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James Hanley joins IQ as News Editor

IQ’s daily live music business coverage has been bolstered by the addition of veteran music business journalist James Hanley as News Editor.

Hanley joins the IQ team to work alongside Deputy Editor Lisa Henderson and IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson. He replaces former news editor Jon Chapple.

Prior to joining IQ, Hanley worked as senior staff writer at Music Week from 2015 until going freelance earlier this year. He was previously news editor at former live music business titles Audience and Live UK.

I am excited to join IQ and look forward to building its news coverage

“James’s knowledge of the live sector is encyclopaedic, and the whole IQ team has been a fan of his writing for years,” says Masson. “It’s fantastic that he’s finally joined the team.”

“I am excited to join IQ and look forward to building its news coverage, continuing to get critical information out first, and launching new projects in the coming months,” adds Hanley. “I am delighted to be working with Greg and Lisa as we document the industry’s resurgence from the pandemic and build towards a brighter future.”

Hanley can be contacted at james@iq-mag.net, while Henderson can be contacted at lisa@iq-mag.net.

 


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69k industry jobs lost to Covid, report reveals

UK Music’s annual This Is Music report has revealed the impact of Covid-19 wiped out 69,000 music industry jobs – one in three of the total workforce.

Employment plummeted by 35% from an all-time high of 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 in 2020, according to the 2021 report, while the industry’s economic contribution fell 46% from £5.8bn to £3.1bn year-on-year. Music exports also dropped 23% from £2.9bn to £2.3bn in the same period.

Launching the report, UK Music has called on the government to introduce tax incentives and other employment-boosting measures to help the sector rebuild. It also calling for urgent action to resolve the problems facing musicians and crew touring the EU.

UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin says: “The past 18 months have been exceptionally challenging for the UK music industry, with billions wiped off the value of the sector – but we are determined to look to the future and focus on recovery.

“Music matters to us all. And in a year when we’ve seen just how important music is to all our lives, it’s more important than ever that we take the necessary steps to protect, strengthen and grow the industry.”

“In our Music Industry Strategic Recovery Plan we identify the policy interventions required and set out a clear action plan to get the industry back up on its feet.”

With the right support, the UK music industry can help drive the post-pandemic recovery

UK Music, which carried out the flagship study with its members since 2013, is now urging the government to implement tax incentives for the music industry to stimulate growth and jobs, and to take action to remove the barriers to touring the EU.

In addition, it is calling for a permanent reduction in VAT rate on live music event tickets, more funding and support for music exports, and an increase in funding for music education and for the self-employed to help secure the talent pipeline.

“With the right support, the UK music industry can help drive the post-pandemic recovery,” adds Njoku-Goodwin. “This Is Music sets out the positive role the music industry can play in our country’s future, and the steps that need to be taken to achieve that.

“Music is a key national asset, part of our history and our heritage. More than that, it’s part of our future. And we can’t value it highly enough.”

UK Music has also commissioned Public First to survey the views of the general public on the music industry. Among the findings were that 75% of the public are proud of the UK music industry and its heritage, 59% believe music improves the UK’s reputation overseas and 74% say music is important to their quality of life.

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries adds: “I know how difficult the last year and a half has been – with venues closed, stages dark, and artists prevented from doing what they love. The whole industry has shown great strength, patience and resilience during these hard times, pulling together to help the whole country get through the Covid-19 crisis.

“Our £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund has been a vital lifeline, helping music organisations across the UK to survive one of the worst peacetime crises on record. As doors reopened, our Events Research Programme has enabled music events to return safely.

“We have also listened carefully to UK Music’s arguments about a market failure regarding events insurance, and introduced the Government-backed £700 million Live Events Reinsurance Scheme to ensure future events can be planned with certainty.

“Until now, our focus has been rescue and reopening. Now the priority is to ensure a strong recovery. The UK music industry is one of our country’s great national assets, and I give my commitment that the Government will continue to back it every step of the way.”

 


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German alliance demands December 1 ‘Freedom Day’

German event companies have called for all remaining Covid restrictions to be lifted by 1 December at the latest.

The Event Management Forum (EMF) alliance, which consists of five major organisations including live music associations BDKV and LiveKomm, said that while large-scale events can now take place again in numerous federal states, the various regulations in others meant tours “can only still be planned with considerable obstacles”.

The federal minister of health, Jens Spahn, has said he does not expect the pandemic to end in Germany until spring 2022, therefore it was currently considered “too early to return to normal”. However, citing the country’s high vaccination rate and “moderate” hospital occupancy, the EMF has claimed it is now time for the country to learn to live with the virus.

“Many European countries have long since come to terms with this and lifted all restrictions,” it said. “In Germany, the occupancy of the hospital wards is moderate, the incidence figures are largely constant, the vaccination rate is increasing daily. The persistence of restrictions therefore appears increasingly inappropriate.

The industry is demanding that all restrictions on holding public events be lifted by 1 December

The industry is demanding that all restrictions on holding public events be lifted by 1 December.

“The event industry has always supported meaningful measures by the federal and state governments, insofar as these were proportionate. Maintaining the restrictions on event operations is not.”

Warning that further inaction would lead event specialists to continue to defect to other industries, the EMF said the sector was the “last branch of the economy that is still in a corona coma”.

“The industry is… demanding that all restrictions on holding public events be lifted by 1 December, thus making it possible for cultural and other events to take place again as early as the Christmas season,” it concluded.

Back in January, the EMF presented a proposal titled ‘Manifest Restart’, which detailed a uniform approach to the gradual and safe reopening of events in Germany.

“This would have ensured the highest possible level of security for all event visitors as early as the spring,” it said.

 


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Green Guardians: Resource management

The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) and IQ Magazine, is a new yearly initiative boosting the profiles of those working at the forefront of sustainability, in the hope that it might also inspire others.

The 2021 list, which originally ran in IQ 103, includes 40 entries across eight categories, highlighting some of the organisations and individuals who are working so tirelessly to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.

This year’s winners have been chosen by a judging panel that includes experts from A Greener Festival, Greener Events, Julie’s Bicycle, the Sustainability in Production Alliance, the Sustainable Event Council and the Tour Production Group.

IQ will publish entries across all categories over the coming weeks. Catch up on the previous instalment of the Green Guardians Guide which looks at food & drink.


Ball Aluminium Cup
With its infinitely recyclable aluminium cups, Ball Corporation has signed a number of deals to supply the product line to events, including the 2020 Superbowl in Miami and PGA’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, effectively replacing millions of single-use plastic cups.

Durable, cool to the touch and extremely eco-friendly, extensive research on both sides of the Atlantic claims that consumers believe a venue that serves beverages in aluminium cups cares about the environment and that the drinking experience at that venue would be higher quality/better than other unrecyclable formats currently on offer.

Ball Corporation says that aluminium can be recycled infinitely without ever losing quality. In fact, it cites research that suggests that nearly 75% of all aluminium ever made is still in use today.

The cups can easily be made (minimum order of 50,000 applies) with custom logos and graphics to correspond with venues, events, teams, brands and more. Additionally, Ball’s drinking vessels are sturdier and more durable than other options, reducing breakage incidents and increasing quality perceptions.

EAP launched Love Your Tent, a campaign designed to encourage people to reuse them instead of discarding them

Eco Action Partnership
Waste is a key issue that the festival community needs to tackle head-on, particularly the ongoing problem of discarded tents and camping equipment left behind at the end of most camping festivals, creating one of the biggest environmental issues facing organisers.

With this in mind, Eco Action Partnership (EAP) launched Love Your Tent, a campaign designed to bond people with their portable homes and encourage them to reuse them instead of discarding them.

The organisation’s aim is to publicise the issue and create some solid solutions for change that will benefit the whole of the festival community.

Rick Storey, who helped initiate the campaign, explains, “We are determined to make festivals greener, more sustainable, and more enjoyable events for audiences and organisers, and one way of doing that is to cut down on the number of discarded tents. This can’t be done in solus, it needs to happen across the festival community and should involve tent retailers, festivalgoers and organisers.”

As part of its range of services, EAP also conducts carbon audits for events and businesses, helping to pinpoint where the main impacts are.

Greenbox offers a unique and forward-thinking approach to event waste management

Greenbox Events
Based in Bristol, UK, waste and recycling specialist Greenbox offers a unique and forward-thinking approach to event waste management. It pioneers the most sustainable strategies whilst keeping events clean, tidy and safe.

The Greenbox team builds on a wealth of experience that dates back to the mid-90s when recycling was first taking a foothold in the events industry. Its specially designed, distinctive and robust recycling stations are renowned for their ease of use and high recycling yield.

The company maintains that it’s what you don’t see that’s most important; through strategic deployment of its teams Greenbox tackles cleansing issues before they become a problem.

Greenbox operates throughout the UK, frequently in remote areas with limited or difficult access, as well as busy city centres, and at high-profile sporting events. It provides all the necessary vehicles, personnel, equipment and expertise to ensure events are cleaned efficiently, professionally and more sustainably.

Pitched for You is forming pacts to deliver mass accommodation smoothly in one package

Pitched for You
In 2021, Pitched for You has been delivering initial contracts, taking on crew and forming important relationships within the industry. As a supplier, the company took on every event it could, only to have half cancel and others pop up out of the blue with requests like isolation camps, glamp sites or a restaurant on a cliff.

As a B2B accommodation supplier, Pitched for You is forming pacts with ticket sellers, green travel companies, event assessors and production companies to deliver mass accommodation smoothly in one package.

Although determined to develop a real circular economy service, on the product side materials remain a great challenge, as there are simply no circular economy tent fabrics, yet. So the company is working with Nikwax to help develop these, finding that the correct fibres, coatings and maintenance techniques can make its material last “forever.”

On the service side, Pitched For You took advice from Aston Business School’s Advanced Services Group to ensure its business model is truly sustainable. While on the manufacturing side, Covid is presenting all sorts of international trade issues, so the company is considering moving manufacture entirely to the UK.

OVG is leading the development and operations of the Climate Pledge Arena, the first net-zero carbon arena

Oak View Group
With a mission to innovate and improve the live venue experience, Oak View Group (OVG) is leading the development and operations of the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, which it says will be the first net-zero carbon arena in the world.

OVG believes the new building will be the most sustainable arena venue in the world, serving as a long-lasting and regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action.

Among the multiple strategies the company is relying on to achieve its goals, it has committed to no fossil fuel consumption in the arena for daily use; it will use an extensive solar panel installation combined with off-site supplementary renewable energy for 100% renewable energy power; and it will offset any carbon emission activities it cannot eliminate – like transportation – by purchasing credible carbon offsets.

Other initiatives include a sustainable food and beverage strategy, ensuring that 75% of all produce is sourced within a 300-mile range. Additionally, the arena will have a zero single-use plastic policy, advanced water conservation measures, and by simplifying its supply chain OVG will target a zero-waste goal.

The new arena, which opens in October, will be used to inform future OVG developments including UBS Arena in New York; Moody Center in Austin, Texas; Co-op Live Arena in Manchester, UK; Coachella Valley Arena, California; and new projects in Savannah, Georgia and Milan, Italy.


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IQ 104 out now: IFF, GEI, Steve Strange

IQ 104, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

The October 2021 edition reflects on two of the industry’s best-known events, the International Festival Forum and the Green Events & Innovations conference – both of which returned last month.

The issue also pays homage to renowned booking agent and X-ray co-founder Steve Strange, who recently passed away.

Elsewhere, Adam Woods talks to some of the innovators behind contactless payment systems, IQ gets to grips with audience insights tools and Derek Robertson learns about the rollercoaster ride that suppliers have experienced during the pandemic.

For this edition’s columns and comments, IQ passes the mic to Music Venue Trust’s Mark Davyd, as well as Jürgen Schlensog and Sven Meyer from Jazzopen Stuttgart.

And, in this month’s Your Shout, we ask the industry how they would use an extra hour a day.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks. However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 

IQ subscribers can log in and read the full magazine now.

 


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The New Bosses: Class of 2021 revealed

The latest edition of IQ‘s New Bosses goes live today, celebrating the brightest talent aged 30 and under in the international live music business.

The New Bosses 2021 honours no fewer than a dozen young executives, as voted by their colleagues around the world.

The 14th edition of the annual list inspired the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to submit nominations.

Our distinguished dozen this year comprises promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs and more, all involved in the international business and each of whom is making a real difference in their respective sector.

In alphabetical order, the New Bosses 2021 are:

As in previous years, full interviews with each of the 2021 New Bosses will appear online in the coming days and weeks. However, subscribers can read short individual profiles of each New Boss now in issue 103 of IQ Magazine.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 

 


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IQ 103 out now: New Bosses, Green Guardians & more

IQ 103, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

The September 2021 edition heralds the publication of the New Bosses, IQ’s annual celebration of 12 future industry leaders, nominated by the global live music industry. Subscribers can see the full list of our most promising 30-and-unders working in the business here.

This issue also marks the return of the Green Guardians Guide, championing 40 individuals, companies and initiatives that are driving the green agenda.

Elsewhere, deputy news editor Lisa Henderson looks at some of the new arena projects that promise to take indoor shows to the next level as the live entertainment industry returns to form.

For this edition’s columns and comments, we pass the mic to Paradigm’s Adele Slater, Yourope’s Holger Jan Schmidt and the Roadie Cookbook’s Nick Gosling and Julie Cotton.

And, in this month’s Your Shout, we ask industry leaders which two people they’d want on their team in a zombie apocalypse.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks. However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 

IQ subscribers can log in and read the full magazine now.

 


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OpenAir Gampel returns for 35th edition

Organisers of Switzerland’s OpenAir Gampel have hailed the staff, artists and fans who made it possible for the festival to celebrate its 35th edition in challenging circumstances last weekend.

The festival, which was forced to cancel its 2020 edition, welcomed the legal limit of 10,000 festivalgoers a day – just under a third of its usual capacity of 33,000 – from Friday 20 to Sunday 22 August, as well as more than 25 live acts and 50 DJs, all of whom (with the exception of Swiss citizen Jeremy Loops, who was born in South Africa) are from Switzerland, Germany or Austria.

In a statement, Rock Hock Verein says it is “extremely happy about the successful event and draw a very positive [conclusion].” “Not only the numerous musical highlights and the perfect weather,” continues the promoter, “but above all the overwhelming gratitude of the audience, the artists and everyone working behind the scenes.”

In addition to the reducing the capacity and booking only local artists, Rock Hock Verein also shrunk the physical size of the festival site by around 100 metres to comply with the guidelines in the canton of Valais, where Gampel is located.

Four people were given a voucher for the 2022 festival after testing positive for Covid-19

Performers included headliners Jan Delay and Disko No. 1 (the Germans delivering “probably one of the best concerts in the history of Gampel”, according to organisers), Parov Stelar and Fritz Kalkbrenner, as well as Swiss artists such as Besides Lo and Leduc, Faber, Loco Escrito, Dabu Fanstatic, Mimiks and 77 Bombay Street.

Only those who could certify their Covid-19 status were allowed on site, and 88% of visitors were ready with their certificate at the gates. The remaining 12% of festivalgoers were tested on site, with all but four people testing negative. (Those four were given a voucher for the 2022 edition of OpenAir Gampel.)

OpenAir Gampel will return at full capacity next year (18–21 August 2022), with international artists booked by Derrick Thomson at Mainland Music.

 


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Singapore reopens gradually for vaccinated fans

A maximum of 1,000 people are now permitted at live events in Singapore, as the south-east Asian country continues to lift restrictions cautiously for vaccinated residents.

The 1,000-person limit – which applies to only to events where all attendees are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, or can prove their negative status – includes live entertainment events, spectator sports and conferences, according to the Straits Times. The increase, announced by Singapore’s Covid-19 taskforce, doubles the previous limit of 500 (vaccinated) people, brought in earlier this month.

The city-state, which is home to nearly six million people, is taking a different approach to reopening to countries such as the UK and US, where capacity limits and social distancing regulations have been abolished.

Singapore, said finance minister Lawrence Wong, who leads the multi-ministry taskforce, does not want to open up with a “big bang” like many Western countries have, he told an audience at a hospital yesterday (24 August).

“The objective is to get to the end of this pandemic with as little death and damage as possible”

“Because they already have much higher levels of underlying immunity and protection, many of these countries are more prepared to open up fully,” he said. “They say they have a ‘Freedom Day’, and they are prepared to let the virus run its course through their population.”

In contrast, Singapore has kept infections low throughout the pandemic, with just 50 deaths from Covid-19 in total, and hopes to keep cases at a minimum while opening up, said Wong. The objective, he added, is “to get to the end of this pandemic with as little death and damage as possible, even as we progressively resume most of our normal lives.”

The new 1,000-person capacity limit will apply to those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, who have antibodies having recovered from the disease, or who test negative for the virus 24 hours before the expected end of the event in question.

At press time, some 78% of Singaporeans were fully vaccinated against the virus.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 recovery centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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MSG: Concert touring to return from late September

Madison Square Garden Entertainment, owner of the New York arena of the same name, beat analyst expectations in the fourth financial quarter of 2021, sending its share price to US$72.55, an increase of 16.2%, as of close of business yesterday (23 August).

The company’s Q4 results, which reflected the return of live events to its US venues, saw it increase entertainment revenues to US$31.1 million for the three months ending 30 June – up 264% on Q4 2020’s $8.6m – and narrow adjusted operating losses by 12%, from $90.2m to $79.6m. Event-related revenues specifically increased by $3.5m primarily “due to select events held in the current year quarter”, such as three New York Knicks basketball games and a sold-out full-capacity concert by Foo Fighters.

Speaking during the firm’s Q4 earnings call yesterday, MSG Entertainment president Andy Lustgarten said: “While we are clearly operating in a very fluid environment, we successfully navigated through one of the most challenging times in our company’s history and remain cautiously optimistic about the road ahead. Looking back at fiscal 2021, we saw number of positives, and I am proud of the role we played in helping to shepherd the return of live entertainment in New York as our venues hosted the city’s first large-scale events since the start of pandemic.”

He also told analysts that MSG is making “meaningful progress on our next chapter, MSG Sphere in Las Vegas” – one of two high-tech Sphere arenas planned, along with one in Stratford, London – “heading towards the venue’s opening in calendar 2023.”

Lustgarden said he expects “concert touring to begin ramping back up in late September, leading to a strong concert booking schedule on a full-year basis” for the company.

“2022 is currently pacing ahead of fiscal 2020, which was slated to be a record bookings year”

“In fact, fiscal 2022 is currently pacing ahead of fiscal 2020, which was slated to be a record bookings year for our company prior to the onset of the pandemic,” he said, adding that holds at Madison Square Garden are up 50% on 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.

While recent weeks have seen a number of cancellations as the delta variant of Covid-19 spreads, the US continues to lead the way on the reopening of the concert business.

The MSG Entertainment president also referenced recent remarks by Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino that the live music market will explode when coronavirus restrictions are lifted, particularly from 2022 onwards.

“There is real demand for artists to be on the road,” said Lustgarden. “We feel even more confident in this after listening to Live Nation’s recent public comments, where they talk about the touring business for the years to come. Live Nation has a different purview to what we do, because they are buying global tours and mapping them out at the right time, so while we speak directly to artists, they are speaking to whole tours.

“Together – between what we are seeing and hearing from artists, and what we are hearing from Live Nation – we feel really good about not only this fiscal year, but what the future could be for the next few.”

In addition to the Garden (pictured), MSG-owned and/or -operated venues include the Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre, both in New York, and the forthcoming MSG Sphere Las Vegas and MSG Sphere London.

 


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