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AXS doubles down on accessible ticketing

AXS has announced a collaboration with Nimbus Disability, the social enterprise company run by disabled people for disabled people.

The introduction of the Access Registration Scheme – powered by the Access Card is set to first launch at The O2 and will then be accepted across all of AXS’ venues, events, and festival partners.

Guests buying accessible tickets online via AXS, The O2 and O2 Priority will be required to enter their Nimbus Access Card ID which details their specific accessibility requirements from wheelchair access to an essential companion.

The new system will give guests a “highly tailored” service offering ticket locations and other access facilities that most accurately meet their requirements, according to a release.

The O2’s Contact Centre will continue to accept calls from guests who have not yet signed up for the Nimbus Access Card scheme, or who need additional support to purchase the seats that best suit their requirements.

“At AXS we are always looking for ways to make the ticketing process even more effective and want it to be as tailored as possible to the needs of our customers,” says Chris Lipscomb, MD AXS UK.

“[This] will mean that guests who need accessible tickets can get their requirements met even more efficiently”

“In Nimbus, we have a company that will work with us to do just that for disabled people and we are very excited to see this new process launch at The O2.”

Sam Oldham, The O2 venue director, adds “Nimbus has an incredible track record and we are very proud to be working with such a trusted organisation. By bringing in the Nimbus & the Access Card Scheme, it will mean that guests who need accessible tickets can get their requirements met even more efficiently, ensuring their journey continues to be as smooth as possible.”

Guests yet to sign up for the Access Registration Scheme will be directed to do so by the AXS and The O2 websites for a registration process.

The award-winning Nimbus Access Card offers disabled people better access to entertainment venues whilst reducing the amount of administration needed to find the right accessible seats.

Martin Austin MBE, managing director of Nimbus and the creator of the Access Card said, “We’re thrilled to expand online booking options for our several hundred thousand Access Card holders. Moving to a self-serve online booking experience for disabled people is a game changer – to not have to sit in phone queues or wait for registration forms to be processed really opens up true equality of access for disabled customers. We’re also dedicated to making sure that those without an Access Card are able to utilise the same system at no cost by operating a free AXS Access Registration Scheme”

 


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Ticketmaster secures Hackney Church partnership

Ticketmaster has been announced as the exclusive ticket partner of London’s Hackney Church.

The new partnership will leverage the ticketing company’s Ticketmaster Local discoverability feature to level up the 1,800-cap venue’s marketing efforts and expand the reach of Hackney Church’s events to a wider audience.

“Hackney Church is an iconic venue, a cornerstone of East London’s culture and community,” says Tim Goom, Ticketmaster’s client development director, music. “We look forward to bringing our ticketing expertise to elevate the fan experience and keep pushing the venue’s mission of creativity and connection.”

Artists booked to play the venue include John Grant, Real Estate and MONO. It will also host a special 50th anniversary celebration of Radio City by Big Star on 31 October. The event will feature the Memphis Band’s sole surviving member Jody Stephens, who will perform the album in full, joined by musicians including REM’s Mike Mills, Jon Auer of The Posies, Pat Sansone of Wilco and Chris Stamey of The dB’s.

“We are proud to partner with Ticketmaster and their mission to support local venues”

“Despite the ongoing economic challenges of running a venue of our size, we are looking ahead with confidence that we will be able continue to deliver high quality events and positively impact the local community in Hackney,” says Thando Zulu, Hackney Church’s experiences director.

Launched in 2023, Ticketmaster Local is designed to encourage people to get out and support their grassroots and local venues by enabling them to easily discover live events taking place nearby. The initiative allows fans to check out what events are happening specifically in their neighbourhood via an interactive map based on location, a newsletter and a dedicated social media channel.

“We are proud to partner with Ticketmaster and their mission to support local venues,” adds Zulu. “It is an exciting step on our continued journey of being a ‘Cathedral of Creativity.’”

Hackney Church, which was previously partnered with Dice, has hosted intimate shows by acts such as Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Biffy Clyro, Robbie Williams, Sampha, Joy Crookes, Dermot Kennedy and Lianne La Havas.

 


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UK general election: What the live biz wants

As the United Kingdom gears up for next month’s general election, a range of music organisations have told IQ how the new government can best help the live business.

The main political parties have now put out their manifestos ahead of the 4 July vote, with varying degrees of support for the arts. Labour, the party currently leading all opinion polls to form the UK’s next government, has reiterated its pledge to cap ticket resale if it wins the election.

“Access to music, drama and sport has become difficult and expensive because of ticket touting,” it states. “Labour will put fans back at the heart of events by introducing new consumer protections on ticket resales.”

While stressing that Britain will remain outside the European Union, the party vows to improve EU touring for UK artists.

“Labour will work to improve the UK’s trade and investment relationship with the EU, by tearing down unnecessary barriers to trade,” it says. “We will seek to negotiate a veterinary agreement to prevent unnecessary border checks and help tackle the cost of food; will help our touring artists; and secure a mutual recognition agreement for professional qualifications to help open up markets for UK service exporters.”

Touring regulations also feature in the Liberal Democrats and Green Party manifestos, with the former saying it would push to “negotiate free and simple short-term travel arrangements for UK artists to perform in the EU, and European artists to perform in the UK”, and the latter promising to “ensure that musicians have access to visa-free travel to the EU through negotiating a reciprocal arrangement at the earliest possible opportunity”.

“This will be a government seeking to kickstart economic growth, and implementing the right policies to support the live music sector”

The Lib Dems also set out their desire to “protect fans from being exploited by ticket touts by implementing the Competition and Markets Authority’s recommendations to crack down on illegal ticket resale”.

The Conservatives, meanwhile, pledge to “extend our Community Ownership Fund to help more communities across the UK take control of vital community assets like pubs, music venues, libraries, green spaces, leisure centres and more”.

Stressing its support for apprenticeships as “a key pipeline of talent into our world-leading creative industries”, the party adds: “We will work with industry to deliver a dedicated flexible coordination service so that everyone who wants to work in the film, TV, gaming and music sectors can work on live productions whilst benefiting from at least 12 months of secure training.”

Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment), which serves as the collective voice of the UK live music business, says the trade body is looking forward to working with the next government on “a range of issues that require a fresh focus, considered investment and informed action”.

“With Labour likely to form that government, it is very encouraging to see many of our key asks set out in their manifesto and their action plan for the arts, culture and creative industries,” he says. “This will be a government seeking to kickstart economic growth, and implementing the right policies to support the live music sector with a value of £5.2 billion will deliver that growth – both domestically and internationally.

“Labour is committed to facilitating easier touring arrangements with the EU which will critically drive up activity; the current provisions have seen a 74% drop in activity and left orchestras either unable to tour or facing prohibitive costs. We welcome Labour’s support for our grassroots sector and look forward to working with ministers to ensure grassroots music venues are able to thrive, update them on the progress of the LIVE Trust, and ease the trading environment through business rates reform.”

“The rest of the world recognises this country as a beacon of music innovation, and it’s vital that an incoming government maximises that potential”

Collins adds: “Whilst not a manifesto commitment, we will be looking to the next government to act on the recommendations made by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in their recent report (May 2024) on grassroots music venues to reduce VAT on tickets and undertake a comprehensive economic analysis of the impact of a reduced rate applied across the sector.

“We are pleased that Labour has committed to take forward our proposals published in our Live Music Manifesto on secondary ticketing and reforming the apprenticeship levy. LIVE will work with the next government on plans to deliver Martyn’s Law in a way that protects fans without putting unnecessary burdens on venues and festivals.”

Last week, the Music Venue Trust (MVT) published a report entitled, A Manifesto for Grassroots Music, which outlined the steps the charity says are required in order to stem the closures of grassroots music venues and bring stability to the sector.

“In 2023, of the 366 small music venues Ed Sheeran played while learning his trade, at least 150 are now closed,” said MVT CEO Mark Davyd. “Another 72 grassroots music venues significantly reduced or ended their live music offer. 38% of GMVs in the UK made a loss in the last 12 months. The sector operated on a 0.5% profit margin overall while running live music events at a £115 million loss.

“All of this can be changed if the next government delivers the five simple steps we have set out.”

Music Managers Forum (MMF) CEO Annabella Coldrick highlighted touring, the grassroots scene and streaming as key areas of concern.

“When the general election was called, the industry was in deep discussion with policy makers about reforms to music streaming and to grassroots live music,” she says. “In the next parliament, those discussions must be transformed into tangible actions – and fast! Our artists and music makers deserve nothing less.

“Underpinned by those reforms, it’s really important that music, culture and the creative industries are at the heart of the UK’s business and growth strategy. The rest of the world recognises this country as a beacon of music innovation, and it’s vital that an incoming government maximises that potential – for instance, by negotiating new improved touring arrangements for UK artists wanting to perform in Europe, and by addressing our concerns about exorbitant visa fees for the US. Both have been a real focus for the MMF, and for the FAC, with our joint #LetTheMusicMove campaign.”

“To reset the market, we want the UK to follow the example of Ireland and outlaw ticket resale for profit”

David Martin, CEO of the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), says: “The FAC’s priority is to ensure that the momentum to drive forward artist-friendly reforms of streaming and the sustainability of the live music ecosystem continue into the next Parliament. The next government must take forward the work that was started by the Culture Media & Sport Select Committee in these areas. We can’t let progress slip.

“There are plenty of challenges facing our industry, but with a UK music strategy for growth the next government can maximise its untapped potential. Through practical changes to the way we do business – such as implementing fair royalty rates or a live ticket levy that directly supports artists – British music will thrive. The new government should legislate on these issues if industry consensus cannot be found.”

Unsurprisingly, the focus for Adam Webb, campaign manager of of anti-touting pressure group FanFair Alliance, is on cleaning up secondary ticketing.

“To reset the market, we want the UK to follow the example of Ireland and outlaw ticket resale for profit,” he tells IQ. “Thankfully, because of FanFair’s campaigning, this is firmly on the radar of politicians. The Labour Party has already committed to introducing a 10% cap on resale prices, and action against ticket touting is one of the key music-related pledges in their manifesto. The Liberal Democrats also have a manifesto commitment to clamp down on speculative ticketing and other anti-consumer practices.

“Alongside that, I’d like to see the Competition & Markets Authority provided with new enforcement powers. The UK’s ticket resale market is not highly regulated. We need that to change, and for capped consumer-friendly ticket resale to be made more visible and viable.”

Meanwhile, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) plans to resume its Five Percent For Festivals campaign – calling for a reduced VAT from 20% to 5% on ticket sales for the next three years – post-election.

“We are delighted to see so many references to music and meaningful commitments that will change our members’ lives for the better”

“I think there will be intervention. My concern is that by the time something does happen, how many [festivals] will have gone?” AIF CEO John Rostron told IQ earlier this month. “What’s good for us is there is an election about to happen, so we’ll have a new group of politicians with a five-year mandate, and that is stronger to work with than where we were, which was with a group of MPs that didn’t know how long their futures would be.”

Elsewhere, the Musicians’ Union (MU) has welcomed the Labour Party Manifesto, saying it tackles many of the issues the organisation has raised with the party on behalf of members.

“The MU is Labour-affiliated and, along with fellow unions, we have been involved in shaping policy for a Labour government for many years now,” says MU general secretary Naomi Pohl. “Having not had significant access to Conservative ministers, with a few notable exceptions, we have a chance of a government that prioritises the arts and wants to engage with us on issues facing musicians.

“This is the first time that the MU has been so directly involved in the Labour Party manifesto process and had a chance to influence the final document. We are delighted to see so many references to music and meaningful commitments that will change our members’ lives for the better.

“While we know our membership is a broad church politically, we would be missing a once in a generation opportunity if we didn’t encourage musicians to vote Labour. This is an opportunity to shift the dial for the creative workforce of today and tomorrow.”

 


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Tixel outlines ‘mission’ to reshape resale market

Tixel’s head of UK/EU Matt Kaplan has detailed the firm’s mission to help alter perceptions around the secondary ticketing sector.

The price-capped, self-styled “honest resale marketplace” has expanded its remit to Cross The Tracks, Wide Awake and Project 6 and City Splash, part of Brockwell Live series in London, in addition to its existing partnerships with Superstruct UK festivals including Boardmasters, Kendal Calling, Tramlines Festival, Truck Festival and Y Not Festival.

Founded in Australia in 2018, Tixel launched its UK operation in 2021 and has reported year-on-year growth of 97% in events trading on the platform between ’22 and ’23.

“We are a very passionate, mission-driven company,” Kaplan tells IQ. “This is our fourth season in the UK – and one of those was half a season because of Covid – and the type of partners we’ve already got on board really says something about who we are and what we’re trying to achieve.”

While some of the negative connotations around the secondary market remain, amid the stream of high-profile investigations and controversies – most recently the claim that ticket touts hatched secret plans to sabotage Labour’s bid to cap ticket resale if the party wins the next UK general election – Kaplan is at pains to distance Tixel from some of its more “notorious” competitors.

“We have tools that help festivals reach some of the more price-sensitive buyers, potentially without having to devalue their brand and publicly discount”

“It’s our job to educate the industry and our partners on why we’re different and how we can support them with their campaign and protect their fans,” he says. “When you potentially have speculative listings and bots buying up a whole lot of tickets and selling them for inflated prices on unregulated markets, that has some tailwind of connotations across the industry. Clearly, there is an impact of some of that more nefarious activity, but we utilise it to shine a light on why we’re different.”

Tixel is able to eliminate fraud and double-scanning by reissuing new tickets for events when they are on-sold. It also gives organisers complete control and visibility of their resale market, while helping unlock new revenue and fan data.

“The ability to utilise our tools, regardless of the sell through rate of a festival, has been a really strong sales tool for us,” adds Kaplan. “Essentially, we allow festivals to tinker with their pricing on our marketplace. They often just tweak the price by maybe £5 or £10, and that might tip buying decisions. So we have tools that help festivals reach some of the more price-sensitive buyers, potentially without having to devalue their brand and publicly discount.

“It’s obviously super-tough to hit the bullseye on pricing because they price their festivals before the actual gates are going to open, so they don’t necessarily have all the insights. Us giving them the ability to to use some of our tools to help sell through more primary stock is effective. And then giving every festival the ability to have a secondary ticket trade that is safe and secure is also really important, and that’s something that we do really well.”

Superstruct UK enlisted Tixel as its exclusive resale platform for a number of its domestic events last year. The partnership includes direct technology integrations to facilitate functions like real-time, accurate ticket validation on all tickets listed (eliminating fakes and/or speculative listings) and the ability for a buyer to list and sell a ticket before ticket barcodes have been distributed. Kaplan sees the deal as a key moment for Tixel.

“We think what we’re doing is very important to the industry, and the more people that know about us, the better”

“It helped in our conversations with a whole load of other promoters and we’ve seen lots of doors open as a result,” he notes. “We know that our tech is very good, we’ve got best in class, but we want to be able to share that with other promoters and having a name like Superstruct on our books makes that initial outreach a bit easier, because people recognise us. There’s brand recognition in the market, so then we’re able to actually show our wares.

“We think what we’re doing is very important to the industry, and the more people that know about us, the better.”

The 2023 season saw Tixel move over 15,000 tickets across eight events and four ticketing platforms, and this year is shaping up to blow that out of the water.

“We’ve got events every single week between now and the end of September in the UK, and then Australia is going strong,” says Kaplan. “We’ve got a bunch of new independent partners as well, like We Out Here festival, Bloodstock and Camp Wildfire.

“We’ve also grown various portfolios: Silverstone Woodlands has a number of other events that we now work with and the U-Live festival portfolio has also expanded with us – they’ve got six or seven festivals we now work with. The idea is to keep building, keep growing and keep supporting our organisers.”

 


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Date revealed for 2024 LIVE Awards

The 2024 LIVE Awards will take place on Wednesday 11 December at Troxy in East London, it has been confirmed.

The third annual event will welcome more than 600 guests from across the live music sector including promoters, venues, agents, festivals and artist managers.

Nominations, which can be submitted online will open on 8 July and close on 11 October. Shortlists for each category, which will be chosen by a panel of industry experts, will then be announced on 21 October.

Tables and individual seats for the awards are now available and include a drinks reception, dinner with wine and petit fours, three hours of complimentary drinks, and an afterparty.

UK-based ticketing company Skiddle has been announced as The LIVE Awards new headline sponsor, joining the event’s other primary sponsors Ticketmaster, PRS for Music, PPL and Equals Money.

“We are delighted to demonstrate our ongoing support for live music by becoming the headline sponsor and official ticketing partner of these important awards, which celebrate and recognise the individuals and companies doing amazing things across our sector,” says Duncan King, Skiddle’s head of festivals and partnerships.

“We will be recognising some of the biggest and most influential names in live music”

LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment) is the voice of the UK’s live music and entertainment business, representing a federation of 16 live music industry associations.

“This year we will be taking The LIVE Awards to a new level with our production partners, who include LS Events, Universal Pixels, Lighthouse and James Wilson Events, building on the success of previous years,” adds Gaby Cartwright, head of partnerships for LIVE and The LIVE Awards. “We will be recognising some of the biggest and most influential names in live music and of course celebrating achievements from across the sector during the preceding 12 months.

“We are also really pleased to welcome Skiddle as our headline sponsors and ticketing partners this year. They are passionate advocates for live music and theirs and our other four primary partner’s support is much appreciated.”

As LIVE’s primary annual fundraising event, all proceeds from the awards will go towards directly supporting the trade body’s ongoing work engaging government on a range of sector issues, as well as supporting members to meet their sustainability goals while fostering a more diverse, equitable and inclusive working environment.

A limited amount of sponsorship opportunities are still available for this year’s LIVE Awards. Interested parties should contact Gaby Cartwright on [email protected] for more information.

Tickets for the LIVE Awards 2024 can be purchased here.

 


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CTS Eventim completes See Tickets deal

CTS Eventim has completed its acquisition of Vivendi’s festival and international ticketing businesses in a €300 million deal.

The agreement includes See Tickets and a portfolio of 11 festivals including the UK’s Love Supreme and Kite, as well as Garorock in France. Vivendi concert halls including L’Olympia concert hall in Paris, plus See Tickets France and Brive Festival, are not part of the deal.

The French firm’s ticketing and festival activities acquired by CTS collectively produced €137 million in revenues in 2023. The ticketing division generated roughly €105m of that, with an EBITDA of €26m.

The UK market was responsible for the largest share of the revenues, followed by the US, while the festival business generated an additional €32m in revenues. Vivendi bought See Tickets for €96m in 2011. The UK-headquartered ticketing company, which operates in nine countries worldwide, sold around 44 million tickets in 2023.

The companies say the transaction offers new development opportunities to Vivendi’s festival portfolio and See Tickets’ international activities, while ensuring maximum continuity for all their partners. Both See Tickets and the festival business will retain their existing identities and management.

A put option agreement was signed on 2 April.

“The acquisition supports our internationalisation strategy and will also benefit artists and their managers, as we will be able to offer even more seamless services on a global scale”

“With See Tickets and its festival operations, Vivendi has established two notable players in the ticketing and live entertainment sector,” said CTS CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg at the time. “I’d like to thank Vivendi for the productive negotiations, which have created a strong foundation for success in an industry enjoying robust growth across Europe.

“The acquisition supports our internationalisation strategy and will also benefit artists and their managers, as we will be able to offer even more seamless services on a global scale. We look forward to collaborating with our new colleagues on shaping the future of live entertainment.”

Pan-European giant CTS’ share price currently sits at €80.45 and is up 28% for the year to-date. The German-headquartered company was among several parties to register interest in buying See Tickets, along with AEG.

In its recently published financial results for Q1 2024, CTS posted consolidated revenue of €408.7m, up 11.6% year-on-year. Ticketing revenue climbed by 23.3% year-on-year to €182.8m, while adjusted EBITDA rose by 24.9% to €83.3m. It acquired Punto Ticket and Teleticket, market leaders in Chile and Peru, respectively, in late 2023.

CTS, which recently confirmed its 18th record year of revenue since its IPO in 2000, also recently secured ticketing deals for several international handball tournaments and was appointed official ticketing service provider for the 2028 Olympics and Paralympics in partnership with AEG’s AXS.

 


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Platinumlist expands event ticketing business into Oman

Platinumlist, a leading ticketing and event solutions company in the Middle East, has announced its official launch in Oman.

The Dubai-headquartered firm deals in concerts, sporting events, attractions and more in 18 cities across Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Last year, the company expanded into Turkey with two concerts at the Haliç Congress Center in Istanbul by Iraqi singer Majid Al Mohandis and Syrian singer Assala Nasri.

Building on the firm’s success in these markets, Platinumlist is planting its flag in Oman to help organisers stage music festivals, cultural events, corporate conferences and other events.

Cosmin Ivan, CEO of Platinumlist, says “We are excited to bring Platinumlist to Oman. Our goal is to provide top-tier support and innovative solutions to event organisers. We believe our platform will significantly enhance the event experience in Oman, and we look forward to collaborating with local organisers to create memorable events for audiences.”

“We believe our platform will significantly enhance the event experience in Oman”

According to the most recent International Ticketing Report, Platinumlist has historically claimed up to 80% of all entertainment ticket sales in the UAE but as Live Nation gets the region in its sights, the local Ticketmaster branch can only grow.

In the report, Vassiliy Anatoli, managing director of Platinumlist, said the ticketing market in UAE is going through a period of significant growth and diversification. “We experienced a significant surge in the number of events being ticketed.

“Many of the event organisers now prefer more customised ticketing solutions for their events. In this context, Platinumlist stands as a complex but agile solution, containing a diverse range of ticketing products such as tourist attractions and activities, sporting events, venue management ticketing solutions, tourist attraction inventory management ticketing solutions, and business events.

“With our flexible ticketing system, we are experienced at promptly adapting to the developing needs of organisers and facilitating the completion of customised solutions.” He says the company’s active customer base “increased over two-fold in the last two years. Overall, we are very lucky that the company has grown 100% without any investment while maintaining profitability growth of 100%.”

Read more in the International Ticketing Report 2023.

 


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Campaign launched against Dutch ticket tax hike

A coalition of organisations in the Netherlands have launched a joint campaign against the government’s plans to raise the tax rate for the cultural and creative sector from 9% to 21%.

A full-page advert appeared in every national and regional newspaper today (3 June) with the message #nohigherebtw (nohigherVAT) on behalf of the alliance, which includes the Association of Dutch Music Venues and Festivals’ (VNPF), as well as other groups across culture, media, catering, books and sports.

It follows proposals unveiled by the country’s new right-wing government to increase the VAT rate for concert, festival, sports and museum tickets, as well as books, hotels and newspapers, by 12 percentage points from 2026. The sector contributes €26 billion (3.4%) annually to the Netherlands’ GDP and accounts for almost one in 20 jobs in the Netherlands.

A statement from the coalition reads: “The proposed increase in the VAT rate will inevitably lead to higher prices, which will put pressure on the accessibility and affordability of sports, media, books, culture and catering for the public. It affects everyone in the Netherlands in daily life and in several areas. It is an additional burden on the valuable free time, club life, curiosity and (mental) health of every Dutch person.”

The government says the increase will generate €2.2bn a year for the treasury, but campaigners say it will add 11% to the price of tickets. According to Dutch News, the measure is also the least popular of all the plans unveiled by the new coalition, with just over half of those polled opposed to the move and only 28% supporting it.

A total of 96% of respondents to a poll conducted by trade bodies Arts ’92 and The Creative Coalition said ticket prices will have to increase if the lower VAT rate is abolished, while research by economist René Goudriaan suggested the subsequent drop in visitors would most severely impact festivals (1.5 million fewer annual visits), resulting in €62.5 million less income.

“This increase in tax burden affects everyone: readers, festivalgoers, museum visitors, artists, musical fans, people who sing in choirs and play in brass bands,” says Arts ’92 director Astrid Weij. “In this way, what gives life colour and meaning takes a hit. The economy behind the creative sector is going to shrink. The effects on our prosperity, well-being and employment are negative.”

“The VAT increase is a serious setback for self-employed people and employees. Many fear forced layoffs”

“The proposed VAT increase is a blow to self-employed people and employees in the sector,” adds Thomas Drissen, director of The Creative Coalition. “It puts further pressure on the income of the makers. Many have not yet recovered from the corona years, when there was actually a professional ban. The VAT increase is a serious setback for self-employed people and employees. Many fear forced layoffs.”

Dutch live music association the VNPF has previously called on the authorities to reconsider the tax hike, warning it could have grave consequences for the domestic live music business.

“This measure makes ticket sales uncertain, leading to less investment in a sector that has already been hit disproportionately hard in recent years,” it said. “The jobs of more than 100,000 people working in this industry are also threatened.

“In addition, this VAT increase weakens the competitive position of the Dutch live music sector compared to neighbouring countries where low rates are still charged. Stages and festivals lose their offer to neighbouring countries, with all the financial consequences that entails. This policy puts the Dutch world-leading live sector at a great disadvantage.”

It continued: “Pop culture in the Netherlands is becoming less accessible, causing a broad audience to be excluded from cultural events. This makes the Netherlands less attractive for international artists, which has a negative impact on the business climate in this industry.

“The consequences extend beyond just the visitors – up-and-coming pop talent will find it even more difficult to break through and generate a sustainable income.”

Other groups to have signed up to the coalition include Dutch football association KNVB, the country’s top professional football league the Eredivisie, the Association of Theater and Concert Hall Directors (VSCD), Association of Event Makers (VVEM), the Alliance of Event Builders, the Association of Dutch Orchestras (VvNO), the Creative Industry Federation, the Culture Federation, the Pop Coalition and the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ).

 


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Live Nation confirms Ticketmaster data hack

Live Nation has launched an investigation after confirming that its Ticketmaster subsidiary has suffered a data leak.

It was reported last week that hackers had stolen the personal details of 560 million Ticketmaster customers, with a spokesperson for Australia’s department of home affairs spokesperson saying it was “working with Ticketmaster to understand the incident”.

The ShinyHunters hacking group is said to be demanding a US$500,000 (€462,000) ransom payment for the 1.3 TB of stolen data, which allegedly includes partial credit card details, customer names, addresses and emails.

In a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Live Nation says the hack was detected on 20 May.

“On May 20, 2024, Live Nation… identified unauthorised activity within a third-party cloud database environment containing company data (primarily from its Ticketmaster L.L.C. subsidiary) and launched an investigation with industry-leading forensic investigators to understand what happened,” says the statement.

“On May 27, 2024, a criminal threat actor offered what it alleged to be company user data for sale via the dark web. We are working to mitigate risk to our users and the company, and have notified and are cooperating with law enforcement. As appropriate, we are also notifying regulatory authorities and users with respect to unauthorised access to personal information.

“As of the date of this filing, the incident has not had, and we do not believe it is reasonably likely to have, a material impact on our overall business operations or on our financial condition or results of operations. We continue to evaluate the risks and our remediation efforts are ongoing.”

“AEG has long maintained that Ticketmaster has a monopoly in the US ticketing marketplace”

Meanwhile, AEG Presents CEO Jay Marciano has weighed in on the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation, branding LN a “monopoly”.

In a memo to staff obtained by Variety, Marciano said: “AEG has long maintained that Ticketmaster has a monopoly in the US ticketing marketplace and uses that monopoly power to subsidise Live Nation’s content businesses, preventing other businesses from competing in those areas and leaving consumers to suffer the consequences.

“As you know, the cornerstone of Live Nation’s monopoly is Ticketmaster’s exclusive ticketing contracts with the vast majority of major concert venues in the United States. These agreements block competition and innovation and result in higher ticketing fees, denying artists the ability to choose who will ticket their shows and how much their fans should pay.”

In response, Live Nation’s Dan Wall says in a statement: “This is why antitrust protects competition, not competitors trying to use the courts to advance their own interests. AEG supports this case — indeed, begged DOJ to file it — because it doesn’t want to pay artists market rates or convince venues to adopt its second-rate ticketing system exclusively.

“Its complaints about service charges are hypocritical since it could lower AXS service charges today if it really cared about that. Self-serving arguments like these are common in antitrust cases, but rightly ignored.”

Live Nation share price has risen slightly today to $US93.74, giving the company a market capitalisation of $21.7 billion.

 


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Futures Forum and MMF host artist development workshop

ILMC’s Futures Forum (FF) and the Music Managers Forum (MMF) joined forces this week for an event that saw emerging live music executives and artist managers discuss the future of artist development.

The workshop and networking drinks took place on Tuesday night (28 May) at The Garage in London, hosted by FF’s Lisa Henderson and MMF’s Svi Dethekar, with support from AEG Europe, AXS, The O2 and ILMC.

Attendees from companies including Runway Artists, ATC Live, X-Ray Touring, Royal Albert Hall, Live Nation, Red Light Management, Wildlife Mgmt, East City Management, AEG Presents and CAA attended the free admission event.

The 75-minute hosted debate saw the executives discuss barriers to developing and growing a fanbase in live music, strategies and innovative approaches to ensure a successful tour, and solutions to ensure the next-generation headliners rise to the top.

Discussing key considerations for developing an emerging act’s live career, one exec said: “Artists need to put in their 10,000 hours to be at a professional level. Patience is important – from both artists and managers – especially when you’re looking to build.”

Another exec added: “We need to help emerging artists understand that initially, they need to take ownership of their live career. It’s important that they have mentors and guidance on how the live music business works and how you can get paid – whether that’s via ticket sales or PRS. They also need an understanding of how the industry is changing.”

According to attendees, the biggest barriers to artist development include a lack of government funding, high audience expectations, venue availability, converting online fans to ticket buyers and the cost of touring.

“There was an awful lot of knowledge and passion in the room, especially around areas like grassroots and mid-level touring”

The latter was a major talking point for attendees when sharing their strategies and innovative approaches for a successful tour.

“You’ve got to be creative,” one attendee said. “Think about brands subsidising the costs of a tour, or using influencer marketing to reach new audiences.”

Other execs warned that artists should choose wisely when to go on tour and ensure that every show counts.

“Think about collaborations and providing something special for a fanbase,” said one attendee.  “Think about your marketing campaigns, creating interesting assets, and think about data capture to help plan future events.”

Exploring solutions to the aforementioned issues, attendees said they would like to see a UK ticket levy introduced to support grassroots touring. Execs also called for more transparency about where fees go and revenues flow.

“As Futures Forum continues to build out a year-round programme for its community of young live music professionals, the evening truly showed how creative the various sectors of the live business can be when they get together to collaborate,” says Greg Parmley, head of ILMC.

“We would especially like to thank Futures Forum’s annual partners AEG Europe, The O2 and AXS, for making unique moments like this possible.”

Manasvi Dethekar, membership secretary, MMF, added: “Working with Futures Forum was a really exciting collaboration for the MMF. Importantly, it was also an opportunity to capture views from a wide diversity of upcoming managers, booking agents, venues and others who are dedicated to building the live careers of artists. There was an awful lot of knowledge and passion in the room, especially around areas like grassroots and mid-level touring. We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who participated, and we’ll be using all the feedback we gained to inform some of the MMF’s upcoming projects.”

Futures Forum is a year-round platform for the next generation of live music industry leaders to forge relationships and exchange ideas.

The organisation hosts a one-day conference discussion and networking event in London each spring, on the final day of its renowned parent event, the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).

 


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