ILMC 33: One week to go
There is just one week to go until the global concert industry comes together again for the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), which returns as virtual event from 3 to 5 March 2021.
Hundreds of leading figures from across the global live music business are contributing to ILMC’s digital debut, as well as this year’s ILMC Production Meeting and Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI), which take place on 2 March. The ILMC conference schedule now features the largest line-up of guest speakers at any live music conference ever, with more than 250 speakers in attendance.
Over 1,000 delegates will attend ILMC 33, including executives including Irving Azoff (Azoff Music), Klaus-Peter Schulenberg (CTS Eventim), industry commentator Bob Lefsetz, Emma Banks (CAA), Tim Leiweke (Oak View Group), Jason Danter (Lady Gaga/Madonna), Lucy Dickins (WME), Pandora founder Tim Westergren, Sam Kirby Yoh (UTA) and Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett.
The 33rd edition of the top global platform for concert and festival professionals features 60+ meetings, workshops and keynotes across three days, alongside 50 showcases from new artists, presented by top booking agencies and export offices. Within the ILMC schedule, new event brand PULSE is a day of discussion around the intersection of technology and live music, and the Experience Economy Meeting (TEEM) focuses on non-music content.
“This is a crucial moment to bring the global live music business together”
The Arthur Awards, the live music industry’s Oscar equivalents, will stream live from the stage of the Royal Albert Hall as the iconic venue celebrates its 150th anniversary.
Companies supporting ILMC 33 include Live Nation, Ticketmaster, CTS Eventim, ASM Global, Showsec, Tysers, Hearby & Semmel Concerts.
ILMC head Greg Parmley says: “This edition of ILMC will mark one year since the live music business began to shut due to Covid-19, and it takes place just as markets around the world are pushing forward with plans to reopen.
“This is a crucial moment to bring the global live music business together to define its restart.”
The full schedule and details of all sessions and speakers are available at 33.ilmc.com. If you haven’t already, there is still time to secure your ILMC 33 pass at the discounted spring rate of £139/£159 until 18.00 GMT this Friday (26 February).
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Austrian court finds against Viagogo T&Cs
In a probe into Viagogo’s terms and conditions, the supreme court of Austria has found more than 40 clauses of the secondary ticket site’s general terms for buyers and sellers are illegal.
Finding in favour of VKI, the Austrian Consumers’ Association, the Supreme Court of Justice (Oberster Gerichtshof, OGH) ruled that 42 clauses of the site’s general T&Cs, including provisions on refunds, replacement tickets and the supremacy of Swiss law, are unlawful in Austria.
Notable clauses deemed illegal in the OGH ruling include:
- No refund if lost: A clause stipulating that all sales are final, so the buyer has no right to a refund or exchange if the ticket is lost, or the terms of the ticket sale are only partially fulfilled – eg if there is a date or time change
- Refund for non-delivery: If tickets are not delivered to the buyer and returned to Viagogo more than three times, the buyer forgoes their right to a refund, regardless of whether they were at fault or not
- Replacement tickets: A clause stipulating that if the seller does not deliver the tickets, Viagogo may, at its own discretion, decide whether to offer replacement tickets or refund the buyer
- Seat changes: A clause allowing the seller to change the seat to which the listing refers for a comparable seat without the buyer’s consent
- Liability disclaimers: A number of clauses purporting to exclude or limit Viagogo’s liability, such as for its own website and services
- Applicable law: A clause stating that Swiss law applies to contracts entered into on the Austrian site. In fact, consumers are protected under Austrian consumer law and have the right to sue the reseller before an Austrian court
“We hope the OGH’s decision encourages other jurisdictions to ensure that their consumers are equally protected”
According to anti-touting group FEAT (Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing), Viagogo will legally be required have to amend all 42 clauses, both for viagogo.at and for Austrian consumers accessing the site via viagogo.com.
“For a platform that claims to serve fans, the level of protection that Viagogo offers its users, as brought to light in this ruling, is shocking,” comments FEAT campaign lead Katie O’Leary. “We welcome the OGH’s decision and hope that it encourages other jurisdictions to ensure that their consumers are equally protected.”
In May, the OGH ruled that Viagogo and other secondary ticketing sites must disclose the identity of ticket sellers, including name and address, and whether tickets are personalised ahead of ticket purchase.
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Brazilian singer arrested after unlicensed show
A popular Brazilian singer has been arrested after playing an unlicensed, non-socially distanced concert in a school last week.
Samba star Marcelo Pires Vieira, known as Belo (‘Beautiful’), was apprehended by Brazil’s Civil Police yesterday (17 February) following the 12 February show, described by news agency EFE as a “massive concert” at a state school in Parque Uniao, a favela in the north of the city.
According to police, the show took place both without authorisation and without any preventative measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including mask wearing.
All Carnival events, parties and concerts are banned this year to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Rio de Janeiro.
The show “could only have taken place with the authorisation of the head of the gang which controls drug trafficking”
In addition to the obvious breaches of coronavirus restrictions, officers suspect the concert, held on the first night of the Rio Carnival, was organised and financed by drug traffickers operating out of the favela (slum) where it took place.
Footage from the concert, filmed by both attendees and news helicopters, was broadcast on Brazilian television, showing a large crowd at the school.
Gustavo de Mello de Castro, head of the Civil Police’s drug commissariat, ordered the arrest of four people, including Belo. According to a police statement, the show “could only have taken place with the authorisation of the head of the gang which controls drug trafficking in the region,” Luiz Moura Bargosa, who is also subject to an arrest warrant.
A statement from Belo’s publicist says the singer was hired by a production company which had promised to fulfil all health and safety protocols and secure permission to hold the event.
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Article 25: Keep guns out, urge French festivals
French festival associations De Concert! and France Festivals have expressed their concerns about a controversial new security bill that would allow off-duty police and gendarmes to carry their weapons into music festivals, entertainment venues and other places open to the public.
Article 25 of the proposed global security (sécurité globale) law, introduced last October by the incumbent Jean Castex government, would remove the right of so-called public establishments (établissements recevant du public, ERP) to deny entry to police officers or soldiers of National Gendarmery who are carrying guns when they are not on active service.
The bill, which is opposed by many civil liberties groups, also contains several other provisions strengthening police powers, including giving municipal police access to CCTV footage, restricting when police and gendarmes may be filmed by the public, and expanding the use of police drones.
Ahead of the bill reaching the Senate, the two associations – along with six other groups, including the SMA (Union of Contemporary Music), Fedelima (Federation of Contemporary Music Venues) and Profedim (Union of Producers, Festivals, Ensembles and Independent Music Distributors) – have urged politicians to act to keep weapons out of ERPs, which also include concert venues, rehearsal spaces, theatres, cinemas, hotels and restaurants.
“With the adoption of article 25, the presence of weapons within ERP, and therefore cultural places, would be facilitated or even trivialised, and we see a serious danger,” say the eight associations in a statement.
“Our teams are unable to absolutely check the validity of a potentially falsifiable police card”
The associations’ objection is two-fold: First, that anyone posing as a policeman or gendarme could smuggle a gun into a live event, and secondly, that it reduces ordinary concertgoers to second-class citizens not entitled to the same privileges the police would enjoy.
“Our teams and our private security agents are unable to absolutely check the validity of a potentially falsifiable police card,” they continue. “Nothing could be simpler, therefore, for those who would like to commit a mass murder.”
Secondly, the statement adds, “because an undercover police officer who is not on duty is a citizen like any other, and citizens remain free and equal in rights, we see in this difference in treatment as an attack on the founding principles of our Republic.
“Thus, it seems to us that the benefits that the extension of the authorisation to carry weapons within the ERP would represent [pale in comparison] to the heavy risks involved.”
The draft global security law returns to the French parliament next month.
Stubagogo will spin off StubHub international
Both Viagogo and StubHub have signalled they are willing to sell off the latter’s international operations in order to clear the remaining legal hurdles to the merger of the two businesses.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said earlier this week that StubHub must divest its business outside North America in order secure regulatory approval for its takeover by Switzerland-based Viagogo, which was largely complete by February 2020. Viagogo, led by StubHub founder Eric Baker, announced its intention to acquire US-based StubHub for US$4.05 billion in cash in late 2019, just before the pandemic put the brakes on live events globally.
In a statement, a spokesperson for StubHub says the company is happy for its business outside North America – which includes offices in Europe, South America and Asia, and is believed to account for around 10% of StubHub’s overall business – to continue under new ownership if it secures CMA approval for the merger. (The CMA must also vet the purchaser of the StubHub international business, as well as the terms of the acquisition.)
“StubHub is happy to have found common ground with the CMA that allows our North American business to move forward”
“StubHub is happy to have found common ground with the CMA that allows our North American business to move forward with the merger with Viagogo and our international business to move forward under new ownership,” says the spokesperson.
“We will continue to work with the CMA to implement the agreed-upon remedy. Once completed, consumers will continue to benefit from the safe and secure marketplaces provided by both businesses.”
“We are pleased to have found a remedy that is acceptable to the CMA that will allow everyone involved to move forward with clarity and certainty,” reads a similar statement from Viagogo. “Importantly, both viagogo and StubHub will continue to provide a safe and secure platform for people to buy and sell tickets to events all over the world.”
The CMA’s investigation found that the combined Viagogo-StubHub business would control a market share of more than 90% of the for-profit secondary ticketing market in the UK. The company faces stiffer competition in the US, where ticket touting is more accepted, from the likes of Ticketmaster Resale, Ticket Network, Vivid Seats and SeatGeek.
Countdown begins to ILMC 33: Virtually Live
There’s just a month to go until the industry comes together once more for the 33rd International Live Music Conference (ILMC), streaming live from London to thousands of workplaces, home offices and sofas worldwide.
ILMC 33: Virtually Live will be the largest and most international edition of the conference to date, with the online-only format allowing for a greater number of panels, meetings, keynotes, networking opportunities and after-hours events than ever before.
Debuting in 2021 are two new conferences-within-a-conference, exhibition showcase The Experience Economy Meeting (TEEM) and the tech-focused PULSE, while returning favourites include the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM), the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) and the industry’s Oscars equivalent, the Arthur Awards, which will stream live from London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall on 4 March.
Also streaming live will be a series of showcases presented by the planet’s premier booking agencies, with other evening entertainment including the ever-popular quiz of the year and poker tourney, which – while taking place somewhere deep in hyperspace – is raising funds for the Stagehand Covid-19 crew relief fund back in the real world.
Conference highlights include sessions tackling the biggest topics of the day, from the festival season and the changing agency sector to reopening venues, the evolving world of A&R, mental health and the insurance market, as well as can’t-miss keynote interviews with Irving Azoff and Klaus-Peter Schulenberg and a special live edition of the Bob Lefsetz Podcast.
For the first time, this year’s conference is open to both existing members and ILMC newbies
Guest speakers include powerhouse agents (Lucy Dickins, Tom Windish, Emma Banks, Sam Kirby Yoh), festival bosses (Fruzsina Szép, Mathieu Jaton, Jim King), recording artists (Matt Heafy, Frank Turner), leading promoters (Phil Bowdery, Steve Homer, Stephan Thanscheidt), venue execs (Tim Leiweke, Stuart Clumpas) and more, with all ILMC delegates also invited to join the conversation on the cutting-edge virtual conference platform.
So with this year’s conference, for the first time in ILMC history, open to both existing members and ILMC newbies, there’s no excuse for not logging on to live music’s greatest gathering in March.
For more information on ILMC 33, which takes from 3 to 5 March 2021, visit the ILMC website. Full three-day tickets, as well as passes for IPM and GEI (on 2 March), are available at a discounted winter rate of £119/£139 until 6pm GMT on 19 February.
Read the full conference guide in the digital edition of IQ 96 now:
Live Nation sues insurer for non-payment
Live Nation is suing insurer Factory Mutual (FM) for failing to cover its “unprecedented” losses as a result of the nearly year-long concert business shutdown.
Beverley Hills-based Live Nation, the world’s biggest live music company, is taking legal action against Factory Mutual Insurance Co. in the former’s home state of California for allegedly wrongfully refusing to pay out, despite Live Nation’s policy including business interruption cover from FM.
“Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on Live Nation’s properties and business, causing severe and unanticipated losses,” reads the complaint, filed in the US district court for central California.
It adds that LN “reasonably” believed that Factory Mutual Insurance Co. would promptly cover its losses, as it has an “all-risks policy” that covers lost income, property damage, extra expenses and, crucially, interruptions from communicable diseases.
In November, leading booking agency UTA similarly sued its insurance provider, Chubb, after being denied compensation for any of its estimated US$150m in losses stemming from the pandemic pandemic.
“We strongly believe our insurance policies are clear on the coverage provided”
In a statement provided to Bloomberg Law, Factory Mutual says it strives to be clear on what its policies cover. “FM Global values the long-term relationships we have with our policyholders and we are proud in leading the industry for claims service,” it reads.
“It is unfortunate when legal matters arise because we strongly believe our insurance policies are clear on the coverage provided.
Despite posting a more than 80% revenue decline in the first nine months of 2020 (the most recent available financial data), Live Nation’s share price recently reached an all-time high of $76.54. At press time, it is just over $70.
Learn more about what the next 12–24 months look like for policies and cover at Insurance: The Big Update, at ILMC on 3 March.
New year, new hope: IQ 96 is out now
IQ 96, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.
February’s IQ Magazine details the unique 2021 edition of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) and offers an exclusive preview of new session Pulse with agent Mike Malak.
Elsewhere, IQ editor Gordon Masson finds out New Zealand’s industry is coping in its post-pandemic bubble, and talks to some of Europe’s biggest venues to find out how they plan to get back up and running, as the European Arenas Association turns 30.
This issue also hears from Crosstown Concerts director Conal Dodds, who details his firm’s creation of a new live-streaming operation, and Nue Agency chief Jesse Kirshbaum, who extols gaming’s ability to introduce artists to new audiences and accelerate career development.
And if you’re curious to know what Rob Challice (Paradigm), Claudio Trotta (Barley Arts), Alan Day (Kilimanjaro Live) and other industry pros are looking forward to most when life gets back to normal, you’ll find the answers in Your Shout.
All that is in addition to all the regular content you’ve come to expect from your monthly IQ Magazine, including news analysis and new agency signings, the majority of which will appear online in some form in the next four weeks.
Whet your appetite with the preview below, but if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe now and receive IQ 96 in full.
CMA: StubHub must sell Europe, Asia, S. America biz
StubHub must sell its entire international business – including its operations in the UK, Europe, South America and Asia – for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to sign off on its acquisition by Viagogo, the UK regulator announced today.
The CMA, which put the brakes on the already completed merger in October after finding it will significantly reduce competition in the secondary ticketing market, said in its final report summary, released today, that of three possible effective remedies – a full divestiture of either Viagogo or StubHub by the new company, or a partial divestiture of StubHub – the latter solution is the least intrusive for the combined business.
In addition to requiring the sale of the StubHub business outside North America, the CMA reserves the right to choose the identity of the buyer, as well as the terms of the transaction – including the right of the purchaser to use the StubHub brand for the next decade.
Should ‘Stubagogo’ not agree to the sale voluntarily “in a timely fashion”, the competition watchdog will issue a binding order, it says.
“The evidence shows that Viagogo selling StubHub’s international business will resolve our competition concerns”
The partial reversal of the merger will mean StubHub’s operations outside North America “will be independently owned and run by a separate company, with no input from Viagogo”, according to the CMA, which sought input from Viagogo/Stubhub customers, competitors and other experts, including industry professionals and consumer groups, to reach its verdict.
“The CMA has focused on ensuring competition in this sector works best for UK consumers. After examining all the options, including unwinding the merger in full, the evidence shows that Viagogo selling StubHub’s international business will resolve our competition concerns, effectively and proportionately,” says CMA inquiry group chair Stuart McIntosh.
“Creating a fully independent StubHub international business will maintain competition in the UK and help ensure that the users of these ticketing platforms don’t face higher prices or poorer quality of service.”
The CMA’s full final report will be released in the coming weeks.
Adam Webb, from campaign group FanFair Alliance, cautiously welcomes the news, explaining that the identity of the buyer will depend on whether the CMA’s decision is good for fans. “Tackling this hugely controversial $4bn merger was always going to be tough for regulators, and we welcome the CMA’s hard work during this investigation,” he comments.
“Going forward, the most pertinent question will be the identity of potential buyers”
“Going forward, the most pertinent question will be the identity of potential buyers. Practically all of StubHub’s value is in the company’s North American operation. Aside from the acquisition costs, anyone wishing to operate a successful uncapped ticket resale business in the UK would require two things: significant relationships with large-scale ticket touts to supply inventory, and deep enough pockets to outspend Viagogo on Google search advertising.
“That might be good for Google, and it might be good for ticket touts. But we need a conclusion that’s good for UK consumers, and stops them being ripped off.”
“We welcome the CMA’s decision, for which both it and the FanFair Alliance ought to be applauded,” adds Sam Shemtob, director of the Face-Value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT). “The requirement will help protect the live sector across Europe from a concentration of market power from the world’s largest uncapped secondary sites.
“When live events resume, reduced capacities and social distancing will likely lead to increased demand, making it more important than ever that fans can see their favourite bands at the prices intended. FEAT is working hard to make this possible, both with regulators and by developing best practice.”
UK pursuing bilateral solution to visa deadlock
The British government is negotiating on a bilateral basis with individual EU countries in a bid to break the deadlock over the issue of visas for touring artists, culture minister Diana Barran said today.
Taking questions in the House of Lords on 2o January, the Baroness Barran, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, told peers that while the UK’s previous offer to the EU to reopen negotiations on exempting musicians “still stands”, the government is also seeking “simplification and clarification on a bilateral basis with individual member states.”
Barran’s disclosure that Britain is shifting its attention to individual countries can be seen as a ‘plan B’ for performers in the absence of an EU-wide deal. As legal expert George Peretz explains, UK artists who want to tour the EU (excluding the Republic of Ireland, where the Common Travel Area already allows free travel) currently face “26 different sets of rules” – one for each member state – instead of one, as such an arrangement was not included in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
Why that is is different depending on who you ask: European negotiators claim the UK turned down an offer from the EU of a 90-day visa-free period every 180 days, while British officials continue to insist EU inflexibility resulted in no deal for musicians.
UK artists currently face “26 different sets of rules”
In response to a question from the Lord McNally, in which McNally accused “Brexit zealots” of torpedoing any possibility of an agreement on freedom of movement “to protect the purity” of the UK’s hard break, Barran insisted British negotiators “tried very hard to stand up for Britain’s brilliant cultural and creative sectors, and reflect their requests to us about what they needed from the deal”.
The back and forth in the Lords came as industry leaders met with the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, Oliver Dowden, to discuss the other obstacles thrown up by the deal, including cabotage, work permits, ATA carnets for touring orchestras, and VAT and administration charges on physical products shipped from the UK to the EU.
Elsewhere, British stars including Ed Sheeran, Sir Elton John, Sting, Liam Gallagher and the Who’s Brexit-voting Roger Daltrey put their names to a letter in today (20 January)’s Times to warn that the ongoing “negotiating failure” threatens the future of cultural exchange between the UK and the continent.
The letter, which was organised by the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats party, urges the UK government to “do what it said it would do” and negotiate visa-free travel to Europe for British artists and their equipment.
The stars also address the EU, asking that any deal be made reciprocal (for EU visitors to the UK).
“We are determined to give those talented people the clarity they need”
An Excel spreadsheet created by the European Commission at the tail end of 2020 attempts to outline the current situation for British musicians, analysing which EU countries require work permits for artists and which don’t. (However, “[t]he blanks and footnotes suggest that anyone really wanting certainty will need good legal advice from the country concerned,” writes Peretz.)
Wherever blame lies for the current impasse, UK ministers insist they will heed the growing calls to provide clarity for artists and the broader live music industry, with another culture minister – Caroline Dinenage, minister of state for digital and culture – reiterating in the Commons yesterday that the UK’s “door is open” for discussions on resolving the issue.
Echoing her sentiments today, Barran claimed that while UK negotiators “did everything in their power to avoid the current situation”, the government is now is now looking ahead in order to secure a “simple and straightforward” deal for live entertainers.
“We are incredibly disappointed that the EU neither proposed, nor accepted, a tailored deal for musicians,” she said, “and we are determined to give those talented people the clarity they need to survive.”