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Ticketmaster grows presence in Mexico, Chile

Ticketmaster, the world’s largest ticketer, is expanding its presence in Latin America with new operations in Mexico and Chile.

The news comes shortly after Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation acquired Ocesa Entretenimiento, the third-largest promoter in the world and the parent company of Ticketmaster Mexico.

Under the new ownership structure, Ticketmaster Mexico will transition from a licensing agreement to integrating operations with the broader organisation.

According to Ticketmaster, the move will enable the Mexican business to gain access to the company’s full suite of technology, products and services.

“”Latin America is an incredibly important live entertainment market and a core focus of our global expansion efforts”

In Chile, where Ticketmaster will launch for the first time, the initial market focus will be on increasing digital ticketing use.

Chile and Mexico are the latest markets to be added to Ticketmaster’s Latin American portfolio, which already includes Argentina and Brazil.

The company has long had a foothold in Argentina, delivering ticketing services for several venues and festivals.

While in Brazil, the company focuses on supporting Live Nation’s Rock in Rio music festival and touring business, with plans to bring its digital ticketing technology to the market in 2022.

“Latin America is an incredibly important live entertainment market and a core focus of our global expansion efforts,” says Mark Yovich, Ticketmaster president. “The region has become an important destination for global touring artists, and we have also seen significant growth in venue and festival activity over the last several years.

“Bringing Mexico into the fold and launching in Chile is such a positive way to finish off the year. We look forward to working with our strong base of partners to elevate the fan experience and further our support of the region.”

 


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Live Nation completes Ocesa acquisition

Live Nation yesterday (6 December) announced the completion of its previously announced acquisition of Ocesa Entretenimiento, the third-largest promoter in the world and the parent company of Ticketmaster Mexico.

The US$444 million deal gives the world’s largest live entertainment company, Live Nation, a 51% stake in one of its largest competitors, which dominates the Latin American market.

The deal comprises a 40% stake in Ocesa, which Live Nation acquired from Grupo Televisa, and an 11% share from Corporacion Interamericana de Entretenimiento’s (CIE).

Live Nation will hold back 7% of the closing price to cover any potential operating losses for several quarters.

The entertainment giant originally agreed to buy 51% of Ocesa for over $400m in summer 2019 but pulled out of the deal in May last year, before resuming the acquisition in September.

“As we continue to bring shows back around the world, we’re excited to officially welcome Ocesa into Live Nation,” says Michael Rapino, president and CEO, Live Nation Entertainment.

“As we continue to bring shows back around the world, we’re excited to officially welcome Ocesa into Live Nation”

“Alex and the Ocesa team are incredible at what they do and together we look forward to creating even more amazing live experiences across Mexico and Latin America.”

Alejandro Soberón Kuri, chairman of the board and COO of CIE, added: “This strategic agreement extends the already successful relationship we have with Live Nation and we are very proud to take it to the next level.

“We are very excited to finally join forces with Michael and his team. Together with the world leader, we will continue to add value and growth to the business, bringing the best entertainment to Mexico and Latin America.”

Soberón Kuri will serve as CEO and sit on the board of the newly-formed joint venture. Rapino will become chairman of the venture’s board of directors.

Ocesa promotes more than 3,100 events for nearly six million fans annually across Mexico and Colombia and has a robust business portfolio in ticketing, sponsorship, food & beverage, merchandise, and venue operation – including 13 premier venues across Mexico with a collective capacity of nearly 250,000 seats.

Ocesa’s primary ticketing business, Ticketmaster Mexico, is a leading ticket company in Mexico.

 


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Epic Games buys Guitar Hero creator to work on Fortnite

Epic Games has acquired Rock Band and Guitar Hero creator Harmonix “to create musical journeys and gameplay for Fortnite.

The acquisition, details of which were not disclosed, was announced yesterday (24 November) in a blog post on the Harmonix website, which read:

“Over the last 26 years, we have pushed ourselves to redefine how people experience and interact with music. From the earliest days of The Axe to Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Dance Central, our VR titles, Fuser, and everything in between, we have aspired to redefine what a music game can be.

“Now, we’ll be working with Epic to once again challenge expectations as we bring our unique brand of musical gaming experiences to the Metaverse, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

Epic – which is backed by Sony Corp and carries a US$28 billion+ valuation – says that, as it works “to build the metaverse”, the Harmonix team’s “expertise is needed to reimagine how music is experienced, created and distributed”.

“Together we will transform how players experience music, going from passive listeners to active participants”

Music has become an increasing focus for Epic, following the success of virtual concerts inside of Fortnite from the likes of Travis ScottAriana Grande, MarshmelloTravis Scott, Steve Aoki, Deadmau5, Easy Life and J. Balvin. According to the company, acquiring Harmonix fits into that musical focus.

“Music is already bringing millions of people together in Fortnite, from our emotes to global concerts and events,” Alain Tascan, Epic’s VP of game development, said in a statement. “Together with the Harmonix team, we will transform how players experience music, going from passive listeners to active participants.”

Boston-based Harmonix was founded in 1995 by Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy and was bought by Viacom/MTV in 2006 for US$175 million.

Four years later, Viacom sold Harmonix to Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Columbus Nova, LLC.

In 2007, Harmonix launched the Rockband franchise which exceeded a billion dollars in revenues by 2009 and secured a major coup with the development and release of The Beatles: Rock Band game, described by The New York Times at the time as “the most important video game yet made”.

 


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BMG aligns with Germany’s Taubertal Festival

BMG and its live partner Undercover have formed a strategic alliance with Volker Hirsch, founder of Germany’s Taubertal Festival.

The deal, which will see BMG acquire a majority stake in Taubertal organiser KARO Konzert-Agentur Rothenburg, marks the latest phase of the label and publisher’s live expansion, adding festivals to its existing touring, booking and concerts offering.

Founded in Tauber Valley in 1996, Taubertal has featured acts including Placebo, Rise Against, Pink, Die Toten Hosen, The National and Skunk Anansie. Its 25th-anniversary edition, scheduled for 12-14 August 2022, will welcome the likes of Biffy Clyro, Kontra K, AnnenMayKantereit and Kraftklub.

KARO, Undercover and BMG will work together to create “compelling, tailor-made music marketing and sponsorship solutions for the festival”, with the goal of further strengthening the brand internationally.

“After 25 very successful years, I am looking forward to a new chapter,” says KARO Konzert-Agentur Rothenburg CEO Hirsch, who will retain full creative freedom and continue to head the festival.

I am excited to be able to build up the festival headliners of the future together with BMG

Hirsch adds: “I see the partnership with BMG as a valuable support in underpinning the position of Taubertal-Festival as a top national festival brand and in bringing the media activation of the festival to a top international level.

“I am excited to be able to build up the festival headliners of the future together with BMG and to be part of BMG‘s live entertainment offering started together with Undercover.”

Berlin-based BMG partnered with German promoter Undercover in 2020. 

Michael Schacke, CEO of Undercover and head of BMG’s live activities in GSA, says: “One year after Undercover joined BMG, we can now close the festival gap in our live portfolio and thus further expand our joint vision of live entertainment and artist partnership.

“In Volker’s and my first conversation about moving closer together it immediately became clear: The values of KARO, BMG and Undercover including fairness and transparency fit together incredibly well. My team and I are really looking forward to working together.”

Dominique Casimir, BMG EVP global repertoire & marketing EU, APAC & LATAM, adds: “Moving into live music demonstrates BMG’s commitment to offer artists the entire creative value chain, giving us the opportunity to serve them in every area of their careers depending on their individual setup. Expanding these services to all relevant stakeholders in the live music and entertainment market is the next big step.”

 


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DEAG acquires Fane Productions via Kilimanjaro

Germany’s DEAG (Deutsche Entertainment AG) has announced the acquisition of literary events production company Fane Productions via its subsidiary Kilimanjaro.

Through the acquisition, DEAG is “successfully expanding its business activities in the UK, the company’s most important secondary market,” according to a statement from the Berlin-based live entertainment group company.

In the UK market, DEAG has already acquired a majority stake in UK Live in June 2021, as well as a majority stake in UK ticketing vendor Gigantic Holdings in December 2019.

This follows the company’s acquisition of promoter The Flying Music Group in 2017 and Belladrum Festival in Scotland in 2018.

Meanwhile, Kilimanjaro acquired a stake in Collective Form in early 2021, and launched Irish promoter Singular Artists in 2020 along with DEAG.

Founded in 2017, Fane Productions has hosted sold-out live events for talent including Margaret Atwood, Malala Yousafzai and Grayson Perry. In 2020, Fane launched an online arm that has “revolutionised” the way virtual book events are delivered. The company has offices in the UK and Australia.

“After a year of exponential growth and our busiest autumn ever, it’s the perfect time to join forces”

Stuart Galbraith, CEO at Kilimanjaro Live, says: “Having known Alex for several years we are pleased to welcome Fane Productions into the Kili Group. We look forward to working with Alex for many years to come and expanding and growing the Fane family both in the UK and internationally.”

Alex Fane, MD at Fane Productions, adds: “I’m delighted to be partnering with DEAG and Kilimanjaro Live as we look to our next steps as a company. After a year of exponential growth and our busiest autumn ever, it’s the perfect time to join forces with an industry leader who understands our business and can offer us the expertise and investment we need to expand our offer within the UK and beyond.”

Jonny Geller, CEO of The Curtis Brown Group, comments: “We were all excited at Curtis Brown to launch Fane Productions into the world of literary and live events back in 2017 and many of our clients have worked happily with their team over the years. We are proud to have seen Fane grow over the years and are delighted that they have found a new home in Kilimanjaro and we wish them many more years of spreading the joy of reading throughout the country.”

Earlier this year, DEAG raised another €6 million to fund acquisitions, and says it recently enlisted the services of a “renowned American investment bank” to identify new opportunities outside its “core markets of Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Ireland and Denmark”.

 


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CTS Eventim acquires majority stake in Simply-X

CTS Eventim has strengthened its position in the access control market with the acquisition of software and hardware developer Simply-X.

Drawing on over 20 years of experience, Simply-X is one of the leading providers of event management products in Germany.

Its portfolio encompasses control, payment, ordering and customer loyalty solutions, together with the accompanying hardware such as scanning pedestals and turnstiles.

High-profile venues such as the Hockenheimring, the Olympic stadium in Berlin, and Frankfurt’s Deutsche Bank Park stadium are among those currently using Simply-X solutions.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer our customers a one-stop shop for event organisation”

Simply-X enhances CTS Eventim’s existing offering in the access control segment, Eventim.Access.

Alexander Ruoff, COO of CTS Eventim, says: “We are thrilled to be able to offer our customers a one-stop shop for event organisation that is now even more comprehensive than before. What’s more, we have extended our value chain once again.”

Matthias Bode, CEO of Simply-X, added: “We are proud to be able to continue growing with CTS Eventim at our side. A great many customers are already successfully using our solutions together with those of CTS Eventim and these systems will be even easier to combine in future. At the same time, Simply-X will be retaining its independence so that it can continue helping other partners with their digitalisation journeys.”

News of the acquisition comes days after Eventim announced the launch of Eventim.Pass, its proprietary digital ticket, which was used for the first time for Ed Sheeran’s upcoming European tour.

 


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Deezer takes minority stake in Driift

Paris-based global streaming company Deezer has acquired a minority stake in UK-based livestreaming company Driift.

Driift says that the new funding will help it accelerate its growth, while Deezer plans to leverage its technology and expertise to support the livestreaming platform’s future growth, including the roll-out of new products and offerings.

The announcement follows Deezer’s strategic investment in Dreamstage – a US-based live music streaming startup – and the launch of its new live brand, Deezer Live.

Driift was founded in August 2020 and has since sold more than 600,000 tickets for live-streamed gigs with acts including Nick Cave, Niall Horan, Kylie Minogue, Biffy Clyro, Andrea Bocelli, Laura Marling, Dermot Kennedy, Courtney Barnett and Sheryl Crow.

Its previous partners include the UK’s Glastonbury Festival where the company conceptualised, created and produced the ‘Live At Worthy Farm’ event, which featured artists including Coldplay, Haim, Jorja Smith, Idles, Wolf Alice, Michael Kiwanuka, Damon Albarn and The Smile.

The business was co-founded by Ric Salmon and Brian Message and the executive team also includes COO Claire Mas and head of production Sasha Duncan.

“Live streaming is a rapidly growing industry that is redefining how fans engage with their favourite music”

The company is majority-owned by co-founders ATC Management, with Beggars Group a minority shareholder.

The company is headquartered in the UK, with additional operations in New York and Perth in Australia.

Deezer’s CEO, Jeronimo Folgueira, says: “Livestreaming is a rapidly growing industry that is redefining how fans engage with their favourite music. Companies like Driift help artists reach people all over the world to generate new revenue streams. Deezer has been a music industry innovator since the very beginning.

“Our investment in Driift is the next step in our expansion in this exciting and fast-growing space. It also follows our strategic investment in the live streaming platform Dreamstage in May this year. I look forward to working with Ric and Driift’s management team.”

Ric Salmon, CEO of Driift, says: “We are delighted to have received investment from a global player such as Deezer. The investment highlights the value of Driift’s offering and confirms that live streaming will be a major new component of the music industry going forwards.

“What Driift has achieved artistically and commercially under lockdown conditions has really only scratched the surface. I believe that with Deezer, alongside our existing shareholders Beggars Group and ATC, we have the perfect partners to help us capitalise on new opportunities as the long-term potential of live streaming becomes more and more apparent.”

 


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Superstruct buys into Finnish metal festival Tuska

Superstruct Entertainment has signed an ‘investment and partnership agreement’ with Finnish Metal Events Oy, organiser of Tuska Open Air Metal Festival.

Launched in 1988, Tuska (Finnish for “pain”) takes place annually in Helsinki across three days and is one of the largest metal festivals in the Nordic countries.

In 2019, the festival set a new attendance record, welcoming 43,000 visitors over the course of the event.

The deal will see Providence Equity-backed Superstruct become a key shareholder of the Tuska festival. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“This is the next step for Tuska,” says festival director Eeka Mäkynen. “Focusing on boutique festivals, Superstruct will provide us with more muscles for development and more rivets in our belt.

“Superstruct will provide us with more muscles for development and more rivets in our belt”

“All shareholders and key personnel will continue to be involved, and the organisation will continue to run the festival independently. The mosh pit will keep spinning, only faster – in other words, the festival will remain its own unique rough self, as it has been until now.”

Jouni Markkanen, who has been the head promoter of the Tuska Festival since 1999, adds: “We had been thinking about expanding our ownership base for a long time. Now the pieces all fell into place and the time was right.

“We believe that the festival business will intensify after the corona crisis. International connections have always been close to our hearts when booking bands. The arrival of Superstruct opens up more opportunities to create even better programmes and festivals for Tuska’s loyal customers, our tribe.”

Superstruct’s portfolio includes more than 30 European festivals including Sziget, Elrow, Parookaville, Wacken Open Air, Boardmasters, Sonar, Zwarte Cross and Finnish event, Flow Festival.

The live entertainment powerhouse recently signed a partnership agreement with Dutch promoter ID&T which produces Mysteryland, Defqon.1, Awakenings, and Milkshake.

 


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CAA to acquire ICM Partners in historic deal

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and ICM Partners are joining forces in a landmark agency merger that will “drive broader and more inclusive representation” for their clients.

The deal, if approved, will bring together two of the leading global agencies in entertainment and sports. The agency landscape would then consist of what US outlets are calling ‘the big three’ – CAA, WME, UTA – alongside Wasserman, which is also a major player in the US. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The agreement, announced today (27 September), is said to be the largest talent agency transaction since WME acquired IMG in 2014 and since Endeavor joined forces with William Morris Agency in 2009, which forged the contemporary WME.

“Today’s storytellers, athletes, thought-leaders, and trend-setters who can move, inspire, and attract large, global audiences have an unprecedented opportunity and ability to achieve their goals and aspirations,” says CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, and Richard Lovett.

“The strategic combination bolsters our collective resources, expertise, and relationships to deliver more opportunities”

“The strategic combination of CAA and ICM bolsters our collective resources, expertise, and relationships to deliver even more opportunities for our world-class clients to build their careers and their brands across multiple disciplines and platforms in an evolving marketplace.

“Our strong financial position enables us to continue to expand and diversify our businesses, with service and representation remaining central to what we do and who we are. We’re fortunate to have a partner in ICM who shares our commitment to the widest and most inclusive vision possible for what our clients and company can accomplish together.”

ICM’s Chris Silbermann, who will join CAA’s shareholder board, added: “We’re thrilled to partner and combine forces with the talented CAA team. Together, we will build upon our accomplishments and entrepreneurial spirit, and continue to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the best interests of our clients, as well as empowering new, diverse voices within the industry.”

ICM brings to CAA a global roster of artists in film, television, music, comedy, theatre, games, politics, and podcasting.

“[CAA’s] strong financial position enables us to continue to expand and diversify our businesses”

ICM’s music clients include Chaka Khan, Buddy Guy, Chris Rock, Corinne Bailey Rae, D’Angelo, Dan Auerbach, Good Charlotte, J. Cole, Jerry Seinfeld, Jill Scott, Kamasi Washington, Khalid, Lisa Loeb, Los Lonely Boys, Mavis Staples, Migos, Puddles Pity Party, Roger Daltrey, Rosanne Cash, Scott Stapp, Sheila E, The Black Keys, Tower of Power, Trey Songz and more.

Last year, ICM joined forces with Primary Talent International, one of London’s last major independent booking agencies.

Primary Talent is home to more than 900 music clients, including the likes of Stormzy, the 1975, alt-J, Noel Gallagher, Patti Smith, the Cure, Pussycat Dolls, Two Door Cinema Club, Dave, Lana Del Rey and Catfish and the Bottlemen.

CAA is a leading entertainment, media, and sports enterprise, with expertise in motion pictures, television, music, sports, theater, digital media, publishing, endorsements, media finance, consumer investing, fashion, podcasting, speaking, games, and philanthropy.

CAA was the first entertainment talent agency to build a sports business, create an investment bank, launch a venture fund, found technology start-up companies, and establish a business in China (CAA China), among other industry innovations.

“Together, we will build upon our accomplishments and entrepreneurial spirit”

A subsidiary of CAA, Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG) is a leader in corporate entertainment and travel, with more than 40,000 clients and 60 million users.

Founded in 1975, CAA is headquartered in Los Angeles, and has a significant presence in New York, Nashville, London, Beijing, and Shanghai, as well as offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Geneva, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami, Munich, Orlando, Stockholm, and Toronto, among other locations globally.

Originally founded in 1975 as International Creative Management, then rebranded as ICM Partners in 2012, ICM has the expertise and influence of a legacy agency, and an entrepreneurial innovative spirit dedicated to serving its clients across the globe with passion and distinction.

ICM has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, and London, and strategic partnerships in Europe, Asia, and beyond.

 


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Superstruct expands in the Dutch festival market

Live powerhouse Superstruct Entertainment has acquired a stake in Amsterdam-based Festival Travel.

Specialising in festival holidays, Festival Travel has organised travel arrangements for international visitors to events such as Exit in Serbia and Hungary’s Sziget and Balaton Sound over the past decade.

Providence Equity-backed Superstruct produces a number of major European festivals including Sziget, Elrow, Parookaville, Wacken Open Air, Boardmasters, Sonar and the Dutch festival Zwarte Cross.

“It is very valuable to gain the trust of a company of this size”

“It is very valuable to gain the trust of a company of this size,” says Festival Travel co-owner Ruud Bongaerts. “The customer experience is always central to our way of acting and with that, we create unique festival summers for tens of thousands of young people every year.

“The past summers were of course very difficult for us, with everything that resulted from the corona pandemic, but this new chapter gives us a lot of confidence in the future.”

The parties released no further details on the deal, which was reported by Netherlands-based publication Entertainment Business and comes a week after Superstruct signed a partnership agreement with Dutch promoter ID&T.

 


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