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Amazon, Rammstein, New Bosses and the Sphere: 2018’s top stories

IQ is today shutting up shop until 2 January 2019.

While we’ll be sure to keep you abreast of any major industry goings-on over the festive period, there won’t be an IQ Index newsletter until we return, so don’t panic if your inbox looks decidedly devoid of concert business news for the remainder of 2018.

From everyone at IQ, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Now, read on for the IQ stories that reached the most people in the global concert industry this year…

 

#10

Edmania: Sheeran breaks records across Europe with new onsales

#9

Rob Hallett’s Robomagic joins Live Nation

#8

AEG ends ties with StubHub, launches AXS Marketplace

#7

800,000-selling Rammstein sets new Eventim record

#6

Hardee warns of biz burnout as report reveals huge stress levels

#5

Kerslake report: SMG, Showsec praised for “above and beyond” Manchester response

#4

Introducing… the New Bosses 2018

#3

‘Everyone will have the best seat in the house’: MSG takes wraps off Sphere London

#2

Get Me Out!: Ticketmaster shuts down European resale sites

#1

Amazon Tickets shuts shop

See you in 2019!

 


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Live Nation acquires Argentina’s DF Entertainment

Live Nation has found time for one further corporate takeover before the year’s end, capping off its most acquisition-heavy 12 months to date by buying a majority stake in Argentine promoter DF Entertainment.

Buenos Aires-based DF, founded in August 2015 by veteran concert promoter Diego Finkelstein, sold more than 500,000 tickets to its concerts and festivals in 2018. The company has worked with Live Nation on several co-promotions over the past three years, including shows by Coldplay, Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, Ariana Grande and Phil Collins.

In partnership with Live Nation-owned C3 Presents, DF Entertainment is also the promoter and ticketing provider of the local edition of Live Nation’s Lollapalooza festival, Lollapalooza Argentina.

The DF deal, terms of which were not disclosed, is Live Nation’s 16th acquisition or equivalent this year, following Mainland Music earlier this month.

“The demand for concerts and live events across South America has never been higher”

“The demand for concerts and live events across South America has never been higher, and the local insight of Diego and the DF Entertainment team will help us connect more artists and fans throughout Argentina than ever before,” says Live Nation’s president and CEO, Michael Rapino.

“DF Entertainment has proven to be an amazing partner and the premier promoter in Argentina, and we’re glad to have them join the Live Nation family after many years working together.”

“Argentina’s live music industry continues to flourish, and together with Live Nation, so will DF Entertainment,” adds Finkelstein. “I’m very proud of our team and can’t wait to see our event line-up grow even more with the support and resources of Live Nation behind us.”

 


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Doctor Music Festival 2019 announces first acts

Spain’s Doctor Music Festival has announced its first wave of artists for next year’s ‘reincarnation edition’, including several who will perform multiple times throughout the festival.

Both King Crimson and Underworld will perform three sets apiece, giving fans more than one opportunity to see headliners and “reduce the anxiety generated […] by the worry of missing any of the key concerts”, according to festival promoter Neo Sala.

Sala explains: “I do not want people to have the feeling that they will miss something – the famous FOMO [fear of missing out] effect that you get in those big events will be reduced at Doctor Music Festival.”

Other performers include the Strokes (who return to the road in 2019 after a two-year hiatus), Smashing Pumpkins, Greta Van Fleet, Primal Scream, the Prodigy, Sisters of Mercy and Eyellusion’s Frank Zappa hologram.

The full line-up for the festival – which takes place from 11 to 14 July 2019 at a 350-acre site in Escalarre, surrounded by the Catalan Pyrenees – will be announced early next year.

A poster showing the first wave of acts in full is below:

Doctor Music Festival 2019

 


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Liam Payne and MelodyVR celebrate virtual reality first

MelodyVR last night livestreamed its first show live in virtual reality, with Liam Payne’s performance  at Koko in London broadcast to fans across the world.

The UK-based company’s first ‘Live in VR’ event, announced to huge anticipation earlier this month, saw the ex-One Direction star’s show broadcast in VR in real time via the MelodyVR app. The stream was in a “previously unseen quality for VR”, according to MelodyVR, and featured its ‘jump spot’ technology, which allows viewers to choose their own spot in the venue.

Last night Liam Payne took part in a groundbreaking Virtual Reality live broadcast, where his show at Koko, one of London’s most-loved music venues, was simultaneously broadcast in VR around all over the world, in real time.

“I’m thrilled by the positive response that MelodyVR has received for this event,” says Anthony Matchett, CEO of MelodyVR. “There are so many fans who can’t get close to the artists they love – and when they live on the other side of the world or can’t get into a show, we can put them on stage with the artist from anywhere in the world.

“Giving my fans the ability to see this concert from an angle no one ever sees it from is a really amazing thing”

“We look forward to working with Liam, as well as other artists throughout the next year and beyond, to continue to create and distribute revolutionary content.”

The Liam Payne ‘Live in VR’ event follows the creation of previous (non-live) VR experiences for artists including Post Malone, Bebe Rexha, the Chainsmokers and Payne’s 1D bandmate Niall Horan.

“There are a lot of places around the world I haven’t been to, and so many fans that haven’t seen me perform live and may never get the chance to without MelodyVR’s technology,” adds Payne. “Giving my fans the ability to see this concert from an angle no one ever sees it from is a really amazing thing. It’s better than having an all access pass – they’re right there on stage with me.”

The MelodyVR app is currently available in the UK, US, France, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Belgium.

 


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Hamburg district court deals another blow to Viagogo

The district court of Hamburg – which last month issued a preliminary injunction preventing Viagogo from reselling tickets for Rammstein’s upcoming European stadium tour – has dealt a further blow to the controversial ticket resale site by granting a similar prohibition to FKP Scorpio for its 2019 Ed Sheeran dates.

The ruling by the district court, or Landgericht, forbids Switzerland-based Viagogo for reselling tickets for FKP’s four Sheeran shows – in Hockenheim on 22 and 23 June and Hanover on 2 and 3 August 2019, for which the promoter sold more than 200,000 tickets – and claiming they are valid for entry.

All tickets for the concerts are personalised and only valid for resale via CTS Eventim’s face-value fanSALE platform.

Folkert Koopmans, CEO of FKP Scorpio, says: “We very much welcome the decision of the Hamburg district court, which represents another important step towards stopping the black market and price gouging, which is in the interests of artists, promoters and fans.

“We will continue to combat tickets resold at inflated prices”

“We will continue to combat tickets resold at inflated prices in the future in order to be able to continue offering affordable tickets to music fans, in close cooperation with the artists, their management and other promoters.”

FKP is represented by law firm Schütz Rechtsanwälte, which has past experience with litigating against Viagogo. Lawyer Markus Schütz comments: “Ed Sheeran is known for taking action against the black market to protect his fans from rip-offs. It is not individual private sellers that are the problem, but those who buy the tickets from the beginning with the intention of making money.

“Fans can only be advised not to take a risk on the black market, and in particular Viagogo, to buy invalid or forged tickets at exorbitant prices.”

Responding, Viagogo issued the following statement: “The tickets sold on Viagogo’s platform are genuine tickets that have been sold on by the original ticket purchaser in good faith. Viagogo is a marketplace and doesn’t buy or sell tickets. Viagogo provides a platform for third-party sellers to sell tickets to eventgoers. Viagogo does not set ticket prices, sellers set their own prices, which may be above or below the original face value.”

 


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UK industry rallies around MVT’s pipeline fund

All major UK music industry associations have signed a statement of intent pledging to tackle the crisis facing Britain’s grassroots music venues.

Signatories including UK Live Music, the Concert Promoters Association, the National Arena Association, the Entertainment Agents’ Association, the Musicians’ Union and the Music Managers Forum have announced their support for a Pipeline Investment Fund (PIF) to tackle the root causes leading to music venue closures.

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of Music Venue Trust (MVT) – which introduced the PIF concept at Venues Day in October – explains: “We asked the UK music industry to sign up to the concept that we need to take collective financial action on the challenges facing grassroots venues.

“We are delighted with the response from the industry and the willingness to find positive, constructive solutions so that we can properly protect the grassroots music venues pipeline from which, ultimately, everyone benefits.”

The aims of the Pipeline Investment Fund include funding infrastructure, sound and lighting in grassroots venues; placing venues into protected ownership by acquiring freeholds; creating training and apprenticeship schemes; and offering centralised legal, planning and licensing advice.

Following the signing of the statement of intent, the signatories will begin working together in early 2019 to identify funding solutions.

“With 35% of the UK’s grassroots venues having closed over the last ten years, it’s time for the industry to act,” says Greg Parmley, chair of UK Live Music and managing director of the ILMC. “We need structured and planned investment to secure these vital spaces against development, rent rises, poor infrastructure and failing facilities.”

Other signatories include the Music Industries Association, Production Services Association, Featured Artists Coalition, Association of Independent Festivals and Association of Festival Organisers.

Andrew Parsons, MD of Ticketmaster UK, comments: “Grassroots music venues are an essential part of the live music scene. We have been working with Music Venue Trust for over four years to ensure that these iconic buildings can continue to showcase the next generation of talent.

“We welcome the Pipeline Investment Fund initiative to look at ways that our industry can secure the legacy of these venues for many years to come.”

“AEG is committed to working with our partners in the live music industry to find a solution to the critical challenges faced by Grassroots Music Venues,” adds John Langford of AEG Europe. “The Pipeline Investment Fund is an opportunity to deliver real, practical and urgent action right across the music industry.”

 


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UK orgs slam “clueless” post-Brexit immigration plan

Michael Dugher, chief executive of industry umbrella organisation UK Music, has warned that government plans to limit immigration after Britain leaves the EU would jeopardise the UK’s “world-leading” music business.

Responding to the publication of a white paper setting out proposed post-Brexit rules for migrants – including a consultation on a minimum £30,000 salary requirement for skilled workers seeking five-year visas – Dugher says the salary threshold would exclude many musicians, songwriters and producers, who earn an average of £20,504 annually.

“The UK music industry contributes £4.5 billion to the economy, with live music alone contributing around £1bn,” he comments. “As we’ve made repeatedly clear, a crude salaries and skills approach to freedom to work post-Brexit just doesn’t work for so many artists and musicians. We risk limiting the ability for European musicians to play in our world-leading festivals, venues and studios.

“If this approach is reciprocated by the EU and there is no visa waiver in place, we risk making it very hard, if not impossible, for so many UK artists to tour in EU. This is how they build an audience and, frankly, make any kind of living from music.”

The organisation has previously called for the introduction of a ‘touring passport’ or visa waiver for musicians and crews.

“It is frustrating in the extreme that there are still some people in government who have their fingers in their ears”

“It is frustrating in the extreme that there are still some people in government who have their fingers in their ears,” Dugher continues.

“This is utterly clueless. It’s vital that we don’t pull the rug from under Britain’s world-leading music industry.”

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) – which is leading the Save Music campaign for post-Brexit freedom of movement – has also voiced opposition to the government plans.

‘The end of freedom of movement will have a devastating impact on British musicians,” she says. “The introduction of harsher immigration rules after Brexit will cause declining diversity and creativity in the British music industry. It could also potentially lead to the introduction of reciprocal immigration rules by EU countries.

“While it is good news that government does not intend to immediately introduce a £30,000 minimum income threshold for new immigrants, we do urge for any future plans to be abandoned. Such a threshold is not compatible with the music profession, where earnings can be less. We look forward to working with the government during the consultation period.”

 


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Switzerland’s Ticketcorner announces fanSALE launch

Switzerland’s leading ticketing platform, Ticketcorner, has become the latest ticket seller to announce the launch of a face-value resale platform.

FanSALE will launch in spring 2019 , and sees Ticketcorner “taking a stand against the dishonest secondary market and exaggerated resale prices”, says the CTS Eventim-owned company.

FanSALE has long been active in Eventim’s home country, Germany, and launched in the UK in January this year. On launch, the Swiss site will be located at fansale.ch, which currently redirects to the German fanSALE.

While fanSALE UK allows resale prices of up to 10% above face value, tickets may only be listed on fanSALE Switzerland for the original price, with Ticketcorner charging a fee to buyers.

“FanSALE has no commercial purpose. “We’re doing this is to stop the dishonest practices of the secondary market”

In addition to fanSALE UK, the launch of fanSALE in Switzerland follows that of See Tickets’ Fan-to-Fan, AXS’s Marketplace and, most recently, Ticketmaster’s new ticket exchange, as well as the soon-to-launch Ticketek Marketplace in Australia.

“Our new platform, fanSALE, has no commercial purpose,” says Andreas Angehrn, CEO of Ticketcorner. “The reason we’re doing this is to stop the dishonest practices of the secondary market, to guarantee the authenticity of the tickets to our customers and make sure they get a fair deal.

“In the coming years, we intend to establish fanSALE as the leading, and also the fairest, secondary market ticketing platform in Switzerland.”

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2018, Ticketcorner is the largest entertainment ticket seller in Switzerland, with Starticket (recently the target of an unsuccessful takeover bid by Ticketcorner) second and Ticketmaster Switzerland third.

 


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CTS Eventim to collect car tolls for German govt

A new company 50% owned by CTS Eventim is to collect traffic tolls in Germany, after securing a 12–15-year contract from the ministry of transport.

The consortium, jointly owned Eventim and Kapsch TrafficCom, a supplier of electronic toll-collection systems, has been awarded the contract for collecting the ‘infrastructure charge’ for passenger vehicles, which goes towards maintaining Germany’s roads.

It is the first time CTS Eventim’s technology will be used for an application outside the ticketing sector, according to the company.

“We thank the federal government for its confidence in our digital, customer-centred approach”

The contract with the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) – worth more than €2 billion – is initially for 12 years, with an option for a three-year extension.

Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, CEO of CTS Eventim, comments: “We thank the federal government for its confidence in our digital, customer-centred approach. At the same time, we greatly look forward to working with Kapsch TrafficCom to make this exciting project a success.

“We want to make the collection of the passenger vehicle toll as simple as possible for everyone.”

 


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‘Man-free’ Statement festival guilty of discrimination

Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman has ruled that the recent Statement festival, held in Gothenberg on 31 August and 1 September 2018, violated both Swedish and European anti-discrimination legislation by claiming to bar “cis men” from attending.

According to the Diskrimineringsombudsmannen (DO) – which opened an investigation into the festival in July – Statement didn’t actually prevent cisgendered (cis) men, or those born male, from buying tickets or attending. However, media statements from organisers to that effect, as well as the event’s description as the “world’s first major music festival completely free from cis men”, constitute discrimination based on gender, the ombudsman ruled.

Under the Discrimination Act 2009, it is illegal in Sweden to discriminate against individuals based on their sex/gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation or age.

“According to the European Court of Justice, communications and public statements that clearly discourage persons from protected groups from taking part in an activity are to be considered discrimination,” reads a DO statement. “This applies even if there is no identifiable person who has suffered damage.

“Consequently, the DO’s conclusion is that the festival’s statements have violated the prohibition of discrimination based on gender.”

“Testival’s statements have violated the prohibition of discrimination based on gender”

Statement was conceived by Swedish comedienne Emma Knyckare as a “safe space” for female music fans, after several Swedish festivals were hit by reports of sexual assaults. (The most prominent, Bråvalla, was cancelled as a direct result, with promoter FKP Scorpio blaming “some men” who “cannot behave”.)

Knyckare raised 533,120 kr (US$60,395) on Kickstarter to fund the festival, whose line-up, which included Rebecca and Fiona, Loreen (pictured), Jenny Wilson, Gnucci, Cleo, Joy and Frida Hyvönen, was also “completely free from cis men”.

No action will be taken against organisers, though the festival remains under “supervision” by the DO.

Statement, meanwhile, is defiant in the face of the DO decision, saying it will continue “changing the world”.

“It’s sad that when 5,000 women, nonbinary people and transgender people experience a life-changing festival, a few cis men lose it completely,” it says in a Facebook statement. “The success of the Statement festival shows that is exactly what we need, and the DO’s verdict doesn’t change this fact.”

 


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