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Industry still against Italy named ticket law

TicketOne, Italy’s largest primary ticket seller, has called on communications regulator AGCOM to properly enforce the country’s stringent anti-ticket touting regulations, ahead of the controversial introduction of named tickets for all large shows this July.

With the exception of those who resell tickets on “an occasional and non-commercial basis”, for-profit secondary ticketing was effectively outlawed in Italy in March 2018, with AGCOM (Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni, Communications Authority) empowered to go after offenders, and even shut down websites which continually break the new law. The restrictions followed a previous, ultimately abandoned, attempt to crack down on ticket touting (bagarinaggio), spearheaded former culture minister Dario Franceschini, in late 2016.

Commenting on the decision to file a legal petition with AGCOM, Stefano Lionetti, CEO of CTS Eventim-owned TicketOne, says: “[T]here is a good law in place, one of the clearest and most advanced in Europe, and the time has come to enforce it. Although the phenomenon of ticket touting has decreased markedly, there are still three clearly identifiable sites [Viagogo, StubHub/Ticketbis and MyWayTicket] that continue to speculate on the resale of tickets.”

TicketOne’s intervention comes as the Italian industry braces for the introduction of personalised tickets for all shows over 5,000 capacity on 1 July – introduced by Five Star Movement deputy Sergio Battelli as a means to further control the secondary market, but which has been consistently opposed by the majority of the business, who warn of disruption, queues and rising ticket prices.

Speaking today (29 March) at a press conference in Milan, Grancini continued: “We expect that the measures provided, if consistently and promptly applied, can definitively defeat the phenomenon. This is why we request policymakers and institutions to reopen the discussion [on the Battelli amendment] in order to minimise the inconvenience for the public, and the risks for businesses. We hope this will lead to a reflection on the actual need to introduce personalised tickets this coming July.”

“This amendment … will only generate chaos”

“We are opposed to any form of bagarinaggio, but consumers must know that with the introduction of named tickets from 1 July, ticket costs will increase, changing the user’s name will not be a quick procedure, and it will create more queues at [venue] entrances,” comments Vincenzo Spera, president of promoters’ association Assomusica, which also opposed the Battelli law.

“This amendment, approved in the government’s last budget law as a tool to combat the phenomenon of secondary ticketing, will only generate chaos,” Spera continues. “In order to carry out the necessary checks, event organisers will have to open the gates a long time before the show, employer more staff over several shifts. These costs will be paid by the those who buy the ticket; queues and waiting times will increase, especially during major events; and consumers will no longer be able to give a ticket to a family member, friend or relative.”

“Our mission has always been to facilitate and protect the public, and this is why we have submitted the petition to AGCOM: to protect honest consumers who should be guaranteed maximum ease of access to events,” said TicketOne general manager Andrea Grancini, who added that if the Battelli law is introduced in July, “two out of three tickets available on TicketOne channels will be personalised”.

Assomusica, which represents around 80% of Italy’s concert industry, instead proposes shutting down ticket resale sites and prosecuting those who break existing laws – rather than introducing new regulations that would “harm those who produce culture and […] wealth” for Italy.

 


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Her’s: UK band and manager killed in US car crash

Both members of Liverpool-based band Her’s and their tour manager have been killed in a road accident while touring in the US.

Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading, along with tour manager Trevor Engelbrektson, were involved in the fatal car crash early on Wednesday morning. The accident happened as the group travelled from Phoenix, Arizona to a show date in Santa Ana, California.

The self-described “international supersonic spectral wave Liverpool band” were on their second tour of North America, playing 19 dates of sold-out shows following the release of their debut album Invitation to Her’s in August 2018. The band also put out an eight-track of early releases entitled Song of Her’s in 2017.

The Liverpool duo had been touring the United States since early March, with the Santa Ana gig to be the penultimate date of the tour. Engelbrektson, a Minneapolis musician, sound engineer and tour manager who “did more for Minneapolis music than anybody could ever dream of” had been touring with the pair.

“Musically, Her’s were astonishing. An aptitude for melody, fun and entertainment combined with a complexity that was as sophisticated as it was stylish”

Her’s had played in Washington, New York, Seattle and Denver, among other US cities. The band had featured on the BBC Music Introducing programme at South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

“We are all heartbroken,” write representatives of the band’s record label, Heist or Hit. “Their energy, vibrancy and talent came to define our label.”

“As humans, they were warm, gentle and hilarious […] Musically, Her’s were astonishing. An aptitude for melody, fun and entertainment combined with a complexity that was as sophisticated as it was stylish,” reads the social media post.

Fitzpatrick and Laading met for the first time while studying music at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (Lipa), graduating in 2016.

“To say they were close would be an underestimation of a friendship that was genuinely beautiful to witness; they loved one another like brothers,” reads the Heist and Hit statement.

“We have lost our friends and the world has been denied their talent.”

 


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Kili launches dedicated theatre arm, Kilimanjaro Theatricals

Stuart Galbraith, founder and CEO of UK promoter Kilimanjaro Live, and theatre producer Joshua Andrews have announced the launch of Kilimanjaro Theatricals, a new joint venture which will produce and/or co-produce theatrical productions internationally.

London-based Kilimanjaro Theatricals will develop both its own works and a number of “strategic co-productions” in partnership with other producers on a global basis. The new company’s first projects are 9 to 5: The Musical, currently running in the West End of London, Australian production Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical, playing in Melbourne then Sydney, and Hadestown, now previewing on Broadway in New York.

The launch of Kilimanjaro Theatricals follows the acquisition of a majority stake by Kili’s parent company, Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG), in theatrical promoter Flying Music Group in August 2017.

The UK market accounts for around 40% of DEAG’s group turnover, the Berlin-based company said later that year, with DEAG and its affiliates forming “one of the leading promoters and theatre producers” in Britain.

“Kilimanjaro Group has wanted to land into the world of theatre and musical theatre for several years”

“Kilimanjaro Group has wanted to land into the world of theatre and musical theatre for several years,” says Galbraith, who has led the company since its formation in 2008. “We are hugely excited to combine our ambitions with Josh’s excellent skills and experience in this new venture.”

Two-time Olivier-nominated Andrews, who will also continue to independently produce his existing portfolio, adds: “Stuart and I have been talking about this idea for some time and I am delighted to now be starting this journey with him and the talented Kilimanjaro team.

“We believe that by combining our varied skills, experience and relationships we can create an exciting and successful new theatrical enterprise, and we look forward to developing our own works, as well as co-producing with others around the world.”

Kilimanjaro, whose music touring roster includes Ed Sheeran, Red Hot Chili Peppers and the 1975, celebrated its tenth anniversary last year, following its best-ever year in 2017.

 


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LN named top workplace for LGBTQ equality

Live Nation Entertainment has been recognised as a top workplace for LGBTQ equality by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) foundation, the educational arm of the United States’ largest civil rights organisation.

HRC works to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. For the second year running, Live Nation has earned the top score of 100 on the organisation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are accepted as full members of society at home, at work and in every community. Its equality index is the premier benchmarking tool for recognising companies that practise LGBTQ equality in the United States.

The CEI assesses equality across transgender benefits and wellness, domestic partner benefits, culture and engagement, corporate and employee policies, learning and development and public engagement with the LGBTQ community.

“Live music has a unique ability to connect and unite people from all different backgrounds, and we promote that same sense of community and belonging for our employees at Live Nation”

“Live music has a unique ability to connect and unite people from all different backgrounds, and we promote that same sense of community and belonging for our employees at Live Nation,” says Michael Rapino, president and chief executive of Live Nation Entertainment.

“We’re always striving to create a more inclusive and equitable culture, and are proud to be recognised by the Human Rights Campaign once again,” adds Rapino.

According to HRC president Chad Griffin, the companies that score best on the CEI are “not only establishing policies that affirm and include employees here in the Unites States, they are applying these policies to their global operations.”

This has an impact on “millions of people beyond our shores,” states Griffin.

This recognition follows several third-party acknowledgments for Live Nation’s industry practices and workplace culture, from LinkedIn, Fast Company and Fortune.

Live Nation joins over 560 major US businesses to earn top marks on the equality index.

More information on the 2019 Corporate Equality Index and a free copy of the report can be found here.

 


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Former Mojo boss Ramakers receives Dutch royal award

Leon Ramakers, the former, long-term director of Mojo Concerts, been made an officer of the Order of Orange Nassau for his contributions to the live music industry from deputy mayor of Amsterdam, Touria Meliani.

Ramakers received the royal award for “his major contribution to the cultural sector” and, in particular, for his efforts in promoting and developing “international pop music in the Netherlands” as part of Mojo Concerts, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

The award also recognised the support Ramakers offered to start-ups in the music industry and across the cultural sector. The ex-Mojo chief has also held various administrative and supervisory positions within the Dutch cultural landscape, including in architecture and in publishing.

In 1970, Ramakers met Mojo co-founder Berry Visser when buying tickets for a Led Zeppelin concert. Shortly after, the pair put on Holland Pop Festival, one of the first multi-day rock festivals in Holland. The event was headlined by Pink Floyd and featured performances form the Byrds, T. Rex and Santana.

Ramakers received the royal award for his efforts in promoting and developing “international pop music in the Netherlands”

Mojo was also responsible for the Netherlands’ first-ever stadium concert in 1978, putting on a Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan show at the Feijenoord stadium in Rotterdam (then 69,000-cap.).

Ramakers was instrumental in the setting up of Amsterdam venues AFAS Live (6,000-cap.), formerly the Heineken Music Hall, and the Ziggo Dome (17,000-cap.).

The former Mojo director received a Golden Harp at the Buma Awards earlier this month, alongside Pinkpop festival founder Jan Smeets. The judges commented on Ramakers’ contribution to the professionalisation of the concert industry and his influence on the talent development of various bands and artists.

 


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Jan Smeets honoured for 50 years of Pinkpop

Pinkpop founder Jan Smeets has received a golden commemorative coin, embossed with the Pinkpop logo, from the Royal Dutch Mint to celebrate 50 years of the festival.

The Dutch festival celebrates its 50th edition this year, making it the oldest, continually running festival in the world. Festival founder Smeets received the jubilee coin, embossed with the festival logo and an image of the famous ‘Pinkpop Girl’. A total of 6,000 coins will be produced.

“For this 50th edition, I am honoured that the Royal Dutch Mint has immortalised the logo for everyone,” says Smeets.

Fleetwood Mac, Mumford and Sons and the Cure will headline the anniversary festival, with other performances from Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren, Jamiroquai, Bastille, Lenny Kravitz, the 1975 and J Balvin.

“For this 50th edition, I am honoured that the Royal Dutch Mint has immortalised the logo for everyone”

The first edition of Pinkpop took place on 1970 on Pentecost Monday in the Dutch city of Geleen. The festival has grown since its origins from a one-day event to a three-day, 60,000-capacity affair.

The image of the Pinkpop Girl has been present on the festival logo since early on and will dominate the aesthetics of the anniversary event.

Bert van Ravenswaaij, chief financial officer of the Royal Dutch Mint, comments: “It is special for the Royal Dutch Mint – virtually the oldest company in the Netherlands – to make a special anniversary issue for the oldest, still-running festival in the world. We are very proud of this.”

The 50th anniversary edition of Pinkpop takes place from 8 to 10 June on the Megaland festival site in Landgraaf, the Netherlands, tickets for the festival are now available. Fans can buy special anniversary Pinkpop medals here.

 


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Elton gets a stadium upgrade for Montreux shows

The two Elton John shows at this summer’s Montreux Jazz Festival have been combined into a single open-air date, accommodating a further 7,000 fans alongside the massive production of the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.

Sir Elton, originally scheduled to play two shows at the 4,000-capacity Stravinski Auditorium on 29 and 30 June, will now play to 15,000 people at Montreux’s Saussaz Stadium on the 29th. All tickets for the Stravinski shows remain valid for the new date, although those wishing to receive a refund will be able to do so via email.

Another 7,000 tickets will also go on sale, at the same price of 185 SFr. (standing) or 450 SFr. (seated).

“Elton John will be doing a giant show which draws on a 50-year career,” Montreux festival director Mathieu Jaton tells Swiss daily le Temps, who explains that following the successful debut of the AEG-promoted Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour in the US, Sir Elton requested to bring the full stage production to Europe.

“Elton John will be doing a giant show which draws on a 50-year career”

“There were two or three places where we could not fit this gigantic production, including the Stravinsky Auditorium, so we looked for another solution.”

The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour kicked off in North America in September, heading to Europe this summer for a string of arena, stadium and festival dates.

The 53rd Montreux Jazz Festival begins on 28 June and runs until 13 July 2019. The full 2019 line-up will be announced on 9 April.

 


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Avicii’s family launches mental health foundation

The family of Swedish DJ and producer Avicii, real name Tim Bergling, has set up the Tim Bergling Foundation in his honour, raising money and awareness for mental health-related issues and suicide prevention.

The new foundation will focus predominantly on mental health and suicide prevention. It also hopes to address issues such as climate change, development assistance and conservation.

“Tim wanted to make a difference,” states Bergling’s family. “Starting a foundation in his name is our way to honour his memory and continue to act in his spirit.”

Avicii died of an apparent suicide in 2018, at the age of 28. The DJ had retired from touring two years previously, stating he had “too little time left for the life of the real person behind the artist” to continue.

Following his death, Avicii’s family described the dance music superstar as “an over-achieving perfectionist who travelled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress.”

“Tim wanted to make a difference. Starting a foundation in his name is our way to honour his memory and continue to act in his spirit”

Family members referenced the DJ’s ongoing “struggles with thoughts about meaning, life, happiness”, saying “he could go on no longer.”

Discussing mental health at Futures Forum in March, Tristan Hunt from the Association for Electronic Music (AFEM), referenced the deaths of Bergling and of Prodigy frontman Keith Flint, who took his own life on 4 March. Hunt said the deaths were an indication of an industry- and society-wide problem.

“Across the industry, the majority of the deaths have been male – they have been high profile but also very representative,” said Hunt. “This is a serious and complex issue that we need to figure out going forward.”

Bergling was a dominant figure in the electronic dance music (EDM) scene, bringing dance music to arenas, breaking attendance records around the world and becoming the sixth-highest paid DJ in the world in 2015.

In 2012, Avicii donated the proceeds of a 27-date tour to the charity Feeding America. He also supported the Swedish aid organisation Radiojälpen and campaigns against human trafficking and gang violence.

 


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Primavera Pro gets untamed with Insumisas

Primavera Sound has partnered with Spanish association Women in the Music Industry (MIM) to launch Insumisas, a new strand of its industry facing Primavera Pro event focused on the role of women in music, culture and politics in increasingly “conservative times”.

Insumisas (Spanish for “Untamed”) will take place on Thursday 30 May, on the second day of the Barcelona convention/festival, and serves to open “debate about the dissemination of feminist thinking in the cultural domain”, according to organisers.

Primavera Sound awarded MIM (Mujeres de la Industria de la Música) its Primavera Award in 2018, in recognition of its work to promote gender equality in the Spanish music industry, and Insumisas cements the relationship between the two parties. The festival is a signatory to the Keychange declaration, and its 2019 line-up is gender-balanced, with at least as many female as male performers.

Insumisas comprises two roundtable discussions. The first, ‘Feminism, politics and culture: separate battles?’, tackles class differences, cultural segregation and the ‘patriarchy’, as well as the role of women in societal conflicts, while ‘All-female showcases: a necessity or a double-edged sword?’ asks whether ‘safe spaces’ for women are a positive development – or an excuse for event organisers to exclude females from the main programme.

Primavera Pro, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, takes place alongside Primavera Sound from 29 May to 2 June 2019. Tame Impala, Solange and Cardi B headline Primavera Sound 2019, which runs from 30 May to 1 June at Parc del Forum in Barcelona.

 


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The Streets, Rudimental among MelodyVR new shows

Music virtual reality (VR) company MelodyVR has added five new gigs to its VR collection, with shows by the Streets, Thomas Rhett, Rudimental, Calum Scott and the Horrors.

Following a sold-out comeback tour, the Streets played a run of shows at the O2 Brixton Academy (4,921) in London. The Birmingham band’s frontman Mike Skinner describes the Brixton gig captured on VR as “an absolute mazza”. “You can even follow me jumping into the crowd and see the panic on my tour manager’s face,” says Skinner.

Fans of country singer Thomas Rhett can experience his performance at the 18,900-capacity Honda Centre in Anaheim, California, from the artist’s point of view. “It’s amazing being able to experience the show from this perspective,” comments Rhett.

Drum and bass group Rudimental’s show at Alexandra Palace in London (10,400) is also available on the VR platform, along with a line-up of guests including John Newman, Tom Walker, Jess Glynne and Anne Marie.

“There are a lot of things that excite us about VR,” says Rudimental. “If you are just standing in the crowd you might miss things, but if you are watching in VR you get to see so much more.”

“We can’t wait for all of our fans to experience us in virtual reality – it’s an experience like no other”

Britain’s Got Talent singer songwriter Calum Scott is another addition to MelodyVR’s list of shows, as Scott’s hometown performance at Hull City Hall (1,200-cap.) was filmed for the virtual reality experience.

The final addition is a show by the Horrors at London’s Koko (1,410-cap.). “With the help of MelodyVR we’ve just stood next to ourselves onstage, jumped into the crowd and experienced our London Koko show as our audience – it was insane!” says the Mercury prize nominated band.

“We can’t wait for all of our fans to experience us in virtual reality – it’s an experience like no other.”

MelodyVR, which recently appointed ex-Shazam exec Miles Lewis as chief commercial officer, is the only licensed music VR platform. The company has partnerships across the industry with labels, publishers and venues and has teamed up with artists including Liam Payne, the Chainsmokers and Gorgon City.

The MelodyVR app is available on VR devices Oculus Go and Gear VR across much of western Europe and the United States.

 


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