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Twickets to launch in the US

UK-based fan-to-fan ticket exchange Twickets is to launch in the US this autumn, founder Richard Davies has announced, adding the biggest territory yet to its growing global network of face-value resale websites.

Music fans in New York state can, as of yesterday, register to buy and sell tickets through Twickets ahead of its stateside debut later this year, reports Amplify. The company, which is backed by several high-profile managers, agents and promoters, also has local operations in Spain and Australia.

Davies in January told IQ Twickets was gearing up for further international expansion after raising more than £1.2 million on crowdfunding site Seedrs.

Davies tells Amplify that, owing to the challenges posed by “infinitely bigger territory” of the US, the company is “initially targeting our move into the US state by state”.

“We’re not saying we’re the solution to the secondary market. What we’re just saying is that we are an alternative way to practice”

New York, he adds, is “very aggressive, and they’ve been ahead of the curve in many respects. Actually, they have beaten the UK to legislation against bots. I fully believe that they will implement more restrictions around resale.”

He emphasises, however, that Twickets is “not reliant on legislation. What we are trying to do is just provide that alternative. We’re not saying we’re the solution to the secondary market. What we’re just saying is that we are an alternative way to practice.

“The great thing is, what we’re seeing from both the industry and the consumer is that they are adopting that method of practice in an increasing way.”

The new site is now live at twicketsusa.com. As in the UK, Twickets USA says it is actively seeking industry partnerships for the new venture: “If you’re an artist, manager, agent, promoter or venue and want to join numerous others such as Adele, Ed Sheeran and Mumford & Sons in partnering with us, please get in touch,” reads an announcement.

 


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Bieber, Drake lead decade’s top Canadian tours

With Canada Day 2017 – aka Canada’s 150th birthday – fast approaching, StubHub has released data on its ten top-selling Canadian artists of the last decade.

Unsurprisingly, pop superstar Justin Bieber tops StubHub’s rankings, with Drake, The Weeknd, veteran prog-rockers Rush and Vine star-done-good Shawn Mendes rounding out the top five.

National institution The Tragically Hip – whose recent farewell show was watched by a third of the country – place eighth.

While not, of course, a definitive list, StubHub is Canada’s (and the world’s) leading secondary ticket marketplace, so the eBay-owned business should have a fairly good insight into long-term market trends.

The full list is below:

StubHub Canadian top-selling artists

The modern state of Canada was confederated from three colonies of British North America – Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia – on 1 July 1867. The 150th Canada Day (until 1982 called Dominion Day), which celebrates the anniversary of confederation, is tomorrow: 1 July 2017.

 


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Relive 5 decades of festival lineups with Playlister

With the 2017 festival season now in full swing, travel website Expedia has revamped its online Playlister tool, which allows Spotify users to compile playlists based on the line-ups of five decades’ worth of music festivals.

Featuring a database of 27,914 events dating back to the 1960s, Playlister leverages Spotify to create a playlist of each festival’s popular artists and tracks – or the most obscure – “allowing listeners to fondly recall the good times”, says Expedia.

Each individual festival is also provided with a ‘mainstream score’, detailing how much they have grown in popularity since their inception.

Here’s a few examples, using the most popular acts at Glastonbury ’84 (a classic) and the most obscure tracks at Woodstock:


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Concertgoing down slightly but remains strong in Oz

Music is still the most popular art form in Australia, new research shows, with 54% of population attending a live music event and 97% listening to recorded music in 2016.

The latest Connecting Australians report by the Australia Council for the Arts reveals more than 14 million Australians aged 15 or over saw a concert last year, with 27% attending a music festival specifically.

The figure compares favourably with similar studies in other developed live music markets – slightly less than the 62% seen in Norway but more than in Denmark, where the number of concertgoers stands at 41% of the population – but is actually a slight decline on previous years’ reports, which reported 58% in 2009 and 59% in 2013. The fall may be attributable to the “substantial increase” in the number of Australians attending theatre or dance events compared to 2013 (42% to 53%), says Australia Council, as well as a rise in attendances for visual arts, craft and literary events.

As elsewhere in the world, young people are most likely to see live entertainment, while Australians of all ages are attending ‘First Nations’ (aboriginal) events in greater numbers.

Ninety-eight per cent of Australians “engage with the arts” – which include music, visual arts, theatre, dance and literature – in some way, the report concludes.

“New and additional arts experiences are expanding on rather than replacing live attendance, which remains strong”

“It is overwhelmingly apparent from the data that while 98% of Australians engage in the arts, they do so more frequently and with much greater breadth than they realise,” comments Australia Council chief executive Tony Grybowski (pictured). “We need to demystify what we mean by ‘the arts’. Many Australians have a narrow view of what the arts include, often dismissing the things we enjoy most frequently, such as listening to music, reading or going to a festival. As a result, they are underestimating the vital role the arts play in the quality of their everyday experience. Gaining this clarity is important so that when talking about the value of supporting the arts we all understand what is at stake.

“As the third survey in the series, the research identifies important trends. Engagement with First Nations arts has doubled since 2009, reaching seven million Australians last year. Creating, accessing and sharing the arts online is booming – new and additional arts experiences are expanding on rather than replacing live attendance, which remains strong.

“The report also reveals the importance of the arts in the lives of younger Australians. They create and experience the arts at the highest rates, especially online; they love festivals and over half engage with the arts as part of their cultural background. This gives the arts a unique role in shaping the future of our national culture.”

 


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Deep Roots honours Karoondinha tix as refunds begin

Deep Roots Productions, the promoter behind West Virginia’s Deep Roots Mountain Revival (DRMR), is offering ticketholders for the cancelled Karoondinha festival complimentary passes for the 20–22 July event, “in an effort to shine a positive light back into” the US festival scene, it has announced.

After learning of Karoondinha’s cancellation, Deep Roots says in a statement, it realised “that it’s the ticketholders who are the ones that suffer. We never want to see another event fail or watch the fans of the festival scene feel as though they received the short end of the stick.

“In an effort to shine a positive light back into a scene that is near and dear to our hearts, we will be honouring all Karoondinha weekend and single day passes at this year’s Deep Roots Mountain Revival.”

The inaugural Karoondinha Music & Arts Festival earlier this week became the latest high-profile festival cancellation in North America, following Pemberton Music Festival in Canada and the notorious Fyre Festival in the Bahamas, both of which of which are now facing legal action after being called off at the last minute.

Organised by brother-and-sister team Kaleena and Paul Rallis – collectively Hawk Eye Presents – Karoondinha came out of the gate with a big-name line-up to rival the likes of Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza (Chance the Rapper, John Legend, Odesza and Paramore were booked as headliners) and a capacity of 70,000 on its 1,600-acre site in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania.

In an interview with Billboard’s Dave Brooks, Paul Rallis reveals that, despite predictions of outselling even Live Nation’s Bonnaroo, the festival’s final ticket sales forecasts were between 25,000 and 30,000, leaving Hawk Eye far short of the US$26 million revenue a sell-out event was forecast to have generated. “We didn’t hit the projections we were conservatively estimating,” he explains. “It wasn’t even close.”

“We didn’t hit the projections we were conservatively estimating. It wasn’t even close”

In addition to poor ticket sales, sponsorships also reportedly failed to meet expectations, despite sales staff being paid $15,000 a month plus commission.

Rallis says he still hopes to put on the event at a later date – albeit presumably with a vastly reduced capacity. “We’re looking at other options at this moment and hope we can make something happen in some way,” he continues. “We’re not walking away from the vision of the idea in any way, because our commitment is still to make something great happen in this area – it’s just not going to take place on the scheduled days.”

For those not interested in attending DRMR instead, Karoondinha ticketer Eventbrite has begun emailing attendees about the refund procedure, with an update promised by “the end of the week”.

“Unfortunately, we were notified that this event will no longer take place as originally planned,” the email reads. “As an event technology platform ticketing millions of events each year, we were not involved in the production of this specific event or the decision to postpone it; however, we are committed to providing a high level of customer service to anyone who purchases tickets through our website. As such, we are working closely with the organiser of the event to finalise next steps for processing refunds and will send you an update with details by the end of the week.”

 


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Spanish promoters welcome cultural VAT cut

The Spanish government has made good on its pledge to cut value-added tax (VAT) on live entertainment to 10%, in a move welcomed by a relieved Association of Music Promoters (APM).

VAT on “cultural shows” (espectáculos culturales) has stood at 21% since September 2012, when prime minister Mariano Rajoy increased the tax, which previously stood at 8%, in an effort to plug a hole in Spain’s public finances. The tax hike was catastrophic for the Spanish live industry: revenue from ticket sales fell 27.5% between 1 September 2012 and summer 2013 alone, and the value of the market only recovered to its pre-2011 levels last February.

The new rate of VAT – 10% – was signed into law in Spain’s state gazette (Boletín Oficial del Estado) yesterday.

“The confirmation of the lowering of cultural VAT demonstrates the importance of associations such as APM, because it means that when we unite and work together, we achieve our objectives,” comments APM president Albert Salmerón, adding that the tax cut comes after a “long period of lobbying by the music industry”.

“When we unite and work together, we achieve our objectives”

Despite welcoming the VAT cut, Salmerón (pictured) points out that 10% is still higher than in several other live music markets – and says APM will continue to lobby to secure “super-reduced VAT”, as is charged on books and newspapers, for the live business. (Most books and papers are taxed at 4%.)

According to a statement from APM, the new rate of VAT “continues to exceed the tariff of countries like Norway (0%) and Switzerland (2.5%), as well as several EU member states, such as Germany (7%), France (5.5%) and the Netherlands (6%). For this reason, the next objective is to obtain super-reduced VAT, at least [as low as that] applied to newspapers and books.”

Salmerón also warns that high VAT is just one of many challenges faced by the music industry, with “the legal recognition of music, the professionalisation of the sector, the promotion of a Ley de Mecenazgo (‘patronage law’, which would give tax breaks to private companies investing in arts and culture) and the regulation of secondary ticketing all needing to be tackled the ensure the health of the sector.

 


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Trapeze Bar sacks GM over bashment comments

Miroma Leisure, owner and operator of east London’s Trapeze Bar, has fired the venue’s general manager for violating its “beliefs and values” by making comments critical of bashment and trap music.

It came to light earlier this week that a fundraiser for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire would no longer be taking place at the 480-cap. venue after Jordan Wells said Trapeze does “not entertain” bashment and trap music – genres he called “crap” – because they attract a “poor quality-demographic and result in problems”. Haqiqi Events, the promoter of the 29 June show, accused Wells of racism.

At the time, Miroma called the comments “unsolicited opinions” and said it would undertake “a full investigation of the matter”.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Mimroma said Wells has now been let go.

The full statement is below:

The owners of Trapeze can confirm that, following a full investigation, the employee involved has had his contract terminated with immediate effect.

The conduct of the employee does not represent our company’s values and beliefs.

As a gesture of goodwill, Trapeze Bar has donated £2,000 to the British Red Cross London fire relief fund, which has been coordinating efforts to support the residents and neighbours, effectively doubling the target amount [£1,000] set by the event.

Wells took over as GM of Trapeze in March 2016. Prior to joining Miroma, he was GM at Novus Leisure, which operates 47 bars and nightclubs across the UK.

 


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Sillerman auditor resigns over “illegal” withdrawals

Accountancy firm BDO USA, LLP, formerly auditor for Robert Sillerman’s troubled Function(x) web business, has resigned amid allegations of “insufficiently authorised cash disbursements” to Sillerman from company bank accounts.

In a 21 June letter to Function(x)’s CFO, Michelle Lanken, and general counsel, Tom McLean, BDO said it had, through a phone conversation on 12 May, been made “aware of information indicating that an ‘illegal act’ […] may have occurred”.

It continues: “BDO stated that information provided to it at the time of the phone conversation […] included insufficiently authorised cash disbursements from a [Function(x)] bank account, unexplained deposits into the same registrant bank account and possible repayment to the registrant’s chairman of the board, chief executive officer and controlling shareholder [Sillerman] in excess of the amount owed to him under his line of credit to the registrant.”

The letter says the “possible payments” include a US$500,000 cash withdrawal by Sillerman in March 2017, “done without proper approval from the board”, and, more seriously, a total of $6.1m “released from a [Function(x)] bank account into an account held by the CEO at the same financial institution”.

The findings mirror similar allegations levelled at Sillerman in the final months of SFX Entertainment

At BDO’s request, it and Function(x) hired a third-party law firm to investigate the missing money, as well as alleged irregularities relating to a recent series-G stock offering. It concluded that there were “likely illegal acts committed by the CEO and the registrant [Function(x)]”, including “false and misleading statements in connection with the series-G offering”.

The findings mirror similar allegations levelled at Sillerman in the final months of SFX Entertainment, when he was accused of making “misleading statements” designed to boost the ailing business’s attractiveness to investors.

He denies any “wilful” wrongdoing, saying he was “misinformed as to the amounts outstanding on loans the CEO had made to the company” and paid Function(x) back as soon as he realised the error.

Function(x), which specialises in ‘viral’ online content, was last week delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange after failing to file an up-to-date current report.

 


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ILMC, MIC launch Live Data Agency

The teams behind Media Insight Consulting (MIC) and the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) and IQ Magazine today announced the launch of the Live Data Agency (LDA), a joint venture specialising in big data analysis, consumer research and economic modelling for the live music business.

LDA is headed by music business economist and MIC founder Chris Carey, who was formerly global insight director at Universal Music Group and senior economist at PRS for Music. “With an overwhelming amount of information available to the live music business, the challenge is knowing where to start,” he says. “Our aim is to help companies use the data that they already have, or collaborate with them to create new data points, to gain valuable insight into their business.”

Having already completed projects for The O2 Arena, Eventbrite, Spotify and IQ, Carey says LDA has the tools to offer unique insight in the space. “The advantage of specialising in live is that we already know where some of the demons are hiding, so can avoid analytical mistakes people from outside live might struggle with,” he adds.

“Twinning the economic expertise of Chris and his team with the research and content capabilities of IQ gives LDA a unique position in the live music space”

Team members working alongside Carey at the agency include former UK Festival Awards MD James Drury, insight directors Claire Buckle and Michael Deacon and IQ news editor Jon Chapple.

“Twinning the economic expertise of Chris and his team with the research and content capabilities of IQ Magazine gives LDA a very unique position in the live music space,” comments ILMC head Greg Parmley. “I would encourage anyone looking at new markets or projects, or wanting to make more use of their pre-existing data, to get in touch with Chris and the team.”

Further details about LDA can be found at www.livedata.agency or by emailing info@livedata.agency.

 


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Spotify, Live Nation partner on RapCaviar concerts

Live Nation has extended its relationship with Spotify with the launch of RapCaviar Live, a new six-city concert series inspired by the streaming service’s eponymous hip-hop playlist.

RapCaviar Live kicks off at the Tabernacle (2,600-cap.) in Atlanta, Georgia, on 12 August with a show by Gucci Mane (pictured), Mike Will Made It and other “special guests”. Additional details of shows in Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, New York and Houston, Texas, will be announced by Spotify soon.

“[I’m] proud to partner with Gucci Mane on this incarnation of the RapCaviar vibe,” comments Tuma Basa, head of hip hop at Spotify, who has been called “the most important tastemaker in hip-hop music today” for his role as curator of the RapCaviar playlist.

“This is an important milestone for Spotify, for RapCaviar and for hip hop in the streaming age”

“Gucci was an early believer in what we are doing and it’s going to be beautiful to see it manifest live. Taking RapCaviar on the road was just a dream for us a few years ago. This is an important milestone for Spotify, for RapCaviar and for hip hop in the streaming age.”

With its Spotify branding, RapCaviar Live brings to mind Drake’s Views from the 6 North American tour, which was also promoted by Live Nation but billed as being presented by Apple Music – Spotify’s main rival in the music streaming space.

Live Nation in November struck a deal with Spotify to integrate Ticketmaster ticket listings into Spotify artist pages, emails and concert-recommendation emails.

 


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