietary data. Songkick also accused Zeeshan Zaidi, the Senior VP/GM of its concert and touring division OnTour, of misconduct in its lawsuit. Ticketmaster sent Pollstar a statement that Mead and Zaidi are no longer with the company and any criminal conduct was limited to those two employees.

“Ticketmaster terminated both Zaidi and Mead in 2017, after their conduct came to light,” the statement read. “Their actions violated our corporate policies and were inconsistent with our values. We are pleased that this matter is now resolved.”

Songkick effectively ceased all ticketing operations in October 2017 and CEO/Founder Matt Jones placed 100 percent of the blame on Live Nation and Ticketmaster writing, “Songkick will bow to pressure from Live Nation and Ticketmaster and complete the shutdown of all ticketing operations (including the design and maintenance of artist webpages) we began earlier this year when Ticketmaster and Live Nation effectively blocked our U.S. ticketing business.”

Warner Music Group acquired Songkick’s concert-discovery app, website and naming rights in 2017, but left the ticketing to be acquired by Ticketmaster.

Songkick and Ticketmaster announced a partnership with Spotify in September of last year meaning virtual events would be included in the streaming platform’s “On Tour” tab and concert hub.