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Mental health influences the success of the entire industry

I probably was the best example for the lack of awareness about mental health and its challenges that can be found anywhere in our industry. Yes, I always considered mental health a very important issue but of course for those with issues and not for me. That is probably why I never let it get closer to me. Well, until I had my own.

Those incidents happened five years ago and it took about three months of uncertainty until I was diagnosed with panic attacks and able to start working with the issue (and for the record: I was successful). Unsurprisingly, only then do you begin to appreciate the luxury of everything going normally until it is no longer the case – especially when it comes to one’s own health.

During this time, I found out how little it takes to fully question business as usual, or at least to mess it up almost completely. I sometimes felt unprofessional because I suddenly had to spend valuable working time on myself and my health but it simply takes its time and effort to address these things.

I always considered mental health a very important issue but of course for those with issues and not for me

And I found out that there were many situations in my private life but also in my professional life that added up to the point that “the pot finally boiled over”. To name just a few: The disappointments of a musician who never was able to take the decisive step. The boss who, in passing, gives the wisdom that in our job you cannot have a regular private life, let alone a relationship. The responsibility for all public communication around a tragic death within a festival without being trained in any way for such a case. The effects that a tense working atmosphere on a very personal level leaves behind in the context of a project running for decades.

All of this I would have approached or processed differently knowing what I know now. It is of course utopian to think that we can prepare for all possible cases, but I am convinced without any doubt that more knowledge, understanding and acceptance of circumstances make an enormous difference.

The responsibility for mental health issues does not necessarily lie within the person experiencing them

And that is the reason I embraced the idea of my friend, psychologist Prof. Dr Katja Ehrenberg, to create a book that helps raising awareness. It is called Stay Sound & Check Yourself and is intended to help ensure better understanding and appropriate attention to a topic that has a decisive influence on the success and creativity of the entire industry.

The two of us took a glimpse behind the scenes of the European live music, festival and event sector. Together with inspiring interview partners we turned the spotlights on the people behind the stages. We were happy to gather experts from eleven European countries to talk in often very personal individual interviews about their experiences with stress and mental health issues, the love for their job and what motivates them.

‘Stay Sound & Check Yourself’ is intended to help ensure better understanding and appropriate attention to [mental health]

We are proud to have achieved a great mix of genders, age groups and many different positions in the industry from a young social media expert to a veteran festival director. Our book is meant to be an in-depth feature of personal insights on stress and mental health in an industry that never sleeps, enriched by background information on the issue as well as suggestions for prevention and intervention – thanks to Katja’s massive expertise. And yes, there is a full chapter on the unprecedented stress-test that the ongoing pandemic is presenting to our industry.

So, after spending centuries of hard work placing the topic of mental health in the taboo corner it is also up to us now to work on this corner to disappear and deal with the reality. A reality that means that these things happen, that they can happen to everyone, that the responsibility for mental health issues does not necessarily lie within the person experiencing them, and that people simply are different.

For some reason, they have different dispositions and are differently resilient in different situations, just as they bring different skills, talents and a kind of magic that only they can perform. That is why Stay Sound & Check Yourself is dedicated to the innumerable people who you normally cannot see, but without whom the stars could never shine on stage.

 


Stay Sound & Check Yourself is out now. Order via your local bookshop or the links below:
Austria | Denmark | Finland | France | Germany | Hungary | Italy | Lithuania | The Netherlands | Poland | Slovakia | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | UK

All author profits from book sales will be reinvested to projects promoting visibility of the issue and building prevention and intervention tools.

TicketSwap expands network with Portugal’s Boom

Amsterdam-based resale platform TicketSwap has announced a partnership with long-running festival, Boom.

The partnership includes integration with their ticketing company Weezevent, which allows TicketSwap to void a sold ticket and instead issue new tickets to buyers.

This Secure Swap integration ensures that fans can buy and sell quickly and easily, while providing visibility to the festival organiser.

The partnership with Boom marks TicketSwap’s first foray into Portugal and follows recent launches in Italy and Brazil.

“It’s great to have such a prominent partner for Portugal as we continue on our mission to be the experience platform that every fan loves”

“We are delighted to be working with Boom Festival,” says TicketSwap CEO Hans Ober. “The event is spectacular and people travel from all over the world to be there. We are very pleased to provide a safe and transparent way for fans to sell their tickets at a fair price.”

“TicketSwap have been expanding at a pace. We have set up an office in Brazil, launched in Italy, and we’re hiring our first local staff in the UK, Sweden, and Germany. It’s great to have such a prominent partner for Portugal as we continue on our mission to be the experience platform that every fan loves.”

The 25th edition of Boom festival will take place on 22–29th June 2022.

The event, which takes place every two years, has been ‘exceptionally popular’ on TicketSwap, with nearly 4,000 people registering for tickets and almost 500 tickets sold in the first three days.

 


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NFTs: The future of ticketing?

Art auctions, album launches, video clips, gaming characters and even historic tweets have helped to put the concept of NFTs on the map, with hundreds of millions of dollars changing hands already this year for all manner of collectible digital assets.

The rush to become a part of this lucrative 21st-century phenomena has seen a raft of start-up enterprises amassing impressive sums in funding from eager investors, while the publicity that art auctions in particular have enjoyed has helped NFTs become one of the most searched-for terms on Google.

As a result, when it comes to leveraging the power of NFTs for ticketing, there is an ever-increasing pool of hopefuls trying to entice artists, venues, event organisers and established ticket operators to put their faith in the blockchain-based technology.

The multinational ticketing giants are cautious. Ticketmaster’s EVP of enterprise and revenue, Brendan Lynch, sums up their view on the use of blockchain-based operations: “Ticketmaster jumped into blockchain early, acquiring Upgraded back in 2018 and furthering our focus in the space through other investments and development.

“Blockchain ticketing is still in experimental stages and not yet scalable for broad ticketing delivery but is useful for specific low-volume situations. Right now, digital ticketing offers the same level of tokenisation, terms and security with way more scale – and since less than 10% of tickets get resold, a traditional blockchain still isn’t worthwhile for large onsales. But our cryptographers and engineers will continue to explore blockchain ticketing delivery to see where it can differentiate and add value in the future.”

However, the excitement among those who are helping to develop the NFT ticketing market is palpable and as the myriad applications and transparency that the blockchain can offer become more apparent, investment is flooding in to drive that development – including from the likes of Ticketmaster.

One company that has been working with blockchain for the last five years is Netherlands-based GET Protocol, which is also home to in-house ticketing operation GUTS Tickets. “It’s a little bit derogatory to say, but GUTS is sort of our ticket store asset to show what GET Protocol can do,” explains Olivier Biggs, the company’s head of marketing. “All of our tickets are NFTs and in our international expansion plans we are offering interested parties a white-label solution so that they receive the infrastructure of GUTS and can slap on their own logo and label.”

Championing the use of NFT ticketing, Biggs continues, “One of the big benefits is that you can really establish and sustain a connection from the artist or event organiser to the actual fan who shows up at the event. NFT ticketing also offers collectible opportunities, so whereas in the past you would put your event ticket stub on your fridge as a reminder, you can do this digitally by holding your ticket in your online wallet. This can include custom artwork from the artist or contain information about the show or whatever.”

Carolin Wend, co-founder and chief operating officer of NFT specialist Mintbase, is also bullish about its applications in ticketing. “I have a radical opinion on ticketing,” she tells IQ. “I used to work in ticketing for a company so I know how the business works, but in my opinion there is no innovation happening in the [big] platforms at all – it’s the same thing for the last ten or 20 years: you have a QR code, you go to a festival and someone scans it and you go in. Done. So it’s a one-time, single-use case for tickets – that QR code is used just once, for one purpose.

“With NFT tickets, it doesn’t need to be a QR code – your ticket could be a song or a video that is pegged to your smart contract. That’s much more dynamic as a format, but also, you keep it forever – the NFT is an asset that you own. And that is key. With NFT ticketing you can trade it wherever you want, you can gift it to a friend… this is not happening in the current ticketing system because although lots of [companies] have personalised tickets, you don’t really own the ticket because if you look at the definition of ownership it’s something that can be owned and controlled by myself. But if you look at traditional tickets, it’s just a QR code and I don’t really own it.

“With NFT tickets, I can trade it, but I can also verify that it is a real ticket, and I can control something in a very uncontrolled environment – the resale market.”

“With NFT tickets, I can trade it, but I can also verify that it is a real ticket, and I can control something in a very uncontrolled environment – the resale market”

Verification
Using cutting-edge technology to disrupt the ticketing business brings with it a different operations model, but intrinsically the two worlds are not that different.

“In the world of blockchain, you need verification of wallets, so what we do is, instead of it being a hexadecimal, we can verify that Josh Katz and Gordon Masson are friends. So, we can independently buy tickets to a show, but make sure we’re sitting next to each other because we’re verified as friends,” explains Katz, founder and CEO of New York-based YellowHeart, in which Live Nation/Ticketmaster was an early investor.

“YellowHeart also has a proprietary moving UPC barcode, which can be set to change from 1-5 seconds so that it cannot be screenshot. We could not have done this without blockchain,” says Katz. “The barcode rotates without connectivity, so you don’t need 5G or Wi-Fi. Since it’s on blockchain, it rotates based on the user’s private key on their device, so this would work for Burning Man or anything else that doesn’t have good connectivity.”

GET Protocol’s Biggs notes, “With the tickets being tied to a smartphone, we did not anticipate how big a benefit that would be. But that allows you to know, 100% of the time, who has the ticket, rather than who originally paid for it. The benefits are amazing – you can see who has already shown up to the event and who is running late. We had an event where there was a public transport outage and half of the audience was running late, but the artist was able to send those people specifically a message saying don’t worry, we know you are on the way and we won’t start until you get here.

“So you know exactly who you are talking to and you don’t have to fight social media algorithms and hope that you somehow reach the right people.”

“We had an event where half the audience was running late, but the artist was able to send those people a message saying don’t worry, we won’t start until you get here”

Collectibles
While most music fans have a stash of ticket stubs as souvenirs for shows they have attended, those involved in NFT ticketing believe that the collectability element will result in tickets being traded, post-event, between fans.

“We have a white-label integrator of the protocol in South Korea, but because we’re sober Dutch people we thought that the collectible thing might be a bit gimmicky and we had doubts about how many people would use it,” admits Biggs. “But in the land of K-pop they know about fandom and the level of involvement that real fans can have; any type of reward or interaction between a fan and the artist is priceless.”

Katz is all in on the collectability angle. Demonstrating the use of artist video content as the NFT ticket, Katz claims such dynamic technology is far more engaging for fans, and underlines the collectible element.

“Essentially, if you go to see a show and you’re one of ten people in the audience to get a special NFT ticket, then that makes those tickets hugely collectible after the show. Plus it’s proof of attendance that you saw your favourite acts play at some tiny venue in, let’s say, London,” says Katz.

“The scarcity in the nature of tickets is a business – there are only so many front row seats, for instance.” Programming those tickets with audio or visual add-ons would only enhance their rarity. “These tickets will be worth more after the show than they were before,” claims Katz. “The value add of this technology is massive.”

“Any type of reward or interaction between a fan and the artist is priceless”

Eliminating scalpers
One of the much-touted advantages that NFT ticketing offers is its ability to clamp down on secondary ticketing profiteers. That aspect was one of the driving forces behind the launch of YellowHeart.

“YellowHeart comes from the fans and was built for fans: its goal is to create frictionless commerce between the fans and the artists,” explains Katz.

“I’m religious about the band Phish – I go to every concert. I’m also a huge Yankees fan, but I’m constantly getting ripped off. Spending [US]$1,000 to take my family to a baseball game was driving me insane. And as a Phish fan, I travel with a large group of fans, some of whom are doctors and lawyers and have well-paid jobs, but tickets are still an issue. I can travel with 20 people but ten do not have a ticket because they are on StubHub for $900when the face value is $80.”

Determined to come up with something that could disrupt that status quo, Katz turned to the blockchain and its ability to make transactions transparent, as well as allowing fans to ensure what they are paying for is genuine. “We have full transactional details of every ticket,” says Katz. “11.5% of tickets that get sold through the secondary market are fraudulent. But using the ticket history, or blockchain ledger, fans can see that their ticket was minted by Ticketmaster, for instance, then who it was first sold to and for how much, so they can judge if they’re being ripped off. So NFT ticketing gives the fans authentication and transparency around tickets.”

That’s a selling point also highlighted by Liam Boyd, CEO of music at Bondly, who comments, “NFT tickets are on the open blockchain, which means anyone can see how they are transferred at any time. This in turn allows greater transparency as well as enhanced security resulting in peace of mind for all parties involved. You can also send the holder updates and info through sending additional NFTs.”

It’s that final point that sets NFTs apart.

“NFT tickets are on the open blockchain, which means anyone can see how they are transferred at any time. This allows greater transparency”

Fan communication
While NFT ticketing requires the audience to, by and large, all be in possession of smartphones, there are procedures to allow others into venues. But more on that later.

For those who are in possession of 21st-century equipment, assuming the ticket holder has their NFT ticket stored in a digital wallet on their mobile device, the possibilities for communication with them are endless.

“It allows the artist to know exactly who attended their concert, and it could also lead to artists rewarding super fans by sending them exclusive content or inviting them for a meet-and-greet and stuff like that,” notes Biggs.

Katz says, “Right before the show you can send people a message telling them that you’re going on stage in 20 minutes – you send that through the ticket. Chainsmokers are early partners in the company and one of the things we’ve talked about with them is the ability to send messages out to, say, 20 fans [letting them know] they’re looking forward to rocking out with them next week. That’s where we’re heading with all of this.”

So, what about those people who don’t own smartphones?

“We’ve been very focussed on having a product that is not just cool technologically, but that can also serve all users,” says Biggs. “In our first year, we did some pilot events with a comedian whose audience is in the older demographic and therefore might not be tech savvy. That was very viable because we wanted to make sure anybody who bought a ticket didn’t have any surprises.

“There is always a way to get someone in through customer support. Sometimes people lose their phones on their way to the concert, or they change phones or something. But given that you are already in the system and you have bought a ticket, there are ways to verify your identity at the location.”

From YellowHeart’s point of view, Katz notes, “If someone shows up without their device, they can go to the box office with a government-issued ID and our system can verify who they are, allowing them to walk in the door.”

“Right before the show you can send people a message telling them that you’re going on stage in 20 minutes – you send that through the ticket”

Rules, royalties & revenues
Another unique tool for blockchain-based ticketing is the ability for NFTs to be encoded with specific sets of rules, which can benefit both the creator of the ticket and the final user: the fan.

Bondly’s Boyd tells IQ, “We have an amazing end to end NFT tech stack, which includes NFT creation, white labelling for music artists and brands, and an NFT swap feature called BondSwap where fans could actually swap their NFT tickets with each other. We also have an incredibly talented and large creative team who really bring these NFTs to life with art, music, perks and rewards.

“Bondly’s NFT ticketing is giving artists and festivals, for example, the opportunity to expand their fans’ experience and interaction with music through unique content, rewards and more. Fans can even receive festival maps or line-up information as the ticket is a world of opportunity.”

Katz agrees. “We are able to encode any rule you think of on the ticket. And a rule can go down to a single ticket or a section of the audience – and the artwork can be made specifically for different sections, so the front-row tickets can be different from the second row, which helps to make the tickets super collectible.

“Rules such as age restrictions, uplift limits for the resale on secondary markets, which can be easily set to zero. Then there’s transferability – you have a lot of tickets that you might not want to be transferred, such as guest list, or you might allow for them to be transferred once.

“You can also set limits for the maximum number of tickets a wallet can hold, which can also help eliminate scalping. So, if you set the limit to four tickets, if they tried to buy a fifth, it would be declined.”

GET Protocol’s Biggs notes, “There are also lots more technical things that NFT ticketing can do in terms of royalties or residual revenues, where you can programme the tickets so that if they are resold on the secondary market, a certain percentage always goes back to the original artist or event organiser, or both. So without having to police it or organise a whole infrastructure for this, it’s simply programmed that you will automatically receive any residual revenues – so very low effort and very high reward.”

Indeed, Wend predicts such applications could even help some event organisers to rewrite the ways in which their businesses operate.

“What we have developed on Mintbase and the new NEAR blockchain is something we’ve called split revenues and split royalties,” she explains. “That means, when I put an NFT ticket on sale for my festival, for example, Rihanna would get 5% of every ticket sold, David Guetta gets 5% of every ticket sold, another artist gets 2%. At the moment the ticket is sold, the money gets split between the different parties. This is a completely new innovation because it means those artists are stakeholders in the event and they get paid at the ticket sale because it is a peer-to-peer system.

“It’s a new paradigm of doing ticketing because promoters can say rather than getting paid a few thousand dollars, artists could get a percentage of each ticket sale, giving the artists more incentives and motivation to push the event because they are stakeholders.”

“You can programme the tickets so that if they are resold on the secondary market, a percentage always goes back to the original artist or event organiser, or both”

Costs
Of course, one of the key selling points for anyone considering trialling NFT ticketing will be the cost of using such a system. Biggs reveals GET Protocol’s pragmatic approach when he observes, “We need to be competitive to provide an alternative to the big ticketing companies.”

Others provide greater detail. “Costs depend on which blockchain the NFT company uses, as transaction fees fluctuate all the time,” says Wend. “But minting one NFT is fractions of a cent and creating a shop for the smart contract is about $40 [€33]. So, for a 5,000-capacity gig, minting the tickets and creating a store would cost about $60-70 [€60-58]. And Mintbase takes 2.5% of every ticket sold.”

Comparing YellowHeart’s fees to that of the major ticketing outlets, Katz proclaims, “We’re 10% of the price.”

He continues, “Traditional ticketing fees can range between 12% and 47%. YellowHeart is 2.5% to 5%. And that’s only to the seller. Buyers don’t pay fees.

“We did not build YellowHeart so that the industry could make more money off the fans. They can if they use it correctly because more fans will attend events and they will want to spend more money. If they’re not being ripped off on tickets, they’ll spend more on concessions and merch and everything else. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been to a show where I’ve spent $600 or $800 on tickets and I’ve said to the people I’m with, let’s go for dinner and they can’t because all of their money has gone on the tickets. That’s the truth of what goes on.

“I’m a fan and I’ve sat in the audience with other fans who have been ripped off for years, and I just knew there had to be a better way. So I built this for the fans. Hopefully, the artist will care enough to use it for their fans.”

Mintbase’s Wend adds, “Most NFT companies are on Ethereum – we are on Ethereum – but we are now on NEAR Protocol as well, so we are a multi-chain platform. The difference is that on Mintbase and the NEAR blockchain, it’s much more affordable than on Ethereum to mint and trade NFTs. So, it’s cost efficient, but it’s also climate neutral because NEAR uses a proof-of-state mechanism, and not the Ethereum proof-of-work mechanism. So that’s better for the environment.”

“I’m a fan and I’ve sat in the audience with other fans who have been ripped off for years, and I 
just knew there had to be a better way”

Future forecasts
While Ticketmaster’s Lynch may be unconvinced about the scalability of blockchain ticketing, the company is still keen to talk up its abilities to provide clients with NFT ticketing options.

“Ticketmaster can help provide any artist, team or event with a solution to have their tickets deliver special NFTs,” says Lynch. “NFTs provide immediate benefits to sports and artists by opening up new ways to engage with their biggest fans. For so long a ticket has simply equalled access to an event, but with NFTs it can be so much more – in the months between an onsale and the event a ticket can become a channel for fans to access things like exclusive content or limited edition merch, or artists and teams can carve out unique loyalty and VIP engagement opportunities to surprise and delight fans before during or after the event, we can also designate different levels of super-fan status based on attendance and other engagement to unlock rewards and dynamic fan club benefits.”

Lynch adds, “The possibilities are endless, and we are planning some really exciting things.”

Bondly’s Boyd is realistic about the prospects for the new format, but he is confident that the benefits will make NFT tickets a huge hit with fans everywhere. “At the moment, the NFT ticket will not replace the traditional ticket, but owning an NFT gives fans many benefits,” he says.

“In the short-term, I believe it will be used for intimate live events and [for] welcoming, alongside a traditional ticket, as we at Bondly are using it. In the long-term, it will become the ticket and replace traditional tickets as we know them now,” Boyd forecasts. “At Bondly we are using our place at the forefront of NFT technology to continuously innovate and find new exciting ways to make NFTs more accessible to the masses and really shorten the education journey along the way.”

Wend is equally bullish and reveals that Mintbase is currently building a hybrid NFT event for Wilde Möhre Festival, which is held across four weekends in Drebkau, Germany. “We are planning a virtual twin of the festival, but also at the event there will be an NF-Tea House where people can drink tea and create their own ecosystem around NFTs. Every artist who is performing at the physical festival will get the opportunity to sell their own NFTs – tickets, art, whatever,” she says.

She adds, “I think traditional ticketing will be replaced by NFTs because it is peer-to-peer and it’s transparent on the blockchain, meaning people cannot be lied to anymore. It’s the future, not only for ticketing, but also for many other digital markets.

“2022 will be the big year for NFT ticketing. Wilde Möhre is happening this year but that’s because it’s just 1,000 people at each edition and it’s outside, so it meets Covid rules. That makes it perfect for us to use as a case study and play around with what we can offer. Things will break because it’s a new technology, but we can take those lessons and apply them to other events. In fact, we will be presenting the concept at the Future of Festivals Conference in Berlin in November.”

Katz concurs with Wend’s NFT takeover assessment. “In the short-term, I think the incumbent ticketing giants are going to try to do this themselves and fail,” he says. “They are in such disarray trying to get concerts back that I don’t think they are going to pay attention to this. But I think that the fans are going to demand this technology once they use it.

“Pre-Covid, YellowHeart had our hands tied. We had a Live Nation/Ticketmaster relationship and there wasn’t much we were able to do outside of that. Post-Covid we’re getting calls from major teams, artists, venues, festivals, you name it, they’ve been calling us because they realise there are better ways to do ticketing and it’s a whole new world now.”

Revealing that GET Protocol is already operating in four territories – Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and South Korea – Biggs comments, “We’re in the sweet spot of having enough experience to know what we’re doing and to bring new technologies to the masses with a framework that people understand and allows them to enjoy events every day.

“We were either very lucky or very smart, as we knew that NFTs were going to enjoy a wave of publicity, but we did not quite anticipate how big it would become in the mainstream world all of a sudden. A lot of people come to the conclusion themselves that the stuff in the art world is cool, but what about ticketing?”

Biggs concludes, “For NFTs we are at the peak of the hype right now. Everyone wants to do something, whether they understand it or not, but that means it’s also going to have to deflate somewhat, which is also very healthy.

“As with the blockchain hype, a lot of people who saw cool ideas in the beginning actually had to make them work. So we’re in for a big unsexy and uninteresting period where people find utility and create it and try to cram it into a market fit and fail miserably before trying again. But hopefully they will come up with some cool things along the way that will actually benefit people.

“The interest is there and it has to be on the radars of the bigger players as well who can sense where things are going and will definitely want to be a part of it. It’s very exciting.”

 


Read this feature in its original format in the digital edition of IQ 99:


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Germany’s DEAG raises €6m for acquisitions

Berlin-based live entertainment group DEAG has raised more than €6 million to fund future acquisitions in “key markets”, it announced today (5 May).

The company recently delisted from the stock market after 23 years as a listed company, with CEO Peter Schwenkow telling IQ that DEAG (Deutsche Entertainment AG) could raise more funds as a private company than on the financial markets.

To raise the new funding – €6.06m in total – DEAG will increase its share capital by 1,962,597 new shares, or approximately 10%, with the support of its largest individual shareholder, Apeiron Investment Group, which subscribed to the capital increase through its ‘Live Opportunities Fund’.

The proceeds, according to a statement from the company, will “be used to take advantage of attractive market opportunities to acquire companies that are identified at short notice. DEAG is thus continuing to pursue its strategy of growth in key markets and extending its value chain.”

Promoter/ticket agency DEAG owns businesses in Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

 


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Oxynade by SecuTix launches sports ticketing solution

Oxynade by SecuTix, the SaaS ticketing solution, has announced a new fully digital sports ticketing platform specifically for mid-sized clubs.

The new sports solution on Oxynade’s platform is designed to serve sports organisations that might not be able to implement a dedicated ticketing service or who currently only have an online ticket registration form for collection.

The new sport-specific solution follows the success of Oxynade’s work with sports clubs, including German football club Viktoria Berlin and the Latvian professional basketball team VEF Riga.

The Oxynade platform features a new season card sales system, which will soon have an online renewal feature, allowing smaller clubs to handle their own season cards. It also has a new web point-of-sales system to ease sales on match days.

Other recent developments include a membership option to register fans and grant privileges and also allow them to transfer seats to friends or business partners. By converting sales to online channels, Oxynade by SecuTix enables clubs to collect much more fan data, essential to marketing processes and customer service.

IQ caught up with Hans Nissens, northern Europe operations lead for SecuTix, to find out more about the new online, mobile sports platform, which is designed to help mid-sized clubs manage tickets and fan engagement…


IQ: What made you decide to launch a solution specifically for sports clubs?
HN: There are several reasons why SecuTix has jumped into this market. The Covid period has made a shift to digitalisation for all sports clubs, imposed by the local government as a condition to stay open or reopen. The clubs have to register who is in their venue and where they are seated. For this, they need a good ticketing solution.

But most of the existing ticketing technologies and platforms are way too complex and too expensive for mid-size sports clubs, especially when they want to take control over their own sales (in terms of process, collecting fan data and payments). Besides some local initiatives, there are no real 100% self-service platforms in the market to give mid-size sports clubs an easy-to-use full ticketing and season card management system (including renewals).

Following the the earlier acquisition of Oxynade, SecuTix now had the possibility to create such a self-service platform on top of the existing Oxynade platform.

Is the future wholly digital, or is there still a space for paper tickets?
Undoubtedly, there is a shift towards digital tickets. Oxynade supports plain PDF tickets, PKPass mobile formats and (soon) the TIXnGO mobile wallet (a secure mobile wallet solution within the Elca/SecuTix family, but which can also be easily integrated with other external ticketing platforms).

During the analysis in preparation for this new product, we interviewed many mid-size sports clubs all over Europe. One of the main reasons why mid-size sports clubs are opting for our solution is to have less, or even no, sales at the door anymore. So it’s certainly their intention to move as much as possible ticketing towards digital.

“Most of the existing ticketing technologies and platforms are way too complex and too expensive for mid-sized sports clubs”

How are you gearing up for the return of live events, and when do you see the this happening?
We are ready for them to return. Steadily we see some activity with our customers; the hope is slowly returning.

We all hope for a vibrant summer, but we can assume it will take us until late summer/autumn before bigger things can happen. I wish it could be different.

What else has  Oxynade by SecuTix been working on during lockdown? For example, do you have any other new Covid-secure technology?

The year 2020 was quite a busy year in terms of product development for Oxynade. Besides the new sports clubs project, the Oxynade platform is already widely used by marketplaces and distributors. Because of Covid, the Oxynade platform has developed further its museum possibilities with advanced time slot features.

But we launched also a full web POS (a point-of-sales system to sell – ironically – easier at the door), we have integrated PeakProtect (our in-house queuing and peak monitoring system), adopted a new range of PDA scanners for access control, upgraded our self-service seat plan creator and so on.

With all these improvements and extensions we have made our position in the market as self-service B2B ticketing system even stronger.

Anything else we should know?
We are still looking for partners who want to distribute our mid-size sports club product in their specific market. When interested, they can contact Oxynade through our web form.

 


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IQ 99 out now: NFT ticketing tech & more

IQ 99, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

In May’s edition, IQ examines the hype around nonfungible tokens and the exciting possibilities they can bring to ticketing, while news editor Jon Chapple discovers some of the ways that live entertainment can embrace sustainability in its return to action.

In comments and columns, the Australian Festivals Association’s Julia Robinson discusses how a lack of government-backed insurance could impact business confidence and Laura Davidson explains the driving force behind her new female-led live services consultancy, Amigas.

Following the inaugural edition of IPM Production Notes in IQ 98, tour manager Rebecca Travis reflects on 20 years on the road and one year off, while Mike Malak updates readers on the new technology impacting the music industry in Pulse.

Plus, enjoy the regular content you’ve come to expect from your monthly IQ Magazine, including news 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 99 in its entirety. Subscribers can log in and read the full magazine now.

 


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Eventim rolls out fanSALE platform in Scandinavia

CTS Eventim has launched its face-value ticket resale platform, fanSALE, in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

FanSALE is the first fully digital face-value platform in Scandinavia, and is already in use in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Finland and Brazil. In both Norway and Denmark, it is illegal to resell tickets for a profit.

When tickets are resold on the fanSALE platform, the original tickets are cancelled and new tickets issued in a new order, guaranteeing the new tickets and allowing for the resale of personal tickets when people can no longer attend an event.

“With fanSALE, Eventim is taking an important step in Scandinavia to help fans buy and sell tickets safely and legally”

“With fanSALE, Eventim is taking an important step in Scandinavia to help fans buy and sell tickets safely and legally amongst themselves,” says Jens Arnesen, CEO of Eventim Scandinavia.

“FanSALE guarantees that tickets cannot be sold for more than the original ticket price. At the same time, buyers are guaranteed genuine, valid tickets to the event.”

FanSALE is one of a number of capped-price resale services offered by the major international ticketing companies, along with See Tickets’ Fan-to-Fan, AXS’s MarketplaceTicketmaster ticket exchange and Ticketek Marketplace.

 


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Viagogo fined for breaking Italian anti-touting law

An Italian court has rejected an appeal by Viagogo against a €3.7 million fine for hosting listings for tickets sold in contravention of Italian law.

The judgment, handed down by the regional administrative court (TAR) of Lazio (Latium) on 2 April, upholds a 2020 ruling in favour of the Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM), which brought legal action against the secondary ticketing site for listing tickets to 37 events at above face value between March and July 2019.

Ticket touting is effectively illegal in Italy under the country’s 2017 budget law, which states that tickets to entertainment events may only be sold by authorised retailers. Consumers are permitted to sell unwanted tickets only for a price equal to, or less than, their original face value.

The judges rejected Viagogo’s argument that it was acting merely as a “passive hosting provider” connecting resellers with potential buyers, which would exempt the resale platform from liability under Italian law. Instead, Viagogo was found to provide a range of services and promote and advertise tickets in a way that could not be considered to be carried out without any awareness or control on its part.

“The service provided by Viagogo […] does not have the characteristics of passive hosting,” the court concluded, “given that it clearly does not consist merely of the ‘storage of information’ but rather optimisation, advertising and promotion of the tickets on sale.”

“Uncapped secondary marketplaces … have long been shielding under the liability exemption offered by EU law”

“Nor has the appellant in any way substantiated the claim that such complex activities would be carried out by the platform in a completely automatic manner and without any awareness and/or possibility of control on its part,” adds the ruling.

Additionally, even if Viagogo had qualified as a ‘passive hosting provider’, it would still not have benefited from the liability exemption afforded by the law as it did not act quickly to remove or disable access to the listings once notified by authorities, according to the court.

The ruling follows similar decisions in both Italy (Mediaset v. Yahoo) and the European Court (L’Oréal v. eBay, Google v. Louis Vuitton) which have held websites responsible for the content ‘passively’ hosted on their platforms.

“Uncapped secondary marketplaces such as Viagogo have long been shielding under the liability exemption offered by EU law by claiming to have little to no knowledge of the activity taking place on their sites,” comments Sam Shemtob, director of the Face-Value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT).

“It is time that they’re held responsible for the illegal activity they promote and profit from, both in Italy and across Europe.”

 


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UK live industry states support for Covid certification

Live music, entertainment, exhibition, events and indoor sports associations and businesses have pledged their support for Covid-status certification as a means to fully reopen venues.

In an open letter, signatories including AEG Europe, the Entertainment Agents’ Association, Kilimanjaro Live, the Concert Promoters’ Association, Ticketmaster, ASM Global, the Association of Festival Organisers, NEC Group and umbrella body LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment) state they are willing to work with the British government to implement Covid-status certification – ie ensuring all attendees are free from Covid-19 – at venues in order to get the industry back on its feet safely.

The signatories note that while under the current ‘roadmap’ live shows may return from 17 May with social distancing, the limit of 50% capacity indoors is unviable for the vast majority of businesses, who require at least 80% capacity as the economic threshold for their events.

As an alternative to social distancing, they propose certification – not be confused with vaccine ‘passports’, the idea of which has proven controversial in the UK – that all eventgoers are either vaccinated against Covid-19; have natural immunity to the disease; or have had a negative test within a set period of time prior to arrival.

“The intention of Covid-status certification is to find a non-discriminatory solution that is safe, simple, protects privacy and doesn’t cause unnecessary delays”

“The intention of Covid-status certification,” they write, “is to find a non-discriminatory solution that is safe, simple, protects privacy and doesn’t cause unnecessary delays or a poor experience for visitors.”

The letter, which can be read in full below, is also signed by non-live music bodies including Plasa (the Professional Lighting and Sound Association), #WeMakeEvents, the Meetings Industry Association, the Event Supplier and Services Association, Badminton England and British Athletics.

The sectors represented say they would support a blanket industry-wide introduction of Covid-status certification on a temporary basis following the planned relaxation of all capacity limits from 21 June. “We would expect that any certification is imposed fairly across the economy, reviewed regularly and removed when it is safe to do so.”

While vaccine passports, such as Israel’s green pass, have enabled the resumption of live entertainment in some territories, they are controversial in the UK due to privacy concerns, as well as for perceived discrimination against the unvaccinated, with the opposition Labour party having taken a stand against their introduction.

 


The live events and music industry will work with the Government on COVID-status certification to support full reopening and sector recovery.

The live events and music industry which includes exhibitions; conferences; music arenas; festivals; theatres and indoor sporting events, welcomes the establishment of the Events Research Programme and the safe return of live events as part of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

The industry is committed to working with the Government to ensure a swift delivery of the Event Research Programme’s pilot events and stands ready to establish protocols based upon the information and guidance they provide.

Under the current roadmap, the live events and music industry can plan for the return of some indoor business and music events from 17 May. These will follow social distancing guidelines and have attendance capped to the lower of 1,000 people or 50% of capacity indoors, 4,000 or 50% capacity outdoors and 10,000 or 25% capacity if seated outdoors. However, given the economic threshold for most business and music events is around 80% of maximum capacity, activities under these limits will be far from sufficient to end the sector’s financial crisis. This will also continue to have grave economic impacts on sectors that every live event supports, including but not limited to, hospitality, production, transport and logistics.

The Government’s reviews announced in the roadmap (COVID-status certification, social distancing, and the Events Research Programme) will explore different access control measures that businesses could be legally required to introduce. One that continues to be hotly debated in the press is the introduction of COVID-status certification. Not to be confused with the term ‘vaccination passports’, the simple premise is to reduce the likelihood of people who may be infected from attending events and ensure the safety of other attendees and event staff. This would be managed by ensuring that all attendees are either vaccinated OR have natural immunity OR have a negative COVID test within a set period of time prior to arrival. COVID tests are now available free of charge to all UK adults. The intention of COVID-status certification is to find a non-discriminatory solution that is safe, simple, protects privacy and doesn’t cause unnecessary delays or a poor experience for visitors.

The industry welcomes that the Events Research Programme is considering whether COVID-certification can be used as an enabler of all event types to return to capacity audiences, without masks or social distancing. We would support a blanket, industry-wide introduction of COVID-status certification on a temporary basis, to permit the full relaxation of capacity limits from 21 June, Stage Four of the Government’s roadmap. Implementation would be subject to the provision of clear and timely guidance from the Government, it being simple to understand and be of little cost to businesses. We would expect that any certification is imposed fairly across the economy, reviewed regularly, and removed when it is safe to do so.  

The introduction of COVID-status certificates as a temporary measure could be a pragmatic solution that would enable events to resume at commercially viable attendance levels and will also give further confidence to customers that events are safe to attend.  

We recognise there are many issues to be addressed including how the technology would work, its viability for use at a range of different events and related data protection issues, for both the attendees and the organisers. The industry is committed to working at speed with the Government to help address these issues over the coming weeks as part of its considerations. It is essential that the industry has visibility and certainty as soon as possible on the form this government guidance will take so that it is able to plan effectively. This is particularly important given many major live music and business events are planned from late June and onwards and the sector typically requires a lead time of anywhere between three to six months to successfully stage large scale, organised meetings, events and performances.

The live events and music industry is confident that if the introduction of a robust COVID-status certification programme is recommended by the Government to enable the full reopening of capacity events, together with other calibrated, evidence-based mitigation measures, it would provide safe environments for all visitors, staff and audiences. The industry is more than capable of implementing additional health and safety practices; working with the Government, this can be done if all parties take a timely and transparent approach.

Live events are a part of our nation’s DNA, enriching our culture and commerce, boosting the economy by over £70 billion per year. It is time for their return. We look forward to working with the Government in resuming live events in a safe and sustainable manner and ensuring their role in contributing to both the economic success and cultural wealth of the UK returns.

Signed,

Exhibition and Conferences
Agribriefing
Rupert Levy, Group Finance Director
Harrogate Convention Centre
Paula Lorimer, Director
NEC Group
Paul Thandi CBE, Chief Executive Officer
Association of Event Organisers (AEO)
Chris Skeith, Chief Executive Officer
Hyve Group PLC
Mark Shashoua, Chief Executive Officer
Nineteen Group
Peter Jones, Chief Executive Officer
Association of Event Venues (AEV)
Rachel Parker, Director
Immediate Live
Paul Byrom, Managing Director
Olympia London
Nigel Nathan, Managing Director
Business Design Centre
Dominic Jones, Chief Executive Officer
Informa Markets
Mark Temple-Smith, Chief Operating Officer
P&J Live
Nick Waight, Managing Director
Clarion Events
Russell Wilcox, Chief Executive Officer
Manchester Central
Shaun Hinds, Chief Executive Officer
Reed Exhibitions UK
Anna Dycheva-Smirnova, Chief Executive Officer
CloserStill Media
Philip Soar, Executive Chairman
Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA)
James Selka, Chief Executive Officer
SEC
Peter Duthie, Chief Executive Officer
Events Industry Alliance (EIA)
Lou Kiwanuka, Chair
Media 10
Lee Newton, Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Tarsus Group PLC
Douglas Emslie, Chief Executive Officer
Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA)
Andrew Harrison, Director
Meetings Industry Association
Jane Longhurst, Chief Executive
William Reed
Andrew Reed, Managing Director, Events & Exhibitions
ExCeL London
Jeremy Rees, Chief Executive Officer
Montgomery
Damion Angus, Managing Director
Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre
Gareth Rogers, Chief Executive Officer
NCC Events
John Lally, Chief Executive Officer
Music, Ticketing, Theatre and Comedy
AEG Europe
John Langford, Chief Operating Officer
LIVE (Live Music Industry Venues and Entertainment)
Greg Parmley, Chief Executive Officer
Really Useful Group
Jessica Koravos, President
AEG Presents UK
Steve Homer, Co-CEO
Marshall Arts
Barrie Marshall MBE/ Doris Dixon, Chairman/Director
Royal Albert Hall
Lucy Noble, Artistic and Commercial Director
ASM UK
John Sharkey, Executive Vice President for Europe
On behalf of: AO Arena Manchester, Bonus Arena, First Direct Arena, P&J Live, The SSE Arena, Wembley, Utilita Arena Newcastle.
Mick Perrin Worldwide
Mick Perrin, Managing Director
See Tickets
Rob Wilmshurst, Chief Executive Officer
Association for Electronic Music
Greg Marshall, General Manager
Music Managers Forum
Annabella Coldrick, Chief Executive Officer
Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR)
Jonathan Brown, Chief Executive Officer
Association of Festival Organisers
Steve Heap, General Secretary
Music Venue Trust 
Mark Davyd, Chief Executive Officer
The Entertainment Agents Association 
Tarquin Shaw-Young, Chair
Association of Independent Festivals 
Paul Reed, Chief Operating Officer
National Arenas Association (NAA)
Lucy Noble, Chair
The O2
Steve Sayer, VP & General Manager
British Association of Concert Halls
Kevin Appleby, Chair
Nottingham Arena
Martin Ingham, Chief Executive Officer
The SSE Hydro
Debbie McWilliams, Director of Live Entertainment
Concert Promoters Association (CPA)
Phil Bowdery, Chair
Phil McIntyre Entertainment
Phil McIntyre/Paul Roberts,
Owner/MD
Ticketmaster UK
Andrew Parsons, Managing Director
Featured Artists Coalition
David Martin, General Manager
Production Services Association 
Dave Keighley, Chair
#WeMakeEvents
Duncan Bell, Steering Committee Lead
Kilimanjaro Live Group
Stuart Galbraith, CEO
Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA)
Peter Heath, Managing Director
Indoor Sports
Badminton England
Adrian Christy, Chief Executive Officer
Grandstand Group
Emma Wardell, Event Director
Queensberry Promotions
Frank Warren, Founder
British Athletics
Ryan Murphy, Commercial Director
Matchroom Sport
Eddie Hearn/ Frank Smith,
MD Matchroom Sport/CEO Matchroom Boxing
ESL UK
James Dean, Chief Executive Officer
PDC
Matthew Porter, Chief Executive Officer

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

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Chris Carey joins LIVE as chief economist

Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment (LIVE) has appointed Chris Carey to the role of chief economist, as the umbrella organisation expands with the formation of several specialist subcommittees.

Carey joins the LIVE team following stints as global insight director at EMI and Universal Music Group and senior economist at PRS for Music. With Tim Chambers, he co-authored Valuing Live Entertainment and UK Live Music: At a cliff edge, two key LIVE reports which underpinned consultations with the British government around support for the live sector. Carey will also retain his current position as head of international marketing at TicketSwap in Amsterdam.

“I’m very proud to be joining the LIVE team at this critical time,” says Carey. “I have always been passionate about the UK live music sector and about the people who work all hours to make gigs and festivals happen. As the live music industry moves from crisis to reopening, I’ll be working closely with members to make sure there is a strong analytical foundation to help underpin a speedy, sustainable recovery.”

LIVE, which launched officially in February, is a federation of 13 UK live music industry associations representing 3,150 businesses, over 4,000 artists and 2,000 backstage workers.

“I’ll be working … to make sure there is a strong analytical foundation to help underpin a speedy, sustainable recovery”

Its newly announced subcommittees include:

The fourth subcommittee, scheduled to launch next month, will focus on equality, diversity and inclusivity, and is convened by Jane Beese, head of music for the Manchester International Festival.

“We are living through an extraordinary period in history,” comments Beese. “The potential for reflection and creative thinking on how we live our lives and run our businesses is immense, so I’m really excited to take on this role overseeing the LIVE diversity, equality and inclusion group. I look forward to the changes we can bring about as an industry.”

 


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