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UK grassroots music venues saved by emergency grants

Iconic London venues The Troubadour and The Clapham Grand are among the 135 at-risk grassroots music venues across England that have been saved by the £3.36 million Emergency Grassroot Music Venues Fund.

The fund, which was announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and forms part of the UK government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, was topped up by an addition £1.1m from the original £2.25m pot to help as many venues as possible.

The Arts Council England has now awarded the grants of up to £80,000 to help some of the country’s most vulnerable venues cover on-going running costs incurred during closure, including rent and utilities.

Emergency grants of the maximum amount have been awarded to venues including The Troubador (cap. 136), where Adele and Ed Sheeran performed in the early days of their career, and The Clapham Grand (cap. 1,250), where the UK recently held its first socially distanced show since the coronavirus lockdown in March.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, says: “This government is here for culture and these grants today show we are determined to help our exceptional music industry weather the Covid storm and come back stronger.

“This fund will ensure these music venues survive to create the Adeles and Ed Sheerans of the future”

“Grassroots music venues are where the magic starts and these emergency grants from our £1.57 billion fund will ensure these music venues survive to create the Adeles and Ed Sheerans of the future.

“I encourage music fans to help too by supporting music and cultural events as they start to get going again.  We need a collective effort to help the things we love through Covid.”

Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust, says: “We warmly welcome this first distribution from the Culture Recovery Fund which will ensure that the short term future of these venues is secured while we continue to work on how we can ensure their long term sustainability.”

“Both DCMS and Arts Council England have worked very quickly to fully understand the imminent risk of permanent closure faced by a significant number of grassroots music venues across the country, and the funding they’ve brought forward creates a real breathing space for under pressure venues.”

Elswhere in the country, the recently saved Manchester venues, Deaf Institute and Gorilla have been granted £15,000 and £31,000 respectively. The full list of recipients can be viewed here.


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‘There’s a shortcut now’: Dickinses talk artist development

Barry Dickins, the co-founder of ITB, his son Jonathan, founder of September Management, and daughter Lucy, head of UK music at WME, came together to share their industry expertise – as well as a few family anecdotes – in a keynote interview with ILMC MD Greg Parmley at Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) on Thursday (16 January).

With over 100 years of industry experience between them, the trio reflected on the most significant changes to have taken place in the business in recent years.

Social media is the best way to make new acts visible nowadays, said Barry, who founded ITB along with Rod MacSween in 1978, adding that the touring circuit for emerging acts is “not the same” as it used to be.

Jonathan, who manages artists including Adele, Jamie T, London Grammar and Rex Orange County, agreed, saying that most people are finding their music online nowadays, rather than at live shows. The disappearance of a small club circuit, said Jonathan, means that “we often come across artists that are fully formed on the recording side but completely and utterly undeveloped on the live side.”

“For all its benefits,” he continued, “technology has made people lazier. It’s like there’s a shortcut to being popular now.”

“We often come across artists that are fully formed on the recording side but completely and utterly undeveloped on the live side”

The data-driven nature of artist discovery can also be a problem for the industry. “We have to be careful to not always give people exactly what they want,” said Jonathan. “The true phenomenon comes from giving people what they don’t know they want yet.”

Adele, who Jonathan and Lucy discovered and started working with at the same time, yet independently of each other, is an example of this “true phenomenon”. Lucy cited the success of artists including Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith as a result of Adele’s opening the door for a less conventional model of pop star.

“We are risking getting a more generic type of artist if everything is based on data,” concluded Jonathan.

If not based on data, how do you spot if an artist is going to be a hit, asked Parmley. “You can’t,” said Lucy, whose roster includes Mumford and Sons, Hot Chip and Mabel, in addition to Adele. “It has a lot to do with gut feeling – if it’s something I truly love, I want to work with it.” In the case of Adele, though, it was special. “It is very rare that something like that comes your way,” said Lucy. “She [Adele] blew me away song after song.”

The advent of technology has, however, also brought a lot of advantages to the business, said Lucy, who picked up agent of the year at the European Festival Awards on Wednesday. She cited the diversification of artists that are discovered nowadays, with many non-English-speaking acts breaking through. “It’s great there’s so much more diversity now,” said Lucy. “I’m so excited by how many new types of music are out there.”

“It’s great there’s so much more diversity now. I’m so excited by how many new types of music are out there”

Jonathan agreed that it is good to see things “break from beyond these borders”. “We will see genuine African superstars this year,” he stated. In particular, the September Management CEO believes there is a lot of “super-creative” work currently being done in hip hop, and that drill music will “be the rap music to unify the genre and stop hyper-local stuff”.

With so many new kinds of music coming from all over the world, Barry emphasised the importance of keeping a young team around to ensure enduring relevance. “I want to see development within ITB and see the company get some great new young people,” he said.

Artist management has also changed over the years, said Jonathan. Deals are way more transparent and flexible, there’s an easier route to market than ever before and a lot more choice of artists, he said, but “it’s still all about working with the artists you believe in and taking a long-term approach”.

“I’ve always played it long,” he said, explaining that he works with artists that he believes will have a long career, rather than taking “quick money”.

“It’s not a race – it all depends where you end up.”

 


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The decade in live: 2017

The start of a new year and, perhaps more significantly, a new decade is fast approaching – and while many may be thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve plans and well-meaning 2020 resolutions, IQ is casting its mind back to the most pivotal industry moments of the last ten years.

The memories of a turbulent 2016 were left far behind in 2017, as the concert business enjoyed a record-breaking twelve months, as the year’s gross revenue and number of tickets sold saw 2013 finally knocked off the top spot.

The success of the live business in 2017, however, was somewhat overshadowed by a number of devastating terror attacks, with the Manchester Arena bombing, the shootings at Route 91 Harvest and BPM Festival, the Reina nightclub shooting and other incidents targeting music fans.

In response to the tragedies, the live industry united and made a positive impact, in the form of the One Love Manchester and We are Manchester charity concerts and candlelit vigils and fundraising for victims of the Route 91 Harvest attack.

Elsewhere, the booking agency world continued to consolidate through 2017, with a number of acquisitions, mergers and partnerships while Live Nation welcomed several more promoters, festivals, ticketing agencies and venues to its fast-growing family.

 


2017 in numbers

The live music business reached new heights in 2017, with the top 100 tours worldwide generating a record US$5.65 billion, up almost 16% from the previous year.

The number of tickets sold throughout the year also saw a notable increase from the year before, climbing 10.4% to 66.8 million, at an average price of almost $4 more per ticket than in 2016, at $84.60.

Eleven tours surpassed the $100m mark in 2017, with U2 topping the year-end charts having generated $316m on their Joshua Tree tour. Guns N’ Roses narrowly missed out on $300m, grossing $292.5m on the Not in this Lifetime tour.

Coldplay came in next, as the band’s A Head Full of Dreams tour made $238m. Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic tour was also successful, grossing just over $200m, whereas Metallica’s WorldWired tour generated $152.8m.

Depeche Mode, Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks and Celine Dion were the other acts whose 2017 tour earnings exceeded $100m.

 


2017 in brief

January
A lone gunman attacks New Year’s revellers at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, resulting in the death of 39 people and injuries to a further 70. Two weeks later, four are killed and 12 injured during a shooting at the BPM Festival in the coastal resort of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

AM Only and The Windish Agency rebrand as Paradigm Talent Agency, signalling the next phase of their joint ventures, launched in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

Global asset management firm Providence Equity Partners acquires a 70% stake in Sziget Festival and reveals plans to launch eight to ten branded festivals, with James Barton, former president of electronic music for Live Nation, leading the international expansion.

AEG Live finalises negotiations to acquire New York-based promoter/venue operator The Bowery Presents.

February
Ticketbis, the multinational resale operation acquired by eBay in May 2016, is rebranded as StubHub, bringing to an end the Ticketbis name across Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Live Nation enters the Middle East’s biggest touring market with the acquisition of a majority stake in Bluestone Entertainment, one of Israel’s leading promoters.

March
Iron Maiden’s decision to use paperless tickets on the UK leg of The Book of Souls arena tour helps reduce the number of tickets appearing on secondary sites by more than 95%, according to promoter Live Nation.

Live Nation acquires a controlling stake in the UK’s Isle of Wight Festival.

The Australian leg of Adele’s Live 2017 tour makes concert history after playing to more than 600,000 people over eight stadium dates.

The decade in live: 2017

Sziget Festival 2017 © László Mudra/Rockstar Photographers

April
In the biggest primary deal so far for the world’s largest secondary ticketing site, StubHub is named the official ticket seller for Rock in Rio 2017.

Creative Artists Agency increases its investment in the Chinese market via a new alliance with private equity firm CMC Capital Partners.

May
Luxury Ja Rule-backed boutique event, Fyre Festival, descends into chaos on its first day, with visitors to the Bahamas site comparing conditions to a refugee camp.

22 people, including children, lose their lives after a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, for which Islamic State terror claims responsibility. The attack targets people leaving the 21,000-cap. venue at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

June
Pandora Media announces the sale of Ticketfly to Eventbrite. Despite purchasing the company for $450m less than two years ago, it sells for a package worth $200m.

AEG invests in Immortals, one of the world’s leading esports teams, with professional players in the North American League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Super Smash Bros, Overwatch and Vainglory leagues. The team will now play their Los Angeles tournaments and matches at AEG’s LA Live entertainment district.

The organisers of ILMC announce the launch of the Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S), a one-day meeting focusing on security at live events.

The decade in live: 2017

The reality of Fyre Festival © Here_Comes_the_Kingz/Reddit

July
Helsinki-based Fullsteam Agency acquires Rähinä Live, whose roster includes some of Finland’s biggest hip-hop and pop artists.

Oak View Group, which counts Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke among its founders, completes its acquisition of Pollstar, adding the US-based concert business magazine to its portfolio of trade titles.

August
Madison Square Garden Company makes a significant move into the esports sector by acquiring a controlling stake in Counter Logic Gaming.

Paradigm Talent Agency acquires Chicago- and California-based agency Monterey International, including its 14 agents and 200 acts.

Live Nation launches in Brazil with former Time for Fun (T4F) chief entertainment officer Alexandre Faria Fernandes at the helm.

September
Three quarters of staff at Function(x), the online business founded by former SFX Entertainment CEO Robert Sillerman, are effectively laid off, with the company telling investors it lacks the funds to pay them.

A sovereign wealth fund controlled by the government of Saudi Arabia, says it is forming a new SR10 billion ($2.7bn) investment vehicle in a bid to kick-start the kingdom’s entertainment sector.

Music returns to Manchester Arena as a capacity crowd turn out for We are Manchester, a benefit concert that raises funds for a memorial to the victims of the 22nd of May bombing.

The decade in live: 2017

The We are Manchester charity concert drew a full-capacity crowd at the 21,000-cap. arena © Showsec

October
A gunman kills 58 people and injures a further 546 at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas. Local resident Stephen Paddock targeted the concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel.

WME-IMG rebrands as Endeavor, with company assets that include martial- arts promoter, UFC; ad agency, Droga5; Professional Bull Riders; the Miss Universe Organization; Frieze Art Fair; management companies, Dixon Talent and The Wall Group; and joint ventures such as Euroleague Basketball and esports championship ELEAGUE.

November
Ticketmaster confirms its long-rumoured expansion into Italy. The launch of Ticketmaster Italia, headquartered in Milan, follows the end of the exclusive long-term online partnership in Italy between Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, and CTS Eventim-owned TicketOne.

After 11 years in East London’s Victoria Park – now exclusive to AEG – Eat Your Own Ears’ Field Day Festival will head to Brockwell Park in South London. Live Nation’s Lovebox and Citadel are also rumoured to be moving to Brockwell Park.

Secondary ticketing websites will, from January 2018, be subject to stringent restrictions on their use of Google AdWords, as the search-engine giant cracks down on ticket resellers’ controversial use of its online advertising platform.

December
Leading self-service ticketer Eventbrite announces a series of new partnerships, rolling out integrations with events guide The List, festival package provider Festicket, word-of-mouth ticket sales platform Verve, and brand ambassador software Ticketrunner.

Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation Entertainment since 2010, will remain in his role until at least 2022 after signing a new five-year contract worth up to $9m per annum. Also re-upping are leading execs Kathy Willard, Michael Rowles and Joe Berchtold.


The decade in live: 2017

Primary Talent’s Dave Chumbley (1960-2017) picks up his Platinum Endurance Arthur Award at ILMC 25 © ILMC

 

Who we lost

Peter Rieger, founder of German promoter Peter Rieger Konzertagentur (PRK); Joseph Rascoff, business manager to the Stones, David Bowie, U2, Sting and more; ILMC’s long-time producer Alia Dann Swift; ShowSec International Ltd founder Mick Upton; Dave Chumbley, Primary Talent International director; Mary Cleary, former booker and tour manager; American singer-songwriter Tom Petty; pioneering concert promoter Shmuel Zemach, founder of Zemach Promotions; Australian country music promoter, agent and artist, Rob Potts; Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington; Reading festival founder Harold Pendelton; Washington, DC, promoter Jack Boyle; Live Nation Belgium booker Marianne Dekimpe; rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry.

 


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The decade in live: 2011

The start of a new year and, perhaps more significantly, a new decade is fast approaching – and while many may be thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve plans and well-meaning 2020 resolutions, IQ is casting its mind back to the most pivotal industry moments of the last ten years.

Following on from the 2010 synopsis, IQ looks to 2011, a year in which rising unemployment and astronomical national debts continued to take its toll on spending habits. The live industry experienced a slower period, indicating signs of maturity after years of fast growth.

Extreme weather led to festival cancellations and, tragically, the loss of lives at Pukkelpop and Indiana State Fair. Festival attendance, however, stayed strong, with festival bosses commenting that the demand for festivals was definitely still there.

2011 also saw U2 take the crown for the most successful concert tour in history, dethroning the Rolling Stones with their mammoth 360° tour. The Irish rockers were on course to retain the record into the new decade, too, before Ed Sheeran came along.

 


2011 in numbers

Worldwide, the top 50 tours grossed US$3.07 billion in 2011, up from $2.9bn the previous year.

According to Pollstar, U2 were the most successful band of 2011. A back injury sustained by Bono in 2010 saw many dates on the 360° tour postponed to the following year, with the band selling 2.4 million tickets over the year – at an average price of $97 each.

The stadium tour, which typically drew crowds of almost 92,000 per show, grossed $231.9m in 2011, adding to the $133.6m earned on the 2010 leg.

Other major tours of 2011 included Take That’s reunion tour with Robbie Williams ($224m), the Bon Jovi Live tour ($148.8), Taylor Swift’s Speak Now tour ($104.2m) and Roger Waters’ The Wall Live tour ($103.6m).

 


2011 in brief

January
AEG opens the 52,000-cap. Türk Telekom Arena in Istanbul, later winning the contract to manage the 12,500-cap. Ülker Arena in the same city.

Serbia’s Exit Festival ends its business relationship with Charmenko agency and begins booking international artists directly.

February
Ticketmaster buys Spanish ticketing company ServiCaixa, allowing it to sell tickets through over 8,000 ATMs owned by financial services company and bank La Caixa.

Live Nation takes full control of Front Line Management, with its founder Irving Azoff becoming chairman of the Live Nation board, taking over from Liberty Media’s John Malone.

March
Nelly Furtado announces she is giving the $1m fess she was paid for performing in front of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi in 2007 to charity. Beyoncé follows suit.

President of Madison Square Garden Jay Marciano moves to London to take up a new role as CEO of AEG Europe.

The decade in live: 2011

Irving Azoff took over as Live Nation chairman in 2011 (© Full Stop Management)

April
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) figures show that global music sales fell $1.4bn in 2010, with the UK market dropping 11%, the US dropping 10% and Japan dropping 8.3%.

U2’s 360° tour becomes the highest-grossing tour of all time, beating the Rolling Stones’ Bigger Bang tour record of $554m. 360° is set to gross over $700m by the time it ends.

May
US ticketing company Eventbrite, which integrates social media and mobile, announces a $50m influx of venture-capital finance.

Gil Scott-Heron dies in New York at the age of 62.

June
German festival promoter Folkert Koopmans announces his second Swedish festival in Norrköping, the 50,000-cap. Bråvalla Festival, following the January acquisition of Hultsfred Festival.

Bloomberg reports that AEG plans to refinance the O2 Arena in London with a £150m ($240m) loan and equity injection.

The decade in live: 2011

U2’s record-breaking 360° tour (resized) © Kristian Strøbech/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

July
Promoter Vince Power raises £6.5m ($10.4m) by floating his company, Music Festivals, on London’s Alternative Investment Market exchange.

SMG secures a management contract for Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile, its first in South America.

August
AEG launches its new ticketing system, AXS, in several Denver and San Francisco theatres. The system includes a mobile app and social media integration.

Belgium’s Pukkelpop creates a private foundation to support the victims of the storm that claimed five lives at the festival on 19 August.

September
Global entertainment giant Vivendi buys UK number two ticketer See Tickets for a sum thought to be around £80m ($128m).

eBay announces it will launch secondary resale platform StubHub in the UK, the first market it will have operated in outside of the US.

The decade in live: 2011

Santiago’s Movistar Arena (© Movistar Arena)

October
German powerhouse FKP Scorpio continues its buying spree by taking a majority stake in Sweden’s Getaway Festival.

2011’s biggest-selling artist, Adele, undergoes throat surgery to repair damaged vocal chords, forcing her to cancel all remaining tour dates and promotional appearance for the year.

November
Bankers Citigroup agree to sell EMI Music to Universal Music Group for $1.9bn, while EMI Music Publishing will become part of Sony ATV in a $2.2bn deal.

Michael Jackson’s physician, Dr Conrad Murray, is found guilty of manslaughter.

December

Live Nation emerges victorious in the saga for the rights to run the new €134m 15,000-capacity arena in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Seatwave chief Joe Cohen denies speculation the ticket resale company is in financial trouble, despite reports it has amassed losses of €40m since 2007.

 


The decade in live: 2011

Amy Winehouse (1983-2011) © Republic Records (cropped)

Who we lost

In 2011, the music industry lost a number of important figures, including Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty, 63; agent Ron Baird, who opened CAA’s Nashville office in 1991, 60; legendary soul and jazz musician Gil Scott Heron, 62; Willie Robertson, co-founder of insurance specialist Robertson Taylor, 67; award-winning singer Amy Winehouse, 27; Academy Music Group founder John Northcote, 62.

 


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Lucy Dickins joins WME

WME has confirmed to IQ that award winning music agent Lucy Dickins is joining the company in June. Currently a senior agent at ITB, she will become head of WME’s UK music division – a newly created role.

“Lucy is a star player, and the perfect addition to our team,” says WME’s head of music, Marc Geiger. “There’s no one else who possesses Lucy’s combination of pedigree, taste and respect in our industry. After being in business with her family for so many years, we feel fortunate that she decided to join WME, and we look forward to bringing her perspective to our clients and colleagues.”

Adding Dickins to the payroll is a significant coup for WME’s music team in the UK, where the company has been operating since 2007. One of the music industry’s most respected and successful agents, her existing client roster includes Adele, Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, James Blake and Mabel, whom WME will now represent globally. Dickins also works with Hot Chip, Bryan Ferry, Rex Orange County, Jamie T, Jack Peñate, among others, all of whom are expected to join her at WME.  Also following her to WME’s central London offices will be ITB agents James Simmons and Chris Payne.

Underlining her popularity in the global industry, in March this year, Dickins’ peers voted her the Second Least Offensive Agent at ILMC’s Arthur Awards.

“There’s no one else who possesses Lucy’s combination of pedigree, taste and respect in our industry”

She states, “Growing up in this business, I’ve been lucky to learn from the best, but now is the time for me to take the next step in my career. The opportunity to join WME was hugely exciting, and I’m confident that this relationship can grow into something special.”

The job switch will bring her career of more than 20 years at ITB to an end. After a work experience stint at the agency as a teenager, Dickins began her career working for a small independent record label before re-joining ITB as an assistant in 1998. During the past two decades, she has built a reputation for developing artists and emerging talent from grass roots, and she is renowned for the close rapport she forms with her artists.

Lucy is part of a music business dynasty that stretches back to her musician grandfather, Percy, who, in the 1950s, co-founded the NME and introduced the Top 20 recorded music charts into popular UK culture. Her father, Barry, formed ITB in 1978 with a client list made up of some of the biggest artists of all time, including Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Her brother, Jonathan, currently manages a hugely successful roster including Adele, while her uncle, Rob, is a former head of Warner Brothers.

She was recently revealed as one of the first speakers at Eurosonic Noorderslag 2020, where she will be interviewed, alongside her father and brother, by ILMC’s Greg Parmley.

Her hire culminates a period of growth for WME’s UK office. This year the agency booked more shows at the O2 Arena than any of its rivals, in addition to leading European festival bookings.


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Ticket sales grow 88% in Australia in record-breaking 2017

Major international tours, including stadium and arena shows by the likes Adele, Paul McCartney, Guns N’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Bieber, Drake and Ariana Grande, drove ticket sales to new highs in a “record-breaking” 2017 for the Australian live entertainment business, according to new figures from industry body Live Performance Australia (LPA).

LPA’s latest Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report reveals that ticket sales revenue from contemporary music concerts grew a staggering 87.8%, from A$440.1 million (US$312m) in 2016 to $826.1m (US$585m) in 2017, reaching its highest level since LPA began compiling the figures in 2004. The increase was fuelled by both significant growth in attendance (+49.6%, to 8.5m) and a 23.9% increase in the average ticket price, to $105.73 (US$75).

“The growth in contemporary music revenue is primarily due to the large number of prominent acts with arena or stadium tours that attracted large crowds and toured to almost all the five major cities [Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide] in 2017,” according to the report. Other arena- or stadium-level acts on tour last year included Sia, Elton John, Midnight Oil and Cat Stevens (Yusuf).

The figures do not include contemporary music festivals, although they also experienced strong growth, with the sector posting a 26% increase in revenue, to $100.7m (US$71.3m), and attendance, to 850,000.

“The live performance industry continues to contribute significantly to our economy and cultural ecology”

Overall, across all live performance categories – ballet and dance, children’s/family events, circus and physical theatre, classical music, comedy, contemporary music, festivals (multi-category), festivals (contemporary music), musical theatre, opera, special events, and theatre – ticket sales revenue increased 31.7% and attendance 22.6%.

“The live performance industry had a record-breaking year in 2017,” according to LPA’s chief executive, Evelyn Richardson.

“The live performance industry continues to contribute significantly to our economy and cultural ecology,” she comments. “In 2017, 23 million tickets were issued to live performance events, generating total ticket sales revenue of $1.88 billion. That’s more than the combined attendances at AFL [Australian Football League], NRL [National Rugby League], soccer, Super Rugby, cricket and NBL [National Basketball League] in 2017.”

An infographic, courtesy of LPA, showing figures for the last nine years in contemporary music, is below. For more information, read the full Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report here.

LPA Contemporary Music 2017

 


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Promoters offered fake Adele 2018 live dates

Several promoters have received emails from a scammer masquerading as Adele’s agent, ITB’s Lucy Dickins, offering non-existent European dates next February.

The fraudulent tour avails, which come from lucy.dickins@iltb.co.uk (note the “l”), are for 1–29 February 2018. Adele’s last tour, Adele Live 2016/2017, wrapped up in June with two shows at Wembley Stadium in London (two further dates were postponed indefinitely after the singer suffered damage to her vocal cords).

The email, forwarded to IQ, opens:

Dear promoter,

I’m happy to present you the following tour,of one of the the finest singer of our generation [sic].
In case you’re interested or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
I look forward to hearing back from you.

According to the email, promoters would need to provide a travelling party of 20 people (!) with flights and local transport, a hotel (“4**** min. 20 singles rooms”), catering and backline. There is no suggested fee, but ‘Dickins’ is apparently open to offers.

A similar scam involving Mark Knopfler surfaced last year, with promoters, mainly in South America, being offered Dire Straits shows by fake agents. A spokesman for Knopfler said at the time there are “no plans whatsoever” for any shows by Dire Straits, who disbanded in 1996 and have not played together since a charity gig in 2002.

 


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Nissen assets seized over $120m ticket ‘scam’

A New York judge has ordered the seizure of cash, property, shares and other assets from a ticket broker who allegedly conned investors out of US$32 million to prop up a “basic yet audacious” ticket-selling scam.

Jason Nissen and eight of his companies are accused of funnelling more than $120m through a ponzi scheme in which investors were promised “impossibly high returns” on resold tickets for events including Broadway musical Hamilton, Adele’s Adele Live 2016/2017 world tour, the Super Bowl and several other sporting events. In reality, allege prosecuting lawyers Morrison Cohen, “the ‘returns’ on the ticket sales were illusory, financed by cash infusions from new investors who were told their money would be used to purchase tickets for resale”.

The two investors who brought the lawsuit, Taly USA Holdings and SLL USA Holdings, said in the initial complaint they have been “damaged in an amount to be determined at trial, but believed to be in excess of $25m, plus interest”.

According to the complaint, Nissen confessed he had faked financial documents in order to secure investment from Taly and hide the scam from other investors. “They’re inflated numbers,” he allegedly told Taly’s Yaron Turgeman in a phone conversation. “We really had those events and really sold the tickets and they’re inflated, you know, two- to three-fold depending on how it was.”

In a court order yesterday, judge O. Peter Sherwood authorised New York sheriffs to seize five of Nissen’s bank accounts, his stocks and shares in two companies (New World Events Group and National Events of America) and two properties, both in New York, with all monies held until the conclusion of the case.

“The ‘returns’ on the ticket sales were illusory, financed by cash infusions from new investors”

In addition, Nissen is forbidden from making “any sale, assignment or transfer” or property or money “in which the defendants have an interest as will satisfy $25m” to any person other than a sheriff.

While the case continues, Sherwood says he believes the Taly and SSL “have a cause of action for a money judgment against the defendants for no less than $25m” and that “plaintiffs are likely to succeed”.

Nissen’s National Event Company (NEC) was part of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB), roughly equivalent to the Association of Secondary Ticket Agents (ASTA-UK) in the UK, prompting criticism from some outlets about the association’s effectiveness in policing its members.

In a response provided to TicketNews, NATB says the criticism is unfounded, suggesting it is “outlandish […] to suggest that our trade association should have known about it and taken measures about it before law enforcement did”.

NEC’s website was still up as late as yesterday, although it now shows an “under construction” page. National Event Holdings has reportedly filed for bankruptcy.

Hamilton last summer became the most expensive ticket in Broadway history after producers raised the price in response to touts taking a reported $30,000 out of every show.

 


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Adele smashes attendance records down under

The Australian leg of Adele’s Live 2017 tour has made concert history down under after playing to more than 600,000 people over eight stadium dates.

The British singer’s first Australian tour – which wrapped up in Melbourne last weekend – broke attendance records at all eight venues, and has been described by Michael Coppel, the newly appointed chairman of Live Nation Australasia, as a “career highlight for all at Live Nation”.

The Live 2017 tour, which follows the record-breaking Live 2016 trek of Europe and North America, kicked off in Perth, Western Australia, on 27 February, breaking the Domain Stadium’s attendance record of 65,000, before heading to Brisbane, where Adele played to 120,000 in the Gabba cricket ground over two nights (also a record).

Dates in Sydney – where she played the two biggest shows in Australian history, to 200,000 people at the ANZ Stadium – and Adelaide (70,000 at the Oval) followed, before the Australian leg concluded at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium, where Adele played to 150,000 people over two nights, once again shattering the stadium’s peak attendance record.

“It has been both a privilege and truly a career highlight for all at Live Nation to have been able to present Adele’s record-breaking Australian and New Zealand tour”

She now heads to Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, for her three final Australasian shows, with ticket sales already in excess of 130,000.

“It has been both a privilege and truly a career highlight for all at Live Nation to have been able to present Adele’s record-breaking Australian and New Zealand tour,” comments Coppel.

“The audiences have been ecstatic at their opportunity to see a true superstar at her peak, and, as the tour promoters, we have been gratified to be able to fully satisfy the expectations of Adele’s management, agent, production and security teams in the presentation of such a high-profile and challenging series of major concert events.”

 


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Grammys 2017 live performers see 207% sales bump

Live performances at Sunday’s 59th Grammy Awards generated an instant sales bump, with a 207% increase in downloads of the songs performed on the day of the show, according to initial analysis by Nielsen.

According to the market measurement firm, the songs shown in CBS’s 12 February broadcast sold more than 178,000 downloads that day, compared to 58,000 on 11 February.

“This immediate and impressive reaction proves the unparalleled power of the Grammy Awards to reach a wide audience and engage fans,” David Bakula, senior vice-president of global product leadership and industry insights at Nielsen Music, tells Billboard.

Beyoncé’s ‘Love Drought’ and ‘Sandcastles’, both performed at the Grammys saw the biggest sales bumps – 1,217% and 958%, respectively – with Adele’s ‘Hello’, which opened the awards, recording a 255% increase, selling 6,000 downloads on 12 February vs fewer than 2,000 on Saturday.

“This immediate and impressive reaction proves the unparalleled power of the Grammy Awards to reach a wide audience”

Other big winners included Katy’s Perry’s new single, ‘Chained to the Rhythm’, which rose 128% to 24,000; The Weeknd’s ‘I Feel it Coming’, which jumped 154% to 15,000; Keith Urban’s ‘The Fighter’, which increased 896% to 12,000; Bruno Mars’s ‘That’s What I Like’, which increased 354% to 23,000; and Maren Morris’s ‘Once’, performed with Alicia Keys at the Grammys, which saw a massive 7,430% increase to 6,000 downloads.

Awards-wise, Sunday’s biggest winners included Adele, who swept the major categories over rival Beyoncé; David Bowie, who posthumously won every award for which he was nominated; and Chance the Rapper, who won best new artist and won plaudits for his gospel-influenced performances.

A full list of winners can be viewed on The Recording Academy website, while Billboard has all the performances (ranked by senior editor Joe Lynch from “worst to best”).

 


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