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Musikmesse Fest: Just musical instruments… for now

Musikmesse, the Frankfurt trade event for the musical instrument (MI) industry, will this year incorporate a multi-venue music festival in the evenings after the show.

If that’s a model that sounds familiar to attendees of showcase festivals like Eurosonic Noorderslag and Reeperbahn Festival, those events needn’t be worried: although organisers want to “make Frankfurt the music capital of Europe” during Musikmesse and increase media attention on the show, “the focus of Musikmesse for 2016 remains unchanged”, Messe Frankfurt Exhibition vice-president Stephan Kurzawski tells IQ – for now, at least.

Musikmesse Festival, promoted by Weyand Entertainment, will feature performances by a mix of up-and-coming acts and “big names from genres ranging from rock and pop, via classic and jazz, to dance and electro”.

“It is not our primary aim to reach new exhibitor target groups, but we will, of course, review this option if it is called for by the market in the medium or long term”

“In the past, the synergies generated by Musikmesse, [pro-audio trade show] Prolight + Sound and the Live Entertainment Awards, which has been the overture to the fair for many years, have attracted many professionals from the live music industry to Frankfurt,” says Kurzawski. “And it will be exciting to see whether the effects of this interaction can be increased with the addition of the Musikmesse Festival.

While Kurzawski stresses that “it is not our primary aim to reach new exhibitor target groups” – ie agents and live music folk – with Musikmesse Festival, “we will, of course, review this option if it is called for by the market in the medium or long term”.

Musikmesse – and the not-a-showcase Musikmesse Festival – takes place from 7 to 10 April at the Messe Frankfurt exhibition centre.

Booking fee-free app Dice joins Apple Music

Google-backed ticketing app Dice has joined Apple Music as a playlist curator.

The British start-up, founded by Deadly People label boss Phil Hutcheon, aims to “give music back to the fans” by abolishing booking fees and – with each ticket irretrievably tied to the mobile device from which it was bought – taking on the touts. It was named by Apple as one of its best apps of 2015.

Other curators – which create ‘curator playlists’ for Apple Music users – include Pitchfork, Vice, Shazam, SBTV and XL Recordings.

Dice’s launch playlists include #TECHNOGYM (“THE very best in techno stompers new and old, ready for you to get your absolute pump on”) by Pat Mills and #POPBOPS by Josie Robs (“Her selections will be party-ready, powerful, pivotal, etc., but most of all, P.O.P.”).

It will also present three flagship series: ‘Live At’, featuring live recordings from some of the world’s most famous venues (the first is the Roundhouse in Camden); ‘Set List’, playing, as the same suggests, the set list from a gig the previous night (first up: The Maccabees in Brixton); and Lineup, featuring acts who’ve performed at some of the UK’s biggest festivals (starting with Field Day in Victoria Park).

Ticketfly grows in Canada with TicketBreak buyout

Ticketfly has acquired TicketBreak, a Canadian developer of ticketing systems for venues and event producers.

The acquisition by Ticketfly – which was itself acquired by internet radio-turned-streaming service Pandora in October – is “yet another illustration of how Ticketfly is redrawing the live events landscape”, says Andrew Dreskin, the company’s co-founder and CEO.

“The only thing bigger than Ticketfly in Canada is The Tragically Hip,” adds Dreskin somewhat implausibly (referring to a band who have had nine №1 albums and sold in excess of five million records and putting Ticketfly ahead of, for example, ice hockey, maple syrup, the Queen, Wolverine and poutine).

Ticketfly’s Canadian operations have grown rapidly since establishing an office in Toronto three years ago

Ticketfly’s Canadian operations have grown rapidly since establishing an office in Toronto (pictured) three years ago. Last year, it processed 1.4m tickets in Canada, generating over C$65 million in gross ticket sales, representing annual growth in excess of 60 per cent.

By buying TicketBreak Ticketfly will add 48 new venues and promoters to its Canadian roster, joining more than 120 pre-existing partners in the country, including the Vogue Theatre, Union Events, Collective Concerts, Inertia Entertainment and Atomique Productions.

“Ticketfly has made great efforts to ensure that our clients will continue to receive the excellent support and service that TicketBreak has offered,” says Iain Taylor, CEO of TicketBreak parent MapleCore. “This move supports our company’s strategic refocusing on other areas of the music business while providing TicketBreak clients with opportunities to serve their customers with Ticketfly’s top-level live events technology.”

Lieberberg to co-promote Rock am Ring/Rock im Park

Marek Lieberberg, the CEO of Live Nation Concerts Germany, will co-promote the CTS Eventim-owned Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals this year.

The twin festivals, which Lieberberg founded in 1985 and 1993, respectively, are owned by Eventim via its live music subsidiary Medusa Group, which owns Lieberberg’s former company, Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur (MLK). Lieberberg left MLK for the newly formed Live Nation Germany on 31 December 2015.

The festivals take place concurrently from 3 to 5 June – Rock am Ring in Mendig on an old airbase and Rock im Park at the Zeppelinfeld in Nuremberg. Combined they have an attendance of over 150,000.

Lieberg spoke about his decision to leave MLK, which he founded in 1987, for Live Nation at Eurosonic Noorderslag earlier this month.

Ticketscript launches v3 of self service platform

One of IQ’s most interesting meetings at Eurosonic Noorderslag a few weeks ago was with Frans Jonker, CEO of self-service ticketing provider Ticketscript, who previewed of the third incarnation of its white-label ticketing platform as it rolled out to over 15,000 clients worldwide.

Ticketscript specialises in integrating its ticketing software into companies’ “event websites, Facebook event pages, mobile apps…” said Jonker. “Wherever they want to sell tickets, we help them to integrate a ticket shop.”

Its clients include Groezrock, One Love, Summer Breeze, Deer Shed and Dauwpop festivals, venues such as the Ministry of Sound and Pacha in Barcelona and non-music events Truckfest and German Fashion Week.

Jonker cofounded Ticketscript with Ruben van den Heuvel in Amsterdam in 2006. “We initially focused on the electronic music scene,” he explained, “which, as we all know, has exploded over the years, so that was a good start for us.

“We saw that ticketing was based on the Ticketmaster model, where a third party takes control of ticketing […] and decided there was space for a new approach and a new player. The EDM scene has always been a quick adopter of new technology, so we were able to build our business quickly, first in the Netherlands and later on in Germany. Over the years the business progressed and expanded into the UK, Belgium and Spain…

“Our first shop was web based… The main difference was that you could download e-tickets, whereas every other company was still sending tickets by post”

Jonker admitted that pre-2006 he “wasn’t into events. It might sound a bit weird but I was much more of a pub guy, as you’d say in the UK – so I’d go to a café, meet friends there, have a drink. That was my social life. So I wasn’t an expert in events…

“My background is in law, actually, and in hotel management. I have a hospitality background, which I think was useful for setting up Ticketscript. Van den Heuvel, on the contrary, “was in the electronic music scene,” said Jonker (pictured), “and he was a programmer as well, so he had a tech background.

“I think when we came together it was quite good to have this completely fresh view on the event industry and the ticketing industry. I wasn’t biased by working for Ticketmaster first, or organising my own events – which can be very helpful, of course, but can also block your view…”

Frans Jonker, Ticketscript

Jonker firmly believes the ticketing world is shifting to a more local, artist-driven model. “The event organiser, promoter or even the artist has all these platforms to engage with their audience, to create a community. What you see happening is that they attract all the traffic themselves – to their Facebook pages, Twitter, their event pages, event apps – and then forward it to a third-party ticketing company.

“Which is crazy: there is no other online business which attracts traffic then sends it away to a third party…”

Ticketscript built its first digital ticket shop in those hazy pre-app days of 2006. “Every version lasts around four years,” Jonker explained. “[The 2006 shop] was a web-based version, a desktop experience – and the main difference [to other ticketing companies at the time] was that you could download e-tickets, whereas every other company was still sending tickets by post.

Ten years later, Ticketscript’s new-look ticket shop has, according to Jonker, five distinct improvements over its predecessors: Rather than utilise just a desktop and mobile version, the platform scales up and down depending on device; the software is fully integrated, blending in with customer’s branding across web, apps and social media; and inbuilt WhatsApp instant-messaging allows users to reserve tickets for their friends to later purchase

New Ticketscript ticket shop, January 2016

The new-look Ticketscript system adapts to location, with transactions completed in local languages and currencies; and powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Ticketscript says its servers “replicate data reliably with very low latency” during the first few hours of high-demand ticket sales. “This means you can sell more tickets and collect more data via any device,” says Jonker.

Jonker is banking on the new ticket shop being a success: he expects Ticketscript to turn over €200m in 2016. In preparation for its launch, the company hired a new chief financial officer, Mark Stork, earlier this month.

Watch the shop in action in the video below.

L’Olympia to host first Olympia-by-Night in Paris

The Olympia in Paris – the venue for Eagles of Death Metal’s return to the city on 16 February – has announced a new series of late-night events under the title ‘Olympia-by-Night’.

The first Olympia-by-Night event will be second TheSoundYouNeed Paris festival, co-presented by the eponymous video channel and Paris production agency Allo Floride.

Later that evening will be a performance by American electropop duo Odesza.

“The Olympia-by-Night events will be an opportunity to enlarge L’Olympia’s audience to new generations,” says the venue’s chairman, Simon Gilham. “By doing so, we also follow on a long-standing tradition of innovation for our concert hall, which has always been in tune with its time.”

Videos relating to the event will be posted on TheSoundYouNeed Dailymotion channel. The 1,996-capacity Olympia is operated by Vivendi, which also owns Dailymotion.

Eagles of Death Metal will give away free tickets to survivors of the Bataclan shootings when they play the Olympia next month. Ticket sales for live music events in Paris fell by roughly 80 per cent following the attacks on 13 November.

Donate a guitar, get free Barry Manilow tickets

Fanilows rejoice: Barry Manilow is giving away free tickets to his gig at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans tomorrow night.

The giveaway rewards anyone who donates a new or “gently used” musical instrument to New Orleans’s International School of Louisiana. Manilow himself has already gifted a Yamaha grand piano.

The singer’s Manilow Music Project charity has organised similar events across the US in its bid to “bring the gift of music” to schools.

Manilow is one of the most successful singers of all time, having sold at least 36.5m records since 1973.

Use of illegal ticket bots ‘widespread’ in NY

Eric Schneiderman, the attorney-general of New York, has warned that automated bots are contributing towards ticketing being a “fixed game” in the US’s fourth most populous state.

Ticket bots are illegal in New York (and the state’s senior senator, Chuck Schumer, is backing legislation to ban them nationwide) but Schneiderman found, using data supplied by ticketing companies, resellers and credit card companies, that they are still in widespread use.

A report titled Why Can’t New Yorkers Get Tickets? – the culmination of a three-year investigation by the attorney-general’s office into New York’s ticketing market, available to read in full later today – alleges that bots purchase tens of thousands of tickets in the state per year. It draws attention to U2’s 30 July 2015 show at Madison Square Garden, in which a single tout managed to buy 1,012 tickets in under a minute.

“Ticketing is a fixed game,” said Schneiderman in a statement. “My office will continue to crack down on those who break our laws, prey on ordinary consumers and deny New Yorkers affordable access to the concerts and sporting events they love.”

Ticket bots are illegal in New York but the attorney-general found that they are still in widespread use

Schneiderman’s report also criticised increasing numbers of incentivised presale tickets and those held for insiders and sponsors.

Its recommendations include requiring resellers to provide their broker licence numbers as a condition of using resale platforms; ending the state’s ban on non-transferable paperless tickets (any show using non-transferable paperless tickets is also currently required to offer them in transferable form, rather defeating their purpose); imposing criminal penalties for users of ticket bots; and capping permissible resale mark-ups.

Touts in New York were once limited in the mark-up they could apply to resale tickets – 45 per cent for tickets to venues with a capacity of over 6,000, and 20 per cent for those below – but governor Eliot Spitzer abolished the restriction in 2007.

The attorney-general last month pressured secondary-ticking sites StubHub, TicketNetwork and Vivid Seats to remove speculative listings for Bruce Springsteen’s 2016 The River Tour, arguing that listing tickets not yet in the seller’s possession constituted false advertising.

Earlier this month Washington state senator Marko Liias called for an investigation into ticket bots in his state after sites selling Adele tickets “locked up almost immediately after the tickets went on sale”.

Saan Trucking moves head office to Romania

Saan Trucking has moved its head office from the Netherlands to Romania.

The company, which specialises in bespoke transport solutions for the live entertainment industry, identified an opportunity to expand its business with a new group of trucks and drivers.

“The demand to support live entertainment productions with the right transport solution grows each year,” explains Rutger Alferink, Saan Trucking’s president. “We think that, given the fact that matching budgets has become a bigger part of the RFP/selection process, we can offer the best service for the best price.”

Rogier Lecluse, Saan Trucking’s operations manager, continues: “After a period of intensive training, the first group of Romanian drivers have been on the road for six months, and we plan to almost double their numbers this year. All the new drivers speak English and will form a team led by our Dutch drivers.”

Looking to the year ahead, Saan Trucking expects to sign “a few medium and large international tours”

The formerly Dutch-based company counts Cirque du Soleil, ID&T/SFX, a number of orchestras (including the Bolshoi Theatre Symphony Orchestra) and the Volvo Ocean Race among its clients.

Looking to the year ahead, Saan Trucking expects to sign “a few medium and large-size international tours” in 2016. Lecluse notes that the company still has some capacity left in the summer months.

Saan Trucking renewed its website earlier this year.

Stapp supports children’s charity on world tour

Scott Stapp will partner with children’s charity ChildFund on the US leg of his Proof of Life world tour to raise awareness of child sponsorship.

Stapp, the lead singer and co-founder of Creed, is playing dates in South Africa and the US to promote his second solo album.

“Each of my three children have been such a blessing, and while I can provide them with everything they need, I know there are others out there who don’t have the basics like food, shoes, clothes or clean water,” says Stapp. “I have always been passionate about helping others, and as a father I am proud to support ChildFund’s efforts to make a better life for children across the globe.”

Stapp and his wife Jaclyn, a children’s book author who founded the Children Are Magical Foundation, sponsor a number of children in the Philippines.