MVT lobbies for £1 ticket levy after Moles closure
The Music Venue Trust (MVT) is lobbying the government for a compulsory £1 levy on tickets sold for UK live music events above 5,000 capacity after grassroots venue Moles in Bath was forced to shut down with immediate effect.
Moles opened in 1978 and has hosted early gigs by acts such as Ed Sheeran, The Killers, Fatboy Slim, Oasis, Blur, Radiohead, The Smiths and Idles. But all future events have been cancelled at the storied 220-cap venue after its owners filed for insolvency, citing rising costs and the cost-of-living crisis.
“Making the decision to close Moles was horrendous, but the cost-of-living crisis has crippled us,” says co-owner Tom Maddicott. “Massively increased costs of stock, utilities and rent compounded by our customers also feeling the impact of the crisis has made it impossible to continue.
“It’s obviously an incredibly difficult decision to have to take, for our team, the staff, the local community, and the artists that over the years have created such an incredible history of music. But the reality is that live music at grassroots level is no longer economically viable and we will not be the only grassroots music venue forced to close.”
“Venues like these all over the country are going out of business, whilst helping nurture the artists that will go on to generate millions for the broader music industry”
According to the MVT, more than 120 grassroots venues (15%) have closed and a further 84 are currently in crisis, while at least seven new arenas are currently planned in cities across the UK.
“Today is a very sad day for our sector,” says Mark Davyd, CEO and founder of the MVT. “Grassroots Music Venues like Moles – one of the best loved and most efficiently run venues in the country for almost 45 years – have done everything they can to keep afloat, investing every penny they can into trying to fulfil their commitment to live music.
“Venues like these all over the country are going out of business, whilst helping nurture the artists that will go on to generate millions for the broader music industry. Put bluntly, they have been badly let down by those who profit from their efforts.”
The MVT has long campaigned for the wider live music industry to financially back the grassroots music sector, proposing that every ticket sold at an arena and stadium should make a £1 contribution into its Pipeline Investment Fund. But despite support from the likes of Enter Shikari, promoter Cuffe & Taylor, venues Piece Hall and Swansea Arena, and ticketing companies Ticketmaster, Skiddle and Good Show, Davyd says the business-at-large has been far too slow to react.
“There needs to be a major shake-up of the live industry with the big players supporting the grassroots where it all begins to secure that pipeline of talent”
“Unless it gets serious about its responsibilities to encourage, nurture and develop the grassroots live sector the music industry as a whole will face a catastrophic failure of artist development,” adds Davyd. “In France all major live music events are required to pay 3.5% of each ticket sale into a fund to support grassroots artists and venues.
“We have today written to the government and to opposition parties to insist that, in the event that the music industry will not act voluntarily, a compulsory levy on every ticket sold for every live music event above 5,000 capacity that takes place in the UK must be introduced by legislation to prevent the devastation of the sector.”
Maddicott adds to the calls for broader support, comparing the situation with other industries.
“There needs to be a major shake-up of the live industry with the big players supporting the grassroots where it all begins to secure that pipeline of talent,” he says. “Football gets it with the Premier League investing millions in the grassroots game each year to bring through new players. The music industry needs to do the same before the entire grassroots sector collapses.”
“It is inevitable that there will be more closures if urgent action is not taken”
Elsewhere in the UK, organisers of independent festival Nozstock The Hidden Valley have announced its 2024 edition, set for 18-21 July, will be its last.
“After the losses incurred over Covid, straight into a cost-of-living crisis, the financial risk is becoming too great,” says a statement from the festival, which has been running for 26 years.
Association of Independent Festivals CEO John Rostron says it is “inevitable” that more events will fold without swift intervention.
“It’s incredibly sad to see Nozstock The Hidden Valley forced to close its gates for good as a direct result of the financial strain faced by many following significant Covid losses and an ongoing cost-of-living crisis,” says Rostron. “After almost three decades of great events, Nozstock has become a key fixture on the UK’s independent festival calendar, and this should serve as yet another alarm bell warning of the perilous situation that many in this cultural sector are facing.
“Already, neither NASS Festival and Leopallooza will return in 2024; Bluedot is on a hiatus after a difficult 2023 edition, and the award-winning Field Maneuvers has announced its 2024 festival will be its last in its current form.
“The impact of Covid and high supply chain costs means the squeeze on festivals is increasing. It is inevitable that there will be more closures if urgent action is not taken. We again call on the government to review VAT on music festival ticket sales and lower the rate to 5% for an extended period to help support the recovery of the festival sector.”
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Ticketmaster and TikTok expand partnership to 20+ markets
TikTok and Ticketmaster are expanding their ticketing partnership to more than 20 new markets, following the launch of the partnership in the US in 2022.
Now, any Certified Artist on TikTok in the participating countries can promote their live dates by adding their Ticketmaster event links to videos before publishing.
Participating countries are the UK, Ireland, Australia, Germany, France, Canada, Mexico, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, Spain and Sweden.
So far, the partnership has seen ticketing campaigns for both established and emerging artists, comedians and sports teams, including Niall Horan, The Kooks, Burna Boy and Shania Twain.
According to TM, there have been more than 2.5 billion views of videos utilising the in-app features by artists, sports teams and event organisers since its beta launch.
“We’re giving artists the opportunity to reach ticket buyers in a whole new way”
“This is an exciting moment for the millions of passionate music fans in the TikTok community,” says Michael Kümmerle, global music partnership development lead, TikTok.
“By enabling fans to buy tickets directly through TikTok, we’re giving artists the opportunity to reach ticket buyers in a whole new way and change the game for live events around the world. As we bring fans closer to the artists and events they love, we hope to deliver further value to all artists throughout all stages of their careers and provide more opportunities for a growing fanbase. We are very excited to see how our partnership with Ticketmaster will develop over time.”
Michael Chua, VP of global business development & strategic partnerships, Ticketmaster, adds: “Today’s music lives on a global stage and the demand for ‘live’ has never been greater. Through our partnership, TikTok and Ticketmaster are empowering artists to easily connect their content to event discovery and ticket purchase in-app making it easier than ever for fans around the world to experience their favorite artists live.”
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DEAG reaches ‘new level’ of earnings in 2023
Deutsche Entertainment (DEAG) has announced a “new level of revenue and earnings” in 2023, thanks to a consolidation break and the industry’s full recovery after Covid-19.
The German live entertainment company today reported earnings for the first nine months of the 2023 financial year, driven by its “own formats, the successful buy and build strategy, and the outperformance in the ticketing business”.
Compared to the pre-Covid year 2019, revenue increased by 73.3% from €123.1 million to €213.3m. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) also rose significantly from €8m in the first nine months of 2019 to €13.8m (+72.5%) in the first nine months of the current financial year.
Adjusted EBITDA (EBITDA excluding the bonus programme for 25 executives – which expires at the end of this year) amounts to €15m.
DEAG says it now generates around half of its consolidated revenue from its own event formats, the tickets for which are sold mainly and, in many areas, exclusively via its own ticketing platforms, myticket.de, myticket.at, myticket.co.uk, gigantic.com and tickets.ie.
The fourth quarter is already shaping up to be the strongest in terms of sales in the history of the Group’s own platforms, according to the results, with more than three million tickets sold so far for upcoming events.
In the third quarter of 2023, DEAG generated revenue of €90.7m, compared to €101.7m in the same period of the previous year, and EBITDA of €8.7m (previous year: €10.2m).
For the full year 2023, DEAG is aiming for revenue of more than €300m
For the full year 2023, DEAG is aiming for revenue of more than €300m and “remains committed to its goal of high operating profitability”. In 2022, the company reported the highest revenue and EBITDA in the company’s 45-year history at €325m and said it expected 2023 to surpass that.
The Berlin-based promoter and ticket agency says it will continue to play an active role in the consolidation of the live entertainment industry in Europe and drive its growth both organically and through M&As. To further accelerate its growth, is also continuing to examine all equity financing options, including a possible stock market listing.
The company has only been private for the last two years, having accepted a takeover offer from its largest single shareholder, Apeiron Investment Group, and its Malta-based subsidiary Musai Capital in 2021. Prior to that, the company was public for 23 years.
“DEAG’s growth in 2023 exceeds our expectations,” says Prof. Peter Schwenkow, CEO of DEAG.”Without acquisitions in the current year and without significant catch-up effects as in 2022, the company has reached a new level of revenue and earnings compared to the pre-pandemic period. We are particularly pleased with the development in the ticketing and Services businesses.
“DEAG is succeeding in selling an increasing share of tickets for concerts and events via its own ticketing platforms. The share of sales by third parties is also increasing. We will continue on our successful growth path, as M&A will remain a building block of our strategy. We are in advanced discussions with potential companies and will continue to establish new companies abroad.”
DEAG has interests in Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland, Ireland and Denmark. Its group includes Kilimanjaro Group (UK), Wizard Promotions (DE), UK Live, My Ticket (DE, AT, UK) and Belladrum Tartan Heart festival (UK).
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ESNS announces keynote speakers for 2024
ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) has announced the first keynote and featured speakers for next year’s edition, taking place between 17–20 January 2024 in Groningen, the Netherlands.
Amy Thomson (formerly Hipgnosis, ATM Artists), John Mulder (MOJO Concerts/Live Nation) and Mark Mulligan (MIDiA Research) are among the keynotes for the European showcase festival and conference.
Mulder will appear at ESNS 2024 mere weeks after leaving his post as CEO of Mojo Concerts, the Dutch Live Nation subsidiary, on 1 January.
During the keynote interview, the Dutch exec will reflect on his versatile career which includes roles as tour manager of Metallica and co-initiator of AFAS Live and the Ziggo Dome.
Elsewhere, Thomson, former chief catalogue officer at Hipgnosis Songs Fund and CEO and founder of ATM Artists, will address the music industry’s challenges regarding finding, tracking, and tracing metadata across different platforms.
Thomson has executed record releases, marketing campaigns, touring, legal rights and copyright for clients including Kanye West, DJ Snake, Swedish House Mafia, Gorillaz, and Seal. Her passion for catalogue management led her to develop an online application that helps artists manage their metadata.
Mulder will reflect on his versatile career which includes roles as tour manager of Metallica and co-initiator of AFAS Live and the Ziggo Dome
The third keynote announced today is Mark Mulligan, managing director of MIDiA Research. As a long-term media and technology analyst, he is considered a leading thinker on the music industry’s digital transition.
At ESNS 2024, Mulligan will explore the rise of the next music business, explaining that we’re already entering the post-streaming era. He will present a vision for what this new world will look like and who will be the key players.
Joining the Music Industry Therapists Collective, Justin Lockey of English rock band Editors will share his insights on mental health on the road, shining a light on touring with Editors. Additionally, George Musgrave (Goldsmiths, University of London) will join two sessions about mental health.
European Parliament MEP Ibán García Del Blanco joins a panel moderated by Helienne Lindvall (ECSA) to discuss the European Parliament draft report on Cultural diversity and the conditions for authors in the European music streaming market.
ESNS Tech is a series of panel discussions curated by innovation specialist and community builder Turo Pekari (Music Finland). Experts in the intersection of music and technology will address topics such as tomorrow’s business model. ESNS Tech will tune into challenges, opportunities and the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence within the music industry.
Discover the full conference programme here. More panels and speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.
Norway’s largest arena inks Ticketmaster deal
Norway’s largest arena has confirmed it has renewed its partnership with Ticketmaster Norway.
The 23,000-cap Telenor Arena has hosted acts such as The Weeknd, Post Malone, Depeche Mode and Robbie Williams in the past year alone, with Olivia Rodrigo lined up to perform in 2024.
Ticketmaster Norway will serve as the venue’s official ticketing partner, offering cutting-edge technology, marketing outreach and expertise.
“We are pleased to have Ticketmaster on our side – their innovative and robust solutions, extensive marketing reach and decades of expertise are essential to our success,” says Kjetil Bell Tveit, CEO at Telenor Arena. “We look forward to continuing working together to enhance the fan experience, both inside and outside the arena.”
“Together, we’re taking live entertainment in Norway to new heights”
Since opening in 2009, the venue has welcomed the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Adele, Foo Fighters, the Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, AC/DC, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, Tina Turner, Paul McCartney and Jay-Z, as well as the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest.
“We are honoured to partner with the Norwegian cultural hub that is Telenor Arena,” says Kristian Seljeset, MD of Ticketmaster Norway. “Together, we’re taking live entertainment in Norway to new heights. It’s all about facilitating those unforgettable moments for fans at this iconic venue, and we can’t wait to get started.”
Live music ticket sales up 48% in Spain
Ticket sales for live music events in Spain have risen by almost 50% over the past year, according to a new study.
According to the data from the IV Ticketmaster Observatory, reported by APMusicales (APM), ticket sales are up 48% on the pandemic hit 2021/22 figures, with the average expenditure per ticket increasing 37% to €80 compared to €58 last year.
The study was presented this week by Ticketmaster Spain MD Jordi Anglès, following analysis of the transactions made on the platform between 1 August 2022 and 31 July 2023. It also highlighted a significant increase in ticket purchases among 18 to 24-year-olds, rocketing 45% on the previous 12 months.
The average ticket-buyer was aged between 35-44, with Andalusia accounting for 19% of consumers, followed by Madrid (17%) and Catalonia (16%). The most popular genres were pop (30%), hip-hop (15%), rock (13%) and Latin (9%).
Music tourism has also rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, representing 10% of concert-goers in Spain, led by France and the UK (both 16%), the Czech Republic (11%), United States (10%) and Italy 9%. Tourists spend an average of €107 each time they buy tickets – 28% more than the Spanish public.
“Tourists demand tickets with greater added value such as VIP tickets”
“Tourists demand tickets with greater added value such as VIP tickets,” says Anglès. “Since they make the effort to travel, they are willing to invest more money to enjoy the experience.”
The main deterrents to fans buying tickets were listed as price (36%), lack of interest in the event (23%), lack of time (21%) and the concert being sold out (20%).
Back in March, APM (Association of Musical Promoters) revealed that revenue from ticket sales reached record levels in 2022. The organisation reported that box office takings of more than €459 million leapt 191.33% on 2021, a year restricted by the pandemic, but were also up 20% on the previous best, set in the last pre-Covid year of 2019.
Speaking in the Live Music Yearbook 2023, APM president Albert Salmeron said the figures symbolised “the recovery of a society”.
Ticketek launches accessible ticket booking platform
TEG-owned ticketing, data and analytics firm Ticketek is rolling out an online accessible ticket booking platform, with the aim to make purchasing tickets easier for people with disability and their companions, family and friends.
The Australian firm’s bespoke digital solution enables customers to choose specific seats within a venue to match their needs and buy both accessible and non-accessible tickets within the same transaction.
There are several types of accessible seating available through the new digital platform, including for customers who use wheelchairs, require easy access, have a vision impairment or use a hearing loop. Companion tickets can also be purchased – allowing fans with disabilities to redeem a complimentary companion ticket for any seat within a venue.
Accessible seating can now be booked online for selected events at more than 30 venues including Allianz Stadium (NSW), Suncorp Stadium (QLD) and Sidney Myer Music Bowl (VIC). The digital booking option will be gradually rolled out to other venues where Ticketek is the authorised ticketing provider.
“At Ticketek, we believe that all Australians should have equal opportunities to attend their favourite events”
Ticketek says it has listened to customer feedback and consulted with government bodies, industry partners, and advocacy groups including Spinal Life Australia and the Physical Disability Council of NSW to improve the booking experience of people with disability, which accounts for around 1 in 6 (18%) or 4.4 million people in Australia.
“At Ticketek, we believe that all Australians should have equal opportunities to attend their favourite events,” says Cameron Hoy, managing director Ticketek. “Offering an ideal purchasing experience for accessible seating is a project we hold close to our hearts. We are aware that the process has not been as easy as it should be to date, so we are delighted to be delivering this improved experience for fans and their companions.
“Our engineers have built a truly world-class and equitable experience and I could not be more proud of our work and dedication to date. In particular, I would like to thank industry partners, advocacy groups Spinal Life Australia and the Physical Disability Council of NSW and the many customers who have assisted us in designing this solution.
“Like all technology, it will continue to evolve over time. Ticketek are committed to work with our partners, advocacy groups and industry stakeholders to ensure our solution continues to meet industry standards, and leverages the latest technology available to facilitate the best user experience for all consumers.”
Live Nation issued with subpoena by US Senate
Live Nation has been issued with a subpoena by a US Senate panel for documents regarding its ticket pricing and fees.
In a letter to LN chief Michael Rapino, Senator Richard Blumenthal says the subpoena is in connection with its previously unannounced investigation into the business practices of Live Nation and its Ticketmaster subsidiary.
Blumenthal says the PSI [Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations] first wrote to the company back in March, seeking “documents and information” relating to the probe.
“Despite nearly eight months and extensive efforts to obtain voluntary compliance, Live Nation/Ticketmaster has failed to fully comply with PSI’s requests, including refusing to produce certain documents critical to the subcommittee’s inquiry,” continues Blumenthal.
“Furthermore, the subcommittee has identified additional categories of documents necessary to complete its inquiry. As a result, the enclosed subpoena also seeks records related to Live Nation/Ticketmaster’s failure to combat artificially inflated demand fuelled by bots in multiple, high-profile incidents, which resulted in consumers being charged exorbitant ticket prices.”
“Live Nation has egregiously stonewalled my subcommittee’s inquiry into its abusive consumer practices – making the subpoena necessary”
Posting on X, Blumenthal, who tabled the “Junk Fee Prevention Act earlier this year, adds: “Live Nation has egregiously stonewalled my subcommittee’s inquiry into its abusive consumer practices – making the subpoena necessary. This subpoena demands that the company promptly comply with our request for documents essential to understand its business practices.”
The Connecticut Senator’s letter calls on LN to submit all requested documents by 18 December.
In a statement, Live Nation says it has “voluntarily worked with the subcommittee from the start, providing extensive information and holding several meetings with staff”.
A Live Nation spokesperson adds: “In order to provide additional information requested about artist and client compensation and other similarly sensitive matters, we’ve asked for standard confidentiality measures. Thus far, the subcommittee has refused to provide such assurances, but if and when those protections are in place we will provide additional information on these issues.”
Live Nation CFO Joe Berchtold offered investors an update on the DoJ’s investigation of the company during this month’s Q3 earnings call. Berchtold also defended Ticketmaster’s practices in a US Senate antitrust panel spurred by the fallout from the presale for Taylor Swift’s stadium tour at the start of 2023.
CTS Eventim expands South American ticketing biz
CTS Eventim has acquired Punto Ticket in Chile and Teleticket in Peru via its joint venture with Sony Music Latin Iberia.
The JV was formed in 2016 to provide ticketing services in Brazil, leveraging both CTS Eventim’s technology platform and Sony Music Latin Iberia’s broad range of Latin American business.
These new acquisitions will provide ticketing systems and related services to concert promoters and venues across Chile and Peru, thus signalling the JV’s expansion into South America. Corporate leadership for the acquired companies will remain in place.
“South America is a real growth market for ticketing and live entertainment,” says Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, CEO, CTS Eventim. “We’re delighted to be partnering with Sony Music in two more extremely dynamic territories, and to have Punto Ticket Chile and Teleticket Peru joining our global network.”
“Chile and Peru are exciting, growing markets and a vital stop for both Latin and international touring superstars alike”
Afo Verde, chairman and CEO, Sony Music Latin Iberia: “The expansion of our operations to Chile and Peru showcases our continued commitment to fans, artists, promoters, venues, and the live music business. Chile and Peru are exciting, growing markets and a vital stop for both Latin and international touring superstars alike. We look forward to our continued partnership with Eventim to provide top-of-class service and solutions to both consumers and our clients in these markets.”
Danton Vinales, Founder and CTO, Punto Ticket: “This partnership propels us into a new growth trajectory within the impressive CTS Eventim and Sony Music network. The collaborative essence of this venture not only enriches our technological skills but also amplifies the service quality for promoters, artists, and fans as well. As we complement our local expertise with global capabilities, the future is ripe with promises of superior live entertainment experiences. I, alongside the Punto Ticket & Teleticket teams, eagerly anticipate the remarkable journey and achievements ahead with our new partners.”
According to the International Ticketing Report 2023, Punto Ticket rakes in around 80% of the primary ticketing market for larger gigs in Chile, despite Tickemaster launching an operation in the country in 2021.
The decade-old local service is in its third year of a four-year deal in which it is the official ticketing partner for three theatres in Santiago and continues to handle ticketing operations for the Movistar Arena and various festivals, including Primavera.
Coldplay world tour powers to ticket sales record
Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres World Tour is set to become the most well-attended concert tour of all time.
The band have now sold more than nine million tickets for the ongoing run, which began in Costa Rica in March 2022, according to Live Nation.
The current verified attendance record-holder is Ed Sheeran, whose 2017-19 ÷ (Divide) Tour attracted 8,908,150 fans. Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour, which pulled in 6.1m attendees, surpassed ÷ as the highest-grossing tour earlier this year.
Coldplay’s latest milestone coincides with them confirming an additional run of Australia and New Zealand dates for October-November 2024, which will see the quartet perform in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland for the first time since 2016. Stopping at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium (30-31 October 2024), Sydney’s Accor Stadium (6-7 November) and Eden Park in Auckland (13 November), support will come from PinkPantheress and Emmanuel Kelly.
“This is a huge coup for Auckland and New Zealand,” says Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner. “Coldplay’s global status, the band’s commitment to sustainability, and their ability to deliver unforgettable performances make them the perfect fit to perform at New Zealand’s national stadium.”
The announcement comes on the heels of Coldplay performing two sold-out nights at Perth Optus Stadium as part of their November 2023 Asian tour leg – their first gigs in Western Australia since 2009. A limited number of Infinity Tickets, released for every Coldplay show to make the tour accessible to fans for an affordable price, will be made available at a later date, priced A$32/NZ$32 per ticket, restricted to two tickets per purchaser.
The band’s debut concert in Jakarta, Indonesia on 15 November was reportedly rocked by a ticket scam
“Coldplay’s two shows in Perth attracted over 40,000 interstate visitors and close to 10,000 international fans,” notes Sautner. “This underpins the immense appeal of Coldplay’s live performances and demonstrates the impact major events have on our hospitality and tourism sectors, employing thousands of casual and full-time staff.”
Earlier this year, the group issued an update on the tour’s sustainability initiatives, revealing that, on a show-by-show comparison, Music of the Spheres has so far produced 47% less CO2e emissions than their previous A Head Full of Dreams stadium tour in 2016/17. More than seven million trees have already been planted around the world, with one being planted for each concert-goer.
“Coldplay’s commitment to reducing the impact global music tours have on our environment aligns with Eden Park’s focus on sustainability,” adds Sautner. “The collaboration will showcase how two globally renowned brands can come together to create an unforgettable, environmentally-conscious event.”
Meanwhile, The Jakarta Post reports Coldplay’s debut concert in the Indonesian capital on 15 November was rocked by a ticket scam.
Central Jakarta Police are investigating hundreds of reports from people who claimed they bought tickets from third parties online for last week’s performance at Bung Karno Sports Stadium, but were denied entry after the tickets either turned out to be fake, or never arrived. Police say 400 people lodged complaints, claiming a total of Rp1.3 billion (€76,373) in losses.
The concert was also reportedly hit by protests and clashes with police outside the stadium ahead of the show over the group’s support for the LGBTQ community. Several Islamic groups had called for the gig to be cancelled.