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SeatGeek hires Airbnb chief to spearhead int’l expansion

In the past 18 months SeatGeek has transitioned from domestic US brand to international ticketer, securing a number of high profile ticketing clients from across the world. To preside over its continued international growth, the New York-based company has announced the hiring of its first ever international general manager, James McClure.

McClure has previously helped the likes of Google and Airbnb to expand into new markets. Across a number of countries, including the US, the UK, Singapore and Australia, he has overseen sales, planning and resource allocation. With their sights firmly set on operating globally, the company hope McClure will navigate SeatGeek into Europe and beyond.

Beginning as a strictly secondary ticketing platform, SeatGeek changed tactic in 2016 via a partnership with software company TopTix. Through its SeatGeek Enterprise primary ticketing platform it began forging partnerships with numerous sport and entertainment venues.

“SeatGeek has incredible momentum in Europe, and I’m looking forward to accelerating that success.”

After acquiring TopTix outright in April 2017 for $56 million, clients for both companies were merged. Today, SeatGeek can count a number of London’s West End theatres, Oslo Opera House, the Dallas Cowboys and the Royal Dutch Football Association as clients. Most recently, the business struck a primary ticketing deal with Manchester FC, meaning a quarter of the UK’s Premiere League is now served by SeatGeek.

“We’re thrilled to have James joining SeatGeek,” says Jack Groetzinger, CEO and co-founder of SeatGeek. “James has a great deal of experience growing international markets for technology companies.

On his new appointment, James McClure comments: “Our partners and prospects are quickly seeing the best-in-class technology of SeatGeek Enterprise, and we look forward to investing more in the region moving forward.

“SeatGeek has incredible momentum in Europe, and I’m looking forward to accelerating that success.”

 


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Gig economy: Airbnb debuts Music Experiences

Airbnb has partnered with ‘secret gig’ promoter Sofar Sounds to launch Music Experiences, a concert and music event series on its new Trips platform.

The online lodging service, known primarily as a way for those with spare rooms or vacant homes to rent them to holidaymakers, recently launched Trips, which lists experiences and excursions hosted by local guides. Music Experiences, initially available in 13 cities, launched on 8 March in London with an event hosted by Reggie Yates and featuring performances by Emeli Sandé, plus Clean Cut Kid, and Jodie Abacus.

In addition to live music with Sofar Sounds, the 100+ current Music Experiences include vinyl shopping in Tokyo, violin-making in Paris, a guide to grime in London, film-making in Miami and DJing in Nairobi.

“We’re excited to welcome Airbnb travellers into our community, allowing them to discover and get closer to the best music experiences that cities have to offer”

“Music is an incredible way to bring people together,” says Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. “We’re launching Music Experiences to give people access to exclusive and immersive music events, from intimate live performances [to] special pop-up gigs, underground music sessions and meeting local artists and performers. Through the platform, we’re able to support up-and-coming and local artists by connecting people to their events and bringing their music to even more fans around the world.”

Rafe Offer, co-founder of Sofar Sounds (which recently secured investment from Sir Richard Branson), adds: “Sofar Sounds, like Airbnb, is all about global community: the magic that happens when people come together around the universal things that really matter, like music. We’re excited to welcome Airbnb travellers into that community, allowing them to discover and get closer to the best music experiences that cities have to offer, every night.”

Hotel chain Ibis in November launched its own concert series: Ibis Lates.

 


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Star Events turns 40

Star Events, the UK’s largest supplier of stages, bespoke temporary structures and high-level rigging services for the live industry, today turns 40.

Founded as touring sound supplier Star Hire by Roger Barrett and Maddy Sheals in 1976, the Bedfordshire-based company’s first contract was with singer-songwriter Carol Crimes. It later went on to supply audio equipment for Split Enz, Miles Davis and the Rock Against Racism tour of 1979.

Star Hire’s staging business made its debut at the 1983 Notting Hill Carnival after Barrett and Sheals, the latter of whom retired in 2014, determined they could do better than the platforms then available to them as a PA supplier.

Other highlights from Star’s four-decade career in live entertainment include supplying its VerTech stage system for The Stones Roses’ legendary show on Spike Island in 1990 and Live 8 in Hyde Park in 2005, providing over 1,000 tons of equipment for Pope Benedict’s visit to the UK in 2010 and designing and building the Park Live venue for the 2012 London Olympic games.

“It feels brilliant to still be as motivated and up-for-it as I was 40 years ago”

Recent projects include Airbnb’s Floating House on the Thames, and the Samsung Hypercube – as used by Biffy Clyro for their groundbreaking virtual-reality show at Reading this weekend – currently touring UK festivals.

The company opened an office in China in 2007, later acquired the Orbit Flexidome brand and was in June 2014 itself acquired by the French Altrad Group.

“It feels brilliant to still be as motivated and up-for-it as I was 40 years ago, while our ever growing team continues to make us the first choice for so many small, medium and large festivals and other events,” says Barrett. “A huge thank you to everyone who has played a part. Here’s to the next 40.”

 


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