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‘A space of music discovery’: New ADE boss talks first year

The 24th edition of Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) will take place under new leadership, as director Mariana Sanchotene looks to boost daytime offerings, incorporate different art forms and explore the crossover between music and technology.

From 16 to 20 October, ADE festival and conference will take over the concert halls, clubs, and theatres of the Dutch capital. More than 2,500 artists and 600 speakers are expected to take part in the event.

“ADE is massive, it really is mind blowing to be in charge,” Sanchotene tells IQ ahead of her first year leading the event. “The planning is going well so far and it is looking like we will have a strong programme this year.”

The festival recently released its second wave of artists, with DJs Avalon Emerson, Peggy Gou and Carl Craig joining previously announced acts Martin Garrix, the Black Madonna, New Order, Carl Cox and Helena Hauff.

A record 400,000 people attended ADE last year, but Sanchotene states the event has no ambition for growing attendance further.

“We are staying with the same number of venues [140] as last year and expect to match attendance,” says the ADE boss, explaining that the city of Amsterdam is “overwhelmed” by visitors as it is.

“My advice to anyone attending ADE is to experiment with new artists”

“The focus is on increasing artistic quality and on growing the day programme in particular to showcase the crossover between electronic music and different cultural forms such as the visual and performing arts,” explains Sanchotene.

The crossover between different musical styles is important for the ADE director too, who believes that people are “more curious” these days and more likely to deviate from what they know.

“My advice to anyone attending ADE is to experiment with new artists. Don’t just go for the usual suspects, really dig into what new talent is on offer,” Sanchotene tells IQ. “ADE is a space of music discovery – I am very much looking forward to seeing how all the acts turn out.”

The 2019 conference will focus on the celebration of 100 years of electronic musical instruments, with exhibits of old equipment and experts speaking about antique gear. The event will also look to the future with an exploration of how technology is shaping the industry, particularly of how augmented reality and gaming are interacting with electronic music.

Health will also be another important topic at the conference, with panel discussions on wellbeing and relaxation spaces to “remind people of the balance” between work, socialising and rest.

Tickets for ADE 2019 are available here, priced at €450 for a five-day festival and conference pass and at €300 for a four-day conference-only pass. Prices go up on Sunday 1 September.

 


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Proposed Brexit merch tax will ‘harm grassroots sector’

UK artists travelling to Europe will have to pre-pay import duty and value-added tax (VAT) on all merchandise they bring on tour with them in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to new UK government guidelines.

European artists entering the UK would similarly have to pay taxes in advance for any merchandise they planned to sell while touring.

Under the regulations, artists would have to complete a long administrative process before embarking on tour with merchandise.

“If you bring goods into or take goods out of the UK in your baggage or a small motor vehicle, and you intend to use them for business, you must declare your goods and pay import duty and VAT before you move them across the border,” reads newly updated government no-deal guidance.

Industry professionals have raised concerns over the impact that such regulations would have on grassroots musicians.

According to Kelly Wood of the Musicians’ Union, the changes represent a “significant problem for touring musicians”.

“It’s a fundamental lack of understanding of the economics of grassroots touring”

“Merchandising  is essential for artists, as it can help to balance the books on tours with tight profit margins,” Wood tells IQ. “It’s also an essential ongoing part of an artist’s branding, which can help to grow a fan base and launch and sustain a career.”

Merchandise sales have boomed in recent years, with music merch sales worth nearly US$3.5 billion in 2018.

Merchandise is especially important for the grassroots sector, accounting for an estimated 30–40% of income generated by emerging artists touring in Europe.

“It’s a fundamental lack of understanding of the economics of grassroots touring to imagine that this process is remotely deliverable by new and emerging artists, either practically or economically,” says Mark Davyd of Music Venue Trust (MVT).

“One t-shirt sale is equivalent to 5,000 streams on Spotify, and band merchandise is the most direct way of supporting new and emerging artists,” says Davyd, adding: “We strongly urge the government to think again.”

“Artists are already having to piece together complex travel arrangements, itineraries, contracts and budgets”

The new regulations requires artists to apply for an EORI number, calculate the correct tariff, weigh goods, work out the value of the merchandise and decide on how to declare the goods to customs officials.

“The level of administration that these changes involve will prove problematic to artists who are already having to piece together complex travel arrangements, itineraries, contracts and budgets,” explains Wood.

The taxes on merchandise are not the only additional fees predicted to negatively affect musicians in the case of a no-deal Brexit. The UK’s Incorporated Society of Musicians has calculated that artists will face extra costs of up to £1,000 per year for customs documents, visas, medical insurance and more.

Industry associations, including UK Music and the Musicians’ Union, have repeatedly pushed for a ‘touring passport’ which would allow musicians and their crews to move freely post-Brexit.

 


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Mandopop star JJ Lin sells 30k tickets in 1.5 hrs

Singaporean singer JJ Lin will perform an additional date at the country’s National Stadium after all 30,000 tickets to his 21 December show were snapped up in under two hours.

Following a Mastercard presale on Thursday 29 August, tickets went on general sale at 10am local time this morning (Friday 30 August) and sold out in an hour and a half, according to promoter Unusual Entertainment.

December marks the first performances at the National Stadium, the city-state’s largest concert venue, for Lin, although he sold out the Singapore Indoor Stadium (12,000-cap.) last year, writes the Straits Times.

Lin’s Sanctuary 2.0 stadium tour kicked off in Hangzhou, China, in March.

Lin, who released his debut album, Music Voyager, in 2003, is one of Singapore’s most popular singers and foremost exponent of Mandopop, or Mandarin pop music (a subset of wider Chinese, or ‘C’, pop).

Lin’s Sanctuary 2.0 stadium tour kicked off in Hangzhou in March

While C-pop is growing in popularity outside east Asia, it hasn’t yet made the same impact in the western world as K-pop, from neighbouring South Korea, and its poster boys BTS. According to the SCMP, the reason for this is “simple”: unlike the smaller Korean market, “China doesn’t have any financial need to take C-pop global. As the world’s most populous country with the second-largest economy, China also has a self-sustaining entertainment industry.”

In addition to Lin, upcoming shows for Singapore-based Unusual, part of the mm2 group, include Andy Lau, Kang Daniel and the Walking with Dinosaurs expo.

The company floated on the Singapore Exchange market in early 2017, delivering a 118% return on investment to shareholders, and has largely held its value since – at press time its market cap was S$283 million, compared to C$280m (US$200m) in 2017.

 


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Talent agencies embroiled in Fyre Fest lawsuit

A Fyre Festival trustee has filed a lawsuit against major talent agencies, demanding a return of fees paid to artists they represented to play in the failed event.

Multiple artists were paid to perform at the festival, at which no music was ever played, despite fans paying between $1,500 and $50,000 for tickets. Festival organiser Billy McFarland was later given a six-year prison sentence for fraud and ordered to pay a $23 million fine.

A festival trustee is now attempting to sue Creative Artists Agency (CAA), United Talent Agency (UTA), ICM Partners and Nue Agency for a collective sum of over US$1.75m.

New York’s Nue Agency is facing the greatest amount, with the trustee reportedly asking for the return of $730,000 paid to Pusha T, Desiigner and Tyga.

The lawsuit is also seeking $585,000 from CAA, who represent Fyre headliners Blink-182 in North America, Australia and Mexico. CAA is also reportedly being sued for the fees paid to Claptone, Bedouin (North America) and Lee Burridge (the Americas, Asia, Australia).

CAA, UTA, ICM Partners and Nue Agency are being sued for a collective sum of over $1.75m

The trustee is demanding $350,00 from LA-based ICM Partners for the fees paid to artists Lil Yachty (North America), Migos (North America) and Rae Sremmurd (now CAA), whereas UTA is being asked for the return of $90,000 paid to Skepta (North America).

The same individual has filed lawsuits against models Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski, for the $275,000 and $300,000 they were paid respectively for promoting the festival on Instagram with a “clear lack of good faith”.

Saddleback Cay, the Bahamian island featuring in much of Fyre Festival’s promotional material, has recently been put up for sale at $11.8m.

The trustee is also seeking to void the transfer of $14.4m from the festival to parent company Fyre Media, of which $11m was allegedly transferred to McFarland.

 


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Boomtown team launch 3,500-cap. venue

The organisers of the UK’s Boomtown festival are launching Area 404 Complex, a new 3,500-capacity events space in the city of Bristol.

The venue is opening on the weekend of 1 and 2 November, in time for Halloween celebrations, for “a nighttime festival experience beyond this world.

The venue features five rooms, with a main room showcasing music similar to that found on the festival’s main stage. Smaller rooms will host a mixture of reggae, techno, house, drum and bass and disco.

“We are so pleased to be able to finally announce this venue, it feels like a proper homecoming for us. We’re unbelievably excited to be able to showcase everything we’ve grown into since we started putting on gigs in Bristol over a decade ago,” comment Boomtown organisers.

“We are so pleased to be able to finally announce this venue, it feels like a proper homecoming for us”

“To be able to bring our unique mix of interactive and immersive theatre, beautifully hand crafted intricate set designs and a huge amount of music genres all under one roof, is going to be something incredibly special!”

Founded in 2009, Boomtown attracts 66,000 fans each year to its site in Winchester, England. The 11th edition of the festival took place from 7 to 11 August, despite high-speed winds and heavy rain causing the cancellation of other UK events. Headliners included Lauryn Hill, Prophets of Rage and the Streets.

Tickets for the Area 404 Complex Halloween events sold out in under 30 minutes. Tickets are available to attend the venue on Friday 8 November here, priced at £36.30.

 


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New Order managers to receive top prize at A&MAs

Prime Management’s Rebecca Boulton and Andy Robinson, the longtime managers of New Order, will be presented with the coveted managers’ manager award at the 2019 Artist & Manager Awards (A&MAs) this November.

The award, sponsored by SJM Concerts, is given to an individual or company who has gained the respect of their peers over a sustained career. Previous recipients of the prize, formerly known as the Peter Grant award, are Modest! Management (2018), Jonathan Kessler (2017), Peter Rudge (2016), Jim Beach (2015), Paul Loasby (2014), Terry Blamey (2012) and John Glover (2011).

With Prime, Boulton and Robinson have represented the electronic music pioneers since 1999, following the premature death of original manager Rob Gretton. In 2015, following a decade-long absence, New Order released an album of new material, Music Complete on Mute Records, and the band continue to headline festivals and shows worldwide, notably releasing live album ∑(NO,12K,LG,17MIF), captured during the 2017 Manchester International Festival, last month.

“For protecting and nurturing a legacy, while enabling the creators of that legacy to thrive, Rebecca and Andy are deserving recipients of the MMF’s ultimate honour,” say awards organisers Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC).

In a joint statement, the Prime pair say: “In 1999, after the untimely death of Joy Division and New Order’s mercurial manager, Rob Gretton, the opportunity arose to manage two of the greatest bands ever. Fortunately they let us do it, and 20 years later we’re still here.

“What Rebecca and Andy have achieved is almost without precedent”

“Despite some ups and downs, we’ve had great success working with their new material and two of the most influential and credible catalogues from any UK artists.”

Under the A&MAs’ previous incarnation, the British Music Roll of Honour, the award was received by Simon Fuller (2008), Bill Curbishley (2007), Paul McGuiness (2006), David Enthoven and Tim Clark (2004), Jazz Summers (2003), Ian McAndrew and Colin Lester (2002), Chris Morrison (2001), Tony Smith (2000), Rod Smallwood (1999), Ed Bicknell (1998), Gail Colson (1997) and Geoff Travis and Jeanette Lee (1996).

Annabella Coldrick, chief executive of the MMF, says: “What Rebecca and Andy have achieved is, I think, almost without precedent. Having assumed management of one of the UK’s greatest and most independent acts, they have successfully navigated New Order through tragedy and pitfalls – keeping a heavyweight legacy intact, while ensuring the band’s creative relevance endures for a new generation of fans.

“They are a complete inspiration, and I am delighted both have accepted this recognition from the music management community.”

Celebrating achievements in the UK’s artist and management community, 2019’s A&MAs takes place at the Bloomsbury Big Top in London on Thursday 14 November.

As previously announced, Nile Rodgers will receive the artists’ artist award. Other winners will be revealed in the coming weeks.


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“We’re unifying two communities”: LiveXLive to bring esports to festivals

US festival video platform LiveXLive has announced a multi-year partnership with China’s Allied Esports, which owns a network of esports venues and content production facilities, in a deal the pair say provides “a unique opportunity for new revenue streams by connecting the $9 billion live music industry with the $100-plus billion esports and gaming industries”.

The collaboration will see Allied’s fleet of mobile esports venues, dubbed Esports Trucks, used to create create original “live esports experiences” and other gaming-related content at music events and festivals throughout the world.

That content includes LiveZone, a travelling studio broadcasting a mix of music news, commentary, festival updates and artist interviews from LiveXLive’s roster of festivals – as well as hosting performances by artists under the banner LiveXLive Presents and providing festivalgoers with competitive videogaming activities.

‘Live Zone Live from the HyperX Esports Truck’ will debut in Las Vegas on 21 September, in conjunction with LiveXLive’s live video stream of the iHeartRadio Music Festival.

Esports-specific revenues are on track to exceed US$1bn in 2020, reflecting increasing buy-in to the burgeoning competitive videogaming sector by corporate brands and traditional sports and entertainment businesses.

Alongside live shows by YouTubers, internet personalities and other online ‘influencers’, esports is an important growth area for live entertainment businesses, prized for its ability to fill arenas and stadia with thousands of young fans who may have little interest in concerts or other forms of live entertainment.

“With this partnership, we are bringing the two fastest-growing live entertainment categories together”

In May, German concert giant DEAG became the latest live music company to invest in the esports sector, joining music companies including AEGCAAMSG, Australia’s TEG and France’s Vivendi which have acquired stakes in, or partnerships with, major esports competitions and teams.

“With this partnership, we are bringing the two fastest-growing live entertainment categories together, enhancing the experience for both consumers and brands,” says Rob Ellin, chairman and CEO of LiveXLive, whose festival livestreaming partners include Rock in Rio, Sziget, Paléo Festival Nyon, EDC Las Vegas and Montreux Jazz Festival.

“We’re also unifying two distinct communities – music fans and gaming fans – while at the same time continuing on our promise to provide the best in streaming entertainment to our core audience.”

In addition to its concert streams, Nasdaq-listed LiveXLive produces its own original music content, and also owns ticketing company Wantickets, management firm LXL Influencers and digital radio business Slacker. With esports, the company is understood to be diversifying further beyond music streaming amid investor pessimism about its business model.

Allied Esports, meanwhile, has 11 esports venue properties, including Esports Arenas in Las Vegas; Oakland, California; HyperX Esports Studio in Hamburg; and five arenas in China, including in Beijing, Shenzhen and Hangzhou. Its 12th arena, operated by Allied-affilitated Fortress Esports, will open in Melbourne later this year.

“Esports and gaming represent an expansive and emerging audience that has been incredibly hard to reach by those targeting its demographic,” says Jud Hannigan, CEO of Allied Esports. “Partnerships with forward-thinking companies like LiveXLive will allow us to continue to bridge the gap between esports and other entertainment industries and deliver high-end, brand-friendly experiences and content for consumers around the world.”

 


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Tickets Cloud launches new smart ticketing tech

Cloud-based ticketing platform Tickets Cloud trialled an updated version of its crypto.tickets distributed ledger technology at electronic music festival Signal.

Tickets Cloud launched ethereum-based crypto.tickets in 2017, using the blockchain platform to sell tickets for a 6,000-capacity Kraftwerk concert in February 2018. The newest version of the technology debuted at Signal festival, which took place from 15 to 18 August in Nikola-Lenivets, Russia.

More than 2,000 tickets were transferred using the technology, increasing the data available to organisers by 15%. Festivalgoers were also able sell unwanted tickets through the platform, with organisers receiving a cut for tickets sold on for higher than face value.

Each ticket was distributed with a unique, dynamic QR code to a Tickets Wallet, available on Android and Apple smartphones. All transactions were recorded in a distributed blockchain registry, providing access to the ticket’s “history” and owner information.

“We wanted to save our customers from issues like fake tickets and scams happening around the resale of tickets, and we also wanted to streamline ticket purchase and admission, making it safe and convenient,” says Sergeev Fadeev, CEO and founder of Signal Festival.

“We like to implement new exciting technologies so we decided to experiment with smart tickets, and we were not disappointed,” adds Fadeev.

“We like to implement new exciting technologies so we decided to experiment with smart tickets, and we were not disappointed”

Festival organisers were able to send messages to attendees, notifying them of any schedule changes or sending greeting from artists. Data from the app allowed organisers to identify the most engaged fans, offering promotional opportunities for future events.

Over 250 valid ticket holders communicated with each other via a chat room, arranging meet-ups, exchanging gig photos and swapping performance opinions.

“Every festival, every musical event unites like-minded people, and that’s why we’re focused on the social component of our app,” says Egor Egerev, founder of Tickets Cloud and сrypto.tickets.

Tickets Cloud currently sells tickets using crypto.tickets technology to more than 30 local events in Russia and is preparing to launch the technology at its first events in Europe and the USA.

Crypto.tickets can be integrated with any ticketing system, with Eventbrite already offering the necessary integration, in addition to Tickets Cloud.

Speaking to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2018, Tickets Cloud founder and managing director of the Moscow Ticketing Forum, Katerina Kirillova, told IQ that crypto-tickets were the “antidote to illicit resale”.

 


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DEAG plans further EU expansion for strong H2

German live event powerhouse Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) forges on with its buy-and-build strategy, after reporting a decline in sales for the first half (H1) of 2019.

Despite reporting a strong start to 2019, sales in the first half of the year are down, with operating earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation (EBITDA) also decreasing, from €4.2 million in 2018 to €3.1m.

In its 2019 H1 financial report, DEAG attributes the decline in sales of almost 46%, from €118m in H1 2018 to €63.9m, to the “’seasonal postponement’ of certain events”. For example, DEAG organised twelve high revenue-generating Ed Sheeran shows in the second quarter of last year, whereas the company’s six Sheeran concerts in 2019 fall in the third quarter.

DEAG attributes the decline in sales to the “seasonal postponement of certain events”

Q3 2019 is forecast to be successful all round, with concerts by Böhse Onkelz, Foreigner, Stereophonics, Limp Bizkit and Toto expected to contribute to revenues of €55m, 60% more than the same period last year.

DEAG also says it plans to continue its 2019 buying spree, adding to recently acquired controlling stakes in Stuttgart-based C2 Concerts, Swiss concert organisers LMP and LME, LiveStyle’s German arm I-Motion and Schlager powerhouse Mewes Entertainment.

Finally, the use of the DEAG-owned MyTicket platform to distribute more than half a million tickets will also contribute to “one of the strongest fourth quarters in company history”.

 


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Russia’s MTS rolls out VR concert broadcasts

Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), the largest mobile network operator in Russia, has begun rolling out a slate of virtual-reality (VR) video from concerts and other live events, as it seeks to gain a greater foothold in the country’s €400m+ live entertainment market.

MTS, which turned over ₽480bn (US$7.2bn) in 2018, is also active in Armenia, Belarus and the Ukraine, and the largest mobile telco in the CIS region (most of the former Soviet Union). It acquired majority stakes in Ticketland and Ponominalu, two of Russia’s biggest primary ticket sellers, in early 2018.

According to an MTS spokesperson, entering the VR market will enable the company to expand its presence in the sphere of entertainment and events, following the acquisition Ticketland and Ponominalu, reports the PRIME news agency.

The new VR service, located at vr.mts.ru, launched with a 360°, 4K-quality VR broadcast from the Park Live festival in Moscow on 12–14 July, and has since added content from the Rhymes Festival in Luzhniki and concerts by local stars Misha Marvin, the Slot and Klava Koka.

Content is free initially, and will later be provided as part of a subscription, or for a single payment of up to ₽250

Video from Park Live, for which Ponominalu was the ticket agency, was viewed by more than 25,000 people during the festival.

PRIME’s Yekaterina Yezhova reports that while the VR service is free initially, content will later be provided as part of a subscription, or for a single payment of up to ₽250 ($3.75).

According to Kommersant, while demand for VR devices is growing in Russia, boosted by high-profile trials such as MegaFon’s broadcast of a Russia-Turkey football friendly in 2018, the technology is not expected to take off in a big way until the widespread availability of 5G mobile internet.

 


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