Carter, the BBC's former head of popular music, live music events and BBC Introducing, is taking time off for family reasons
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Amazon's entry in the world of concert promotion is addressing an "appetite for intimate shows" in close proximity to arena-level artists, the company tells IQ
By Jon Chapple on 09 May 2017
Amazon today issued its strongest statement of intent to date about its live music plans, diving headfirst into promoting its own shows with the announcement of a new concert series, Prime Live Events.
Exclusively available to members of Amazon Prime – its £79-a-year subscription service that also includes music and video streaming, faster delivery on purchases from the Amazon website and, most recently, exclusive presales, lounges and premium seating at several AEG venues, including The O2 – the first Prime Live Event will take place on 23 May with a performance by Blondie at the 750-capacity Round Chapel in Hackney, London.
That will be followed by Alison Moyet at the Round Chapel on 12 June, Texas at the 600-cap. Porchester Hall, also in London, on 16 June and Katie Melua at the 770-cap. Cadogan Hall in Chelsea, west London, on 25 and 26 July – although Amazon Tickets general manager Geraldine Wilson tells IQ the initial four shows will be followed by a “continuous programme” of concerts set to grow throughout 2017.
Explaining the decision to eschew working with external promoters, Wilson says while the company “works with promoters right across the UK” on its Amazon Tickets business, for Prime Live Events “we had a very strong idea of what we wanted to create, so it made sense to do it ourselves”.
The launch of Prime Live Events follows two one-off shows by Robbie Williams, at London’s St John-at-Hackney, and John Legend, at the Round Chapel, last December, which served as a trial run for the new series. Both were filmed and made available on demand to Prime members internationally – something that will continue with Prime Live Events shows.
A concert series hosted by a major international corporation with an interest in music streaming has, inevitably, already drawn conclusions with Apple’s successful Apple (né iTunes) Music Festival (“the intimate alternative to the Apple Music Festival”, writes TechRadar), although Wilson says Amazon is potentially in a stronger position owing to its wider reach and almost two decades in the music business.
“We’re addressing an appetite to see intimate shows up close to the artist”
“One of reasons why Amazon uniquely positioned is that we have this broad relationship with artists,” she explains. “We’ve been in music for 18 years – we have two streaming services, we sell their their music, their books, their tickets…
“And not only that, we’re going to be filming them – and that content is going to reach Prime members not just in the UK, but internationally.” (Morgan Stanley estimates there are 65 million Amazon Prime subscribers worldwide.)
Wilson declines to speak about any potential expansion of the concept internationally, but Amazon Tickets is known to be hiring staff in the US ahead of a rumoured launch stateside and the feedback in the UK so far has been positive (both artists and fans “loved” the Robbie Williams and John Legend shows, she says).
With the prospect of seeing their favourite act in an impersonal arena or stadium setting not to everyone’s taste, Amazon is hoping Prime Live Events can fill a gap in the market by putting major acts in mid-sized venues. “There are many different formats for consuming live music – festivals, arenas and stadia – and we’re addressing an appetite to see intimate shows up close to the artist,” concludes Wilson.
“When I was at the John Legend show, you could see the artist clearly no matter where you sat… I was talking to two guys in their late 20s and they said to me, ‘This is how we want to see live music.'”
Prime members with £150 to spare can pick up tickets for the Blondie gig at 9am this Thursday (11 May) from tickets.amazon.co.uk/prime-live-events.
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