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IQ remembers the musical talent lost in 2016

The deaths in December of George Michael and Status Quo founder Rick Parfitt have brought 2016 to a sad end. Quite simply, none of us can remember a year that claimed so many celebrities, with barely a week going by without the news of some musician who had helped to shape the lives of at least some of us.

While the likes of David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen might steal most of the headlines, we thought it would be an idea to remind everyone of the breadth of artistry to which the world has said goodbye, from the young members of Viola Beach, who perished along with their manager in a car accident in February, and the murder of Christina Grimmie in June, to conductor and composer Harry Rabinowitz, who celebrated his 100th birthday just three months before his death. 

25 December: George Michael, aged 53

24 December: Rick Parfitt, 68

11 December: Valerie Gell, 71

7 December, Greg Lake, 69

24 November: Colonel Abrams, 67

21 November: Jean Shepard, 82

20 November: Craig Gill, 44

18 November: Sharon Jones, 60

13 November: Leon Russell, 74

7 November, Leonard Cohen, 82

25 October: Bobby Vee, 73

23 October: Pete Burns, 57

8 October: Phil Chess, 95

5 October: Joan Marie Johnson, 72

5 October: Rod Temperton, 66

2 October: Sir Neville Marriner, 92

24 September: Stanley Dural Jr., 68

21 September, John D. Loudermilk, 82

1 September: Fred Hellerman, 89

28 August: Juan Gabriel, 66

24 August: Billy Paul, 80

20 August: Matt Roberts, 38

9 August: Padraig Duggan, 67

6 August: Pete Fountain, 86

16 July: Alan Vega, 78

28 June: Scotty Moore, 84

24 June: Bernie Worrell, 72

22 June: Harry Rabinowitz, 100

17 June: Attrell Cordes, 46

10 June: Christina Grimmie, 22

3 June: Dave Swarbrick, 75

21 May: Nick Menza, 51

17 May: Guy Clark, 74

21 April: Prince, 57

12 April: David Gest, 62

11 April: Emile Ford, 78

6 April: Merle Haggard, 79

22 March: Phife Dawg, 45

20 March: Andy ‘Thunderclap’ Newman, 73

16 March: Frank Sinatra Jr., 72

14 March: Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, 81

11 March: Keith Emerson, 71

10 March: Ernestine Anderson, 87

8 March: Sir George Martin, 90

5 March: Nikolaus Harnoncourt, 86

4 March: Joey Feek, 40

25 February: John Chilton, 83

15 February: Denise Matthews, 57

13 February: Kris Leonard, 20; River Reeves, 19; Thomas Lowe, 27; Jack Dakin, 19; Craig Tarry, 33

 4 February: Maurice White, 74

28 January: Paul Kantner, 74

26 January: Colin Vearncombe, 53

18 January, Glenn Frey, 67

17 January: Dale Griffin, 67

16 January: René Angélil, 73

10 January: David Bowie, 69

7 January: Kitty Kallen, 93

5 January: Pierre Boulez, 90

4 January: Robert Stigwood, 81

IQTV: Kelly Chappel, Live Nation

Welcome to the fourth episode of IQTV, IQ’s new YouTube video series featuring revealing interviews and insights from some of the biggest players in the international live music business.

Following interviews with Thomas Johansson, Andy Copping and Mark Yovich, this week we catch up with Live Nation’s VP of European Touring, Kelly Chappel. The video forms part of a series commemorating Live Nation’s 10th year in the business.

In an interview filmed at ILMC 28 in March, Chappe ltalks getting into the live music business, advice for people starting out, and booking her dream line up…

 


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16 in 2016: The year in review

With 2016 drawing to a close, in many aspects, it’s been a banner year for the live music business. So in case you miss our regular Index email updates, or recently emerged from a time capsule, here’s 16 key 2016 takeaways (in no particular order) from the year that nearly was…

1. Seconds out, round…?

As IQ wrote last week in our investigation into take-up of dynamic ticket pricing, “if 2016 will be remembered in the live music business for any one thing, it will be as the 12 months in which the pitchforks well and truly came out against secondary ticketing”.

While the UK, as it often tends to, hogged the lion’s share of the headlines, the backlash against what the FanFair Alliance calls “industrial-scale” ticket touting was a truly global phenomenon, with American congressmen, Belgian ministers and promoters in SwitzerlandJapan and, most successfully, Italy also all getting in on the action.

Look for continued action in this area in 2017 as the boundaries between primary and secondary continue to blur, calls for greater transparency continue, and more income is driven back to the industry, out of the hands of those who contribute nothing to it.

2. The Ticketing Gold Rush

One of the key topics tackled in this year’s International Ticketing Yearbook was the increasing appetite for ticketing by the world’s biggest online players. After Alibaba Group, the $14bn Chinese ecommerce giant, launched event ticketing operation Tao Piao Piao in May, Amazon caught the industry’s attention with several hires in the UK for the new Amazon Tickets, the start of a bid to become “Earth’s most customer-centric ticketing company”.

“From an artist or sports franchise point of view, any channel that will allow [major ecommerce companies] direct access to the end consumer is powerful and attractive,”

Slightly closer to home, Spotify unveiled a tie-up with Ticketmaster in November, Songkick is settled into its dual role as concert recommendation and ticketing app and Apple Music is dabbling the live space on the current Drake tour. Initial hiccups in some areas aside, 2016 could well be remembered as the moment the ticket started to go where the fans are.

“From an artist or sports franchise point of view, any channel that will allow [major ecommerce companies] direct access to the end consumer is powerful and attractive,” comments ticketing consultant Tim Chambers.

3. Live domi-Nation

The world’s leading live entertainment group showed no signs of bringing its ten-year buying spree to an end in 2016, making no less than eight major acquisitions.

Bonnaroo/AC Entertainment, French promoter Nous Productions, Greek ticketing company TicketHour, Australia’s Secret Sounds (Splendour in the Grass/Falls Festival), Canadian festival promoter Union Events, Sweden Rock festival, Big Concerts in South Africa and YouTube multi-channel network InDMusic were amongst those becoming part of the Live Nation family this year, to the tune of more than US$113 million.

“As we look forward, we see tremendous opportunities to continue global consolidation of our concerts and ticketing businesses, with further growth in advertising and ticketing from the concerts flywheel,” said CEO Michael Rapino in a Q3 statement.

4. Splendid isolation?

On 23 June, in the first major political upset of the year (bet you can’t guess no.2!), the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU), ending more than 40 years of political and economic union with continental Europe.

Thanks to a two-year exit process – which won’t even begin until next March – we’re still no closer to discovering the effect Brexit has on the international live music industry, although a common sentiment in the UK has been to stress the importance of prioritising the creative industries in any future divorce settlement.

“There is a very real risk that skills shortages in the UK will be made worse – at least in the short to medium term”

Industry body Creative Industries Federation called last month for the UK to retain freedom of movement with the rest of bloc – something especially important for touring artists and crew, many of whom have spoken of their opposition to the return of border visas. “There is a very real risk that skills shortages in the UK will be made worse – at least in the short to medium term – by any restriction on freedom of movement that comes with tightening immigration laws and the UK leaving the European Union,” said the federation.

5. Pollsters Trumped

Despite a majority of analysts predicting a victory for Hillary Clinton in last month’s US presidential election, it was not to be: the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, was victorious in 30 of 50 states, and will be inaugurated as president in January.

Like Brexit, the implications for the touring business of a Trump presidency are still unclear, but Nederlander Concerts CEO Alex Hodges seemed to sum up the mood in the Americas when he told IQ the day after the elections: “The show must go on”.

6. Good times

While Q4 and end of year figures are yet to be published, there are few who’d believe that 2016 was a slow year for live music. Billboard puts the value of the US live music business at a staggering $25billion in 2016, with performance show averages up 25% worldwide (43% in the US) and average per-show attendance up 30% globally (29% in the US).

“The top two global tours grossed more than a half-billion dollars in what has been a great year for the concert business.”

Pollstar, which traditionally offers a more accurate barometer of US market health, has yet to reveal annual numbers, but reports: “the top two global tours [Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé] grossed more than a half-billion dollars in what has been a great year for the concert business.” Pollstar’s Q3 results pegged the top 100 tours up a more modest 3% year-on-year on combined grosses, with average tickets up 7.6%.

7. Rebates under debate

In terms of page views, IQ’s biggest story of 2016 was the revelation that an increasing number of artists are choosing to bypass their local PROs (for example, PRS) in favour of collecting performance royalties directly.

Direct licensing, as it’s known, presents a headache for festival promoters – the vast majority of which have one-stop, blanket licences – with many facing the prospect of paying multiple licensees: the PRO (performance rights organisation) and the artist directly.

Adam Elfin, who runs direct-licensing agency PACE Rights Management, said leaving promoters out of pocket “is not something we want or that should happen”, but added that it’s “beneficial that we’re having this conversation now, because if they weren’t aware of this [direct licensing] and they proceeded with their deals for next year with local PROs, the impact will be massively different.”

No PRO has yet declared they are willing to offer promoters a discount on fees if they have acts directly licensing bands on their line-up, but it’s not a stretch to imagine that might be a possibility for 2017.

8. Beyond music: eSports/YouTube

More than ever before, 2016 saw a raft of new content being introduced to venues, with the likes of eSports events and YouTube stars regularly selling out shows.

The scale of the eSports business was highlighted in October when Reed Midem, the organiser of the Midem music industry conference, announced plans for a similar event for the eSports market, on the back of new data revealing that global revenues in the sector for 2016 are estimated at US$493 million. That news came on the back of the Electronic Sports League (ESL), the world’s largest eSports promoter, agreeing a strategic partnership with AEG, giving it access to 120 AEG-operated venues for qualifying events, tournaments and world championships.

“2016 saw a raft of new content being introduced to venues, with the likes of eSports events and YouTube stars regularly selling out shows.”

Meanwhile, the power of social media continued to grow, posing opportunities for enterprising promoters to take YouTube stars on tour with agencies including WME, CAA and UTA making a big play for online talent. This rapidly growing sector is engaging young fans the world over – underlined by events like Summer in the City, in London’s ExCel centre, where more than 10,000 people bought tickets to meet their favourite YouTubers, watch them live, and listen to panel discussions.

9. Terrorism

The threat of terrorist acts around the world did not diminish during 2016, forcing promoters and venues to increase the amount of investment they are spending to guard their premises, artists, crews and fans from those intent to inflict death and injury.

Atrocities at the likes of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, as well as attacks on festival sites and, of course the mass murder at Le Bataclan in Paris in late 2015, have brought about stricter security measures, with clubs throughout France now using airport style checks for patrons.

As a so-called soft target, concerts and festivals have found themselves under the microscope, especially in certain countries where terrorist cells are known to operate. At the IFF in September, Rock Werchter promoter Herman Schueremans stated his belief that “We’re more safe now” thanks to some of the efforts that he and fellow promoters around the world have implemented.

Elsewhere, Live Aid promoter Harvey Goldsmith lent his support to a new anti-terror training course, but such measures haven’t appeased everyone, with British peer, Baroness Henig, making moves to force staff at UK music venues to undergo such intensive training.

10. Social media integration

Having a Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat account for your event or venue is hardly rocket science these days, but the past 12 months have seen a number of deals forged to better exploit the audience who uses these and other social media platforms.

In April, Ticketmaster and Eventbrite both agreed deals to sell tickets through Facebook, while later in the year, Live Nation tied up with with Snapchat, initially to create ‘Live Stories’ at V Festival, Way Out West, Creamfields and Reading and Leeds, before taking it to the next level by using links for adverts on Snapchat to sell tickets to their shows.

The past 12 months have seen a number of deals forged to better exploit the audience who uses these and other social media platforms.

Not to be outdone, AEG entered into a multi-year agreement with Snapchat to promote its festivals via the video-sharing app.

Hinting at more deals to come, a survey by Nielsen found that Instagram is used by more US concertgoers than any of its rivals, with an astonishing 83% of those active on social media at shows making use of the photo-sharing app.

11. The SFX/LiveStyle saga

The year ended on a brighter note for those working for beleaguered dance music conglomerate SFX – although a number of creditors might take issue with that statement.

In November, Former Global Group and AEG Live chief, Randy Phillips, was appointed as the company’s new CEO and then, just days later, the SFX reorganisation plan was finally given a green light, following nine months of official administration, but at a cost of nearly US$400million of debt being written off.

The company managed to exit its bankruptcy situation earlier than planned and, moving swiftly to distance the group from its former self, Randy Phillips rebranded the entity as LiveStyle.

Quite whether the saga is truly at an end remains to be seen, with at least one shareholder still asking the courts to look at an alleged undervaluation of the company that accelerated its emergence from debt.

12. Goggle Boxes

The influence of new technology on the live experience continued to break new ground in 2016, with Virtual Reality (VR) a popular talking point. In May, music streaming service Rhapsody launched the Rhapsody VR app which promises, “free, immersive 360-degree videos of great artists from the best seat in the house”. May also saw Live Nation announce a partnership with NextVR to film and stream concerts in the format.

Festival including Wacken Open Air in Germany have begun filming their events for VR headsets, and other players in the space include Warner Music (partnered with MelodyVR and Digital Domain) and Universal Music and iHeartMedia, both recording concerts in VR.

The influence of new technology on the live experience continued to break new ground in 2016, with Virtual Reality a popular talking point.

But is it a genuine source of new revenue streams or a short term fad? Time will tell, but research company Nielsen found that early VR adopters are outspending the average American by 2:1 on live events.

13. Weathering the storm
In Europe, the 2016 festival season was one of the most turbulent in living memory, with FKP Scorpio’s Hurricane and Southside, Marek Lieberberg/CTS Eventim’s Rock am RingUltra Europe, Live Nation’s Rock Werchter and Broadwick Live’s Festival №6 all badly affected by severe weather.

Responses ranged from a government-backed €500k bad-weather fund in the Netherlands to FOLD Festival cheekily giving away tickets to Glastonbury-goers who couldn’t face the mud, while panellists at Reeperbahn Festival’s Epic Production session called for collaboration between festivals and a unified code of conduct for dealing with inclement weather.

Wacken Open Air – which avoided the worst of 2016 – has, meanwhile, embarked on a major overhaul of its festival site for 2017, with a new drainage system and gravel-based ground covering.

14. Bot-tomming Out

The controversial use of bots to harvest primary tickets during an onsale saw inbound legislation in 2016, both in the US and UK. The state of New York made using ticket-buying software on offence in June, while plans for a new anti-both bill were introduced in Ontario, Canada, in October.

By November, the UK’s digital minister, Matt Hancock, had launched his Computer Misuse Act, but the strongest move yet came last week when outbound US President Barrack Obama signed the Better Online Ticket Sales (Bots) Act, which proscribes their use.

15. Desert Trip

Hailed as one of the greatest rock events of all time, Desert Trip, didn’t just smash records – it took dynamite to the entire jukebox.

The concept of putting together three headline acts across three days might not have been rocket science, but when the dream ticket was the Stones, the Beatles and Pink Floyd, the complexities kicked in. But promoters Goldenvoice pulled off the improbable, lining up the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Roger Waters across successive nights and adding in support acts Bob Dylan, Neil Young and The Who for good measure, while using the site of California’s uber cool festival, Coachella, to stage the show – and lending to its popular nickname, Oldchella.

Hailed as one of the greatest rock events of all time, Desert Trip, didn’t just smash records – it took dynamite to the entire jukebox.

Not so fortunate were some of the ticket touts who gambled on scooping up as many of the weekend and day passes as they could get their hands on. Despite issuing a ‘sold out’ notice, Desert Trip organisers held back a number of tickets, which were released a month before the shows, prompting a collapse in the value of the secondary market to the extent that, in the days running up to the concerts, many tickets were listed at lower than original face value.

16. In Memoriam

Already considered an annus horribilis due to the number of fallen musical heroes (with Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen among them), the business lost more than its fair share of heroes in 2016. Dan Panaitescu, head of international booking at Sziget festival was killed in a car crash in July, the same month that veteran concert promoter James Nederlander passed at the age of 94.

July also claimed the life of Baloise Session founder Matthias Müller, when the longtime Swiss festival promoter lost his battle with cancer. Meanwhile, other tragic losses to the business included Brazilian promoter and youth project champion Bianca Freitas, who died in October after contracting the rare Guillain-Barré syndrome.

 

Trying to squeeze 12 months of news, views and innovation into this short feature is always going to be tricky, so what did we miss? Please feel free to comment below. We may even publish the best bits…

 


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Grimmie family sue AEG Live, Orlando Philarmonic

The family of Christina Grimmie, the singer fatally shot during a meet and greet on 10 June, has filed a lawsuit against promoter AEG Live and the Orlando Philharmonic.

A previous contestant on TV talent show The Voice, Grimmie, 22, had performed at Orlando’s Plaza Live Theater before being murdered by James Loibl, 27, who then took his own life. The incident led democratic nominee Hilary Clinton to call for stricter gun controls.

The Grimmie family’s suit was filed by Brian D. Caplan of Reitler, Kailas and Rosenblatt, in New York on 20 Dec. It names AEG Live, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Plaza Foundation, which owns the Plaza Live venue and the security company working the event.

The suit claims that the defendants “failed to take adequate security measures to ensure the safety of the performers and the attendees at the concert venue.”

Grimmie’s father, mother and brother allege wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress caused by the singer’s death. The suit claims that the defendants “failed to take adequate security measures to ensure the safety of the performers and the attendees at the concert venue.”

Loibl entered the venue with two loaded 9mm handguns and a hunting knife. According to the suit, only superficial bag checks were made on the audience as they arrived, while body checks or the use of metal detectors would have provided tighter security.

“The death of Christina was caused by the negligent and culpable conduct of the defendants who failed to provide adequate security measures to protect Christina at the Plaza Live Theater on June 10, 2016,” it reads.

 


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Glastonbury festival founder confirms move

An as yet unnamed site in the Midlands will become Glastonbury Festival’s home for the first time in 2019, organiser Michael Eavis has revealed.

The land, about 100 miles from Glasto’s home at Worthy Farm in Somerset, will be used every five years or so, when Eavis gives both the land, and its local residents, a rest from the annual disruption.

Eavis and his team have been exploring options for some time and had even spoken to the owners of the Longleat Estate, about 15 miles from Glastonbury, about using some of their land. But now it seems that a solution has been found further north.

“I am arranging for one year off, say every fifth year or so, to try and move the show to a site that’s more suitable.”

Eavis has reassured people that he wants the festival to remain in its spiritual home, quashing rumours that it could move elsewhere permanently. Speaking to the BBC, he said, “I am arranging for one year off, say every fifth year or so, to try and move the show to a site that’s more suitable, I have to say. But it would be a huge loss to Somerset if it went there forever, would it not?”

However, the fallow year move may see a rebranding of the giant event, because Eavis’s daughter, Emily, has suggested that any festival held away from Worthy Farm would not be allowed to use the Glastonbury name.

Team Rock goes into administration

Fundraising efforts are hastily being pulled together to help more than 70 members of staff at Team Rock in Scotland, after the media group filed for bankruptcy.

A statement on the company website confirms, “Thomas Campbell MacLennan, Alexander Iain Fraser and Jason Daniel Baker of FRP Advisory LLP were appointed as Joint Administrators of Team Rock Limited on 19 December 2016… The company is being managed on a care and maintenance basis only whilst a buyer for the assets is sought. Accordingly, the TeamRock website will be unavailable for the foreseeable future.”

The company publishes such titles as Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog Rock, while TeamRock Radio is a popular station among heavy metal fans. Those fans have been quick to rallying around a JustGiving campaign, organised by Orange Goblin frontman Ben Ward, who set a target of £20,000 to help the company’s staff through the festive season. At the time of going to press, that sum had exceeded £44,000. If you wish to boost that sum, click here.

Shannon Noll appointed ambassador for live music

Australian singer-songwriter Shannon ‘Nollsie’ Noll has been announced as an ambassador for live music in New South Wales.

The appointment comes at the same time as a new fund by the state government to provide $150,000 in funding for micro-festivals in smaller towns.

Noll, who found fame on Australian Idol in 2003, has released five top ten albums, including two number-one multi-platinum sellers. He is the only Australian male the chart history of the country to have ten consecutive top ten singles.

“This is a great initiative and another platform to showcase regional talent.”

“I was lucky enough to get a leg up through a TV show, but for the average country muso there aren’t a lot of opportunities,” he said. “This is a great initiative and another platform to showcase regional talent.”

NSW Arts Minister Troy Grant, added: “Shannon knows how tough it can be to get a start in the music industry, especially if you’re from a small country town. We’re delighted to have him involved in this initiative.”

 


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CMA launches fresh probe into ticket resale in UK

Capping off a winter 2016 of unprecedented parliamentary attention on the UK’s secondary ticketing market, the Consumer and Markets Authority (CMA) today launched a fresh investigation into “suspected breaches of consumer protection law” among ticket resale sites.

The competition watchdog in June launched a compliance review focused on StubHub, Viagogo and Ticketmaster’s Get Me In! and Seatwave specifically; the results of that investigation reveal one unnamed website “was not fully complying with their undertaking” – specifically to provide information on any restrictions or additional charges on a ticket, its face value, whether seats are located together and a contact email for sellers, agreed with CMA in March 2015 – and that “CMA is actively pursuing this to ensure they meet their obligations in full”, while three others have “changed their practices in line with their undertakings”.

The review also revealed “wider concerns about information provision and compliance with consumer-protection law [chiefly the Consumer Rights Act 2015] across the sector as a whole”, leading to the enforcement investigation launched today.

In addition to investigating whether sellers and secondary ticketing sites are providing all the information required by law, CMA says it is “working with event organisers to ensure that any terms used to restrict the resale of their tickets” – holds – “are fair for consumers”.

“We have heard concerns about a lack of transparency over who is buying up tickets from the primary market”

Andrea Coscelli, CMA’s acting chief executive, comments: “A night out at a concert or a trip to a big match is something that millions of people look forward to, so it’s important they know who they are buying from and whether there are any restrictions that could stop them using the ticket.

“We have heard concerns about a lack of transparency over who is buying up tickets from the primary market. We also think that it is essential that those consumers who buy tickets from the secondary market are made aware if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door.

“We have therefore decided to open a sector-wide investigation to ensure that customers are made aware of important information that they are legally entitled to. If we find breaches of consumer law, we will take enforcement action.”

 


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StubHub eyes primary partnerships in Australia

StubHub is reportedly in negotiation with several Australian promoters and sports teams to be a distribution partner for their primary ticket inventories.

Spokeswoman Aimee Bateas told IQ in October that StubHub – primarily known as a secondary ticket marketplace – is “increasingly working with partners to offer them another channel to sell primary, face-value tickets”: as with, for example, the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team in the US.

According to The Australian, the eBay-owned company is now seeking to apply the same model in Australia.

“Right now people are playing in big stadiums where they are not filled to capacity”

StubHub head of communications Glenn Lehrman tells the paper he hopes to help teams and promoters to fill venues which frequently have empty seats: “How can we help the teams and the ticketing companies get more people into stadiums? And how can we provide them with data to better help them target their customers?

“The strength here is that there is a tonne of ­interest in sports. There are a lot of games, more than we see in most markets around the world. But right now people are playing in big stadiums where they are not filled to capacity.”

Lehrman also reveals that eBay Australia’s ticket listing platform will be rebranded as StubHub in 2017. StubHub currently operates under in Australia under the Ticketbis brand, which eBay/StubHub acquired in May.

 


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Pascal Nègre to head up new LN management company

Live Nation France today announced the launch of a new artist-management company in partnership with former Universal Music France president Pascal Nègre.

Nègre (pictured) was in the top job at the label from 1998 until February this year, when, to the surprise of most in the recorded music industry, his contract was not renewed. Paris-based #NP (with hashtag) will, says, Live Nation, “service the artist on all levels, from recorded music to live, with a focus on digital marketing”.

Nègre says: “#NP’s mission is to ensure the artist is at the very core of the game in this new digital age. Our specialist team will be with the artist every step of the way with the advice and services they need to allow them to do what they do best. I’m delighted to join forces with Live Nation France, a family of great professionals with worldwide expertise.”

“The experience Pascal brings to the table is unsurpassed, and we welcome him with open arms”

John Reid, Live Nation’s president of concerts in Europe, adds: “The artist is at the core of what we do, and together with Pascal we will be able to expand this focus in ways we’ve always wanted to. The experience Pascal brings to the table is unsurpassed, and we welcome him with open arms.”

Live Nation France acquired Nous Productions, the formerly Warner Music France-owned concert and festival promoter, earlier this year.

 


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