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AMG announces 3,000-cap. venue in Scotland

Academy Music Group (AMG) has expanded in Scotland with the acquisition of the 3,000-capacity Edinburgh Corn Exchange.

A category B-listed building, the Corn Exchange – which under AMG’s ownership becomes O2 Academy Edinburgh – was built in 1909 and over the last two decades has become one of Edinburgh’s largest standing, multi-purpose venues. Its reputation for live music was cemented with a sell-out show with Blur in 1999, with performers since then including Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, Oasis, Coldplay, Faithless, Arctic Monkeys, Garbage, Grace Jones, Radiohead, Paulo Nutini, Pulp and Calvin Harris.

“We’ve been keen to expand our O2 Academy brand in Scotland for some time and we’re delighted to now be in Edinburgh,” says Graham Walters, chief operating officer of Academy Music Group. “It’s an inspiring city with a thriving appetite for music and culture.

“We see huge potential with this venue: it fits with our ethos of investing in heritage buildings, with the right capacity of 3,000 to bring world-class entertainment to the city. It also has a number of diverse secondary spaces, flexible formats and configurations that we’ll be looking at over the coming months to complement programming and events in the main auditorium.

Gareth Griffiths, head of sponsorship for O2, adds: “The new O2 Academy Edinburgh is a brilliant addition to our O2 Academy estate. It’s a beautiful venue and as entertainment begins to return this further demonstrates O2 and Academy Music Group’s commitment to enhancing the live industry in Scotland, one of the best places to watch music in the UK.”

“We’re delighted to now be in Edinburgh. It’s an inspiring city with a thriving appetite for music and culture”

Paul DeMarco, managing director of former owner Marco’s Leisure, says: “When Marco’s Leisure bought the Corn Exchange in Chesser 22 years ago, we started with a plan to be Edinburgh’s go-to concert venue and ran over 300 live shows, as well as welcoming three million visitors to gigs, conferences, banquets, weddings, exhibitions and parties, creating one of the busiest and most successful venues in Scotland.

“We are happy to pass on the baton to the top professionals in the live music industry, who will ensure it continues to play a major role in Scotland’s events industry for many more years to come. Marco’s will continue to operate and expand its leisure business.”

Edinburgh Corn Exchange becomes O2 Academy Edinburgh from tomorrow (1 September), adding to the existing UK portfolio of now 20 venues owned and operated by Academy Music Group, including Scotland’s O2 Academy Glasgow and London’s O2 Academy Brixton and O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

Academy Music Group has already invested in brand-new in-house sound and lighting production facilities at O2 Academy Edinburgh ahead of forthcoming shows, which include Declan McKenna (3 September), Tom Grennan (9 September), Chic and Nile Rogers (21 September), Yungblud (11 October), DMA’s (18 and 19 October), Rag’n’Bone Man (26 October), the Snuts (28 October), Bullet for My Valentine (1 November), Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes (23 November), Bicep (7 December), The Charlatans (21 December), Chvrches (13 March 2022), Jake Bugg (21 March), the War on Drugs (18 April), Gary Numan (9 May), Marina (17 May) and Beck (14 Jun).

 


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Academy Music Group, Ronnie Scott’s receive CRF grants

Academy Music Group (AMG), Ronnie Scott’s and London Venue Group (LVG) are among the eight arts and cultural organisations in the UK to receive grants between £1 million and £3m from the second Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) tranche.

Venue operator AMG, whose shareholders include Live Nation, will receive just under £3m (£2,981,431) to “help meet the core operating costs” of its 20 live music venues across the country, including O2 Academy venues in London, Leeds and Liverpool.

While world-renowned jazz club Ronnie Scott’s has received a grant of £1,272,631 to “explore streamed performance opportunities for emerging and established British musicians”. The club says it’s delighted that “the fundamental importance of Ronnie Scott’s” has been recognised.

And venue operator LVG, owned by Mumford & Sons member Ben Lovett, has been awarded £2,358,902 to maintain its venues Omeara (cap. 320), Lafayette (600) and recent addition The Social (250) during closure and “enable them to explore streaming options in the future”.

“We are overjoyed that we are able to ensure that all our members of staff can now look ahead to Christmas without the looming threat of redundancy, and to protect the extended Venue Group family; a team of bright, passionate, capable, industry professionals who we’ve been trying to support however possible since being forced to close our venues back in March,” Lovett wrote on Instagram.

“These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture”

“These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities,” says culture secretary Oliver Dowden at the department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which has been working alongside Arts Council England to disperse the fund.

“From St Paul’s and Ronnie Scott’s to The Lowry and Durham Cathedral, we’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it can bounce back strongly.”

Elsewhere, in Scotland, 203 organisations and venues have received a share of £11.75m through the first tranche of the Scottish government’s Culture Organisations and Venues Recovery Fund, delivered by Creative Scotland.

“The Scottish government is determined to do everything within our powers to see the sector through this crisis,” says culture secretary Fiona Hyslop.

“This emergency funding will provide vital support to a wide range of cultural organisations and venues across Scotland currently facing extreme challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has been designed specifically to help organisations cope with the immediate issues they are facing and to help save jobs.

“I am pleased to see such a wide range of organisations supported, from comedy clubs and theatres to galleries and production companies.”

See results from the first round of the UK’s CRF here.

 


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Chris Meredith memorial concert announced

Shame, Sleeper, Ider and Whenyoung will perform an intimate charity show in memory of late ATC Live agent Chris Meredith, who lost his battle with depression in September.

The concert will be held at O2 Academy Islington in London on Sunday 1 December, with a share of the proceeds going to two mental-health charities, Calm (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) and Mind.

Simon Gunning, Calm’s CEO, says: “As an organisation that has always worked closely with the music community, we’re proud to partner with ATC Live to honour the memory of Chris Meredith.

“It’s great to have the support of such brilliant artists in raising awareness of the services that are available to anyone who may be struggling, and donations contribute towards the operation of Calm’s free and anonymous helpline and webchat, which are open every day, 5pm to midnight.”

The gig includes ATC act Shame; Britpop icons Sleeper, who Meredith had represented since their reformation; Ider, who performed at Meredith’s festival Neverworld; and Whenyoung, with whom Meredith had a long association from before their current inception.

“He was an absolute gem, and a champion of female artists, and we’ll miss him hugely”

The 800-capacity Islington Academy is a marked underplay for Shame and Sleeper, both of which having recently played at London’s 2,300-cap. O2 Forum Kentish Town.

“Chris Meredith was a big part of the Sleeper story, bringing us back to the live circuit after twenty years away. He was an absolute gem, and a champion of female artists, and we’ll miss him hugely,” say Sleeper in a statement.

“We’re taking part in this gig for Mind and Calm because they do such amazing work breaking down the stigma of mental-health issues and helping people in crisis. Their work is vitally important. Perhaps now, more than ever.”

Advance tickets are priced at £20 and will be on sale from 10am on Tuesday 19 November at Ticketmaster.co.uk. £6 from every ticket sold will be donated to each charity, Calm and Mind.

 


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Former WME partner Beckham launches management firm

The former co-partner at WME Nashville, Rob Beckham, has joined forces with Nashville-based manager Bill Simmons to launch the Artist Management Group (AMG).

The management firm counts Brad Paisley and Chris Young as its first clients. The pair follow Simmons from Fitzgerald-Hartley Company, at which Simmons was a partner.

Nashville management firm the Fitzgerald-Hartley Company announced it was shuttering on Monday (6 May), after 42 years. The announcement was made shortly before Beckham and Simmons made the AMG launch public.

Co-founders Larry Fitzgerald and Mark Hartley will continue to work in artist management, with Fitzgerald focusing solely on longtime client Vince Gill.

Managers responsible for Fitzgerald-Hartley Company acts including Olivia Newton-John, Kellie Pickler, Eric Paslay and Randy Houser will reveal plans in due course.

Co-head of the WME Nashville office until October last year, Beckham’s departure prompted much speculation throughout the Nashville music industry and wider country music scene.

The management firm counts Brad Paisley and Chris Young as its first clients

WME Nashville is now run by co-heads Joey Lee, Jay Williams, Greg Oswald and Scott Clayton, who joined from rival Creative Artists Agency in November 2017.

Previously representing new AMG client Paisley, Beckham’s other past clients include Brett Eldredge, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton and Chase Bryant.

Beckham has been named talent agent of the year by the Country Music Association and the TJ Martell ambassador of the year. He has also served as president of the CMA’s board of directors.

Although Nashville remains the heartland of country music, the genre has enjoyed a global revitalisation over the past few years. Artists including Kacey Musgraves, Florida Georgia Line and Midland and festivals such as AEG’s Country to Country have aided the popularity of country music among a younger, more international crowd.

The country music panel at this year’s International Live Music Conference discussed the diversity of country music fans, its growth across Australian, European and even Asian touring markets and the high levels of engagement between fans and artists.

 


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Mixed picture as UK biz reveals 2018/19 gender pay gap

For the second year running, the UK live music business has revealed its gender pay gap (GPG) statistics, showing a mixed picture in which strides are being made towards gender equality, but where female employees are still vastly outnumbered by their male colleagues at an executive level.

All companies in mainland Britain with more than 250 employees were given until 5 April 2019 to report their gender pay gap – defined as the “difference in the average hourly wage of all men and women across a workforce” – for the previous 12 months to the government equalities office. Companies also published data on bonuses and the breakdown of employees’ genders by pay quartile. (Read last year’s results here.)

While it should be noted that GPG measures the difference between men’s and women’s average earnings across a whole business – rather than the pay received by male and female employees for doing the same job – all companies surveyed by IQ reiterated their goal of narrowing the gap ahead of next year’s survey and beyond.

See below for how nine of the UK’s largest live music businesses stacked up in 2018/19.

“We are committed to narrowing the gap over time in our business”

Live Nation (Live Nation (Music) UK Ltd)

Pay gap (mean): 80% (+18%)
Pay gap (median): 23% (-8%)

Live Nation UK’s mean GPG is the widest of the nine companies featured, growing 18%, to 80% (though its median gap narrowed), in 2018 – a reflection, says president Denis Desmond, of the under-representation of women in the wider music industry, especially in the upper echelons.

Writing in LN’s 2018 gender pay gap report, Desmond says the company is “committed to increasing women and diversity in our workforce and being an inclusive environment where everyone can succeed”.

“Women are under-represented in the music business. The gender pay gap is reflective of this, particularly with more men in the revenue-generating roles at the higher end of the salary scale,” he comments.

“This is something we want to see change. Real change requires a dual and sustainable approach; increasing awareness of the career opportunities available and ensuring we do all we can to develop and retain the women already making the industry such an important contributor to the wider UK economy.

“We are committed to bringing more women into our workforce through promoting all types of career options, and particularly helping influence young people to consider our industry. Alongside this we are creating more apprenticeships and internships designed to give people real skills needed to enter this business for a long-term and fulfilling career.”

Desmond reveals Live Nation recently conducted a “job levelling review across the UK” as part of an overhaul of its approach to reward and compensation decisions, in a bid to boost fairness. “Our robust policies and training programmes ensure that we are continually working to ensure no bias exists in our recruitment processes and ensuring we provide full support to all employees in balancing their family lives with the unique demands of the music business,” he continues.

“We see gender pay gap reporting as an opportunity to increase awareness of these challenges and are committed to narrowing the gap over time in our business.”

“Progress is being made, with 75% of all appointments at head of department level and above awarded to female candidates”

AEG/The O2 (Anschutz Sports Holdings Ltd)

Pay gap (mean): 43.6% (+0.3%)
Pay gap (median): 36.8% (-4.4%)

AEG declined to comment on its 2018 gender pay gap, though it made its report available on Monday 8 April.

While its mean GPG widened slightly, its median gap fell by 4.4%, and there are a slightly more women in two pay quartiles – the top (28%, +2%) and lower quartiles (66%, +1%) – compared to 2017. The percentage of women who received bonus pay was flat at 22%, compared to 7% more men (39%).

“Despite having a fairly even split of male to female employees overall, our gender pay gap is significant and we have more work to do to remove this,” writes AEG Europe president Alex Hill. “This gap is created by a higher proportion of women than men in our lower-paid roles and more men than women in our higher-paid roles.

“Our gender pay gap is not acceptable and we must make even greater effort to work towards gender pay neutrality across our business.”

However, he adds, “[p]rogress is being made, highlighted by our figures showing that 75% of all appointments at head of department level and above were awarded to female candidates, and since April 2018, seven of the top 20 roles are now occupied by female employees.”

“SMG Europe is confident that its gender pay gap does not stem from paying men and women differently for the same or equivalent work”

SMG Europe (SMG Europe Holdings Ltd)

Pay gap (mean): 16.6% (+4.6%)
Pay gap (median): 6% (+2%)

Arena operator SMG Europe’s pay gap slightly widened in 2018, although the proportion of female employees actually increased in every pay quartile. Its results, an SMG spokesperson tells IQ, are skewed by the nearly 20% more women in the lower quartile compared to 2017/18.

“We have undertaken significant resourcing activity in the past 12 months [6 April 2017–5 April 2018]. with 650 new colleagues joining our team,” they say. “The majority of new colleagues are casually engaged team members, of which 66.5% are female and 33.5% male. The recruitment gender ratios were consistent with gender ratio of applicants – ie no positive or other discrimination.

“As of April 2018, a total of 82% of our population comprised casual roles, compared to 77.7% the previous year.  All our casually engaged colleagues, who make up the majority of our workforce, are paid at the same hourly rate for the same role, regardless of gender. The shift in our gender pay gap year-on-year is explained by the higher proportion of casually engaged individuals, of which there are proportionately more females this year, which is explained, as noted above, by the higher percentage of female applicants than our existing complement across our casually employed team.

“Our 2018 report also illustrates that women occupy 47% of the highest paid roles, compared to 43.3% the previous year, demonstrating that we have improved the proportion of women occupying the highest paid roles within the organisation.

“SMG Europe is confident that its gender pay gap does not stem from paying men and women differently for the same or equivalent work. Rather its gender pay gap is the result of the roles in which men and women work within the organisation and the salaries that these roles attract.”

“Whilst we are happy that this is going in the right direction, reducing the GPG remains a key priority for Global”

Global (Global Radio Services Ltd)

Pay gap (mean): 32.7% (-2.7%)
Pay gap (median): 19.4% (-1.1%)

Global, the UK’s second-largest festival operator, says it remains “committed” to closing its gender pay gap, which narrowed by 2.7% on a mean basis in 2018.

“Our workforce is balanced and fluctuates each month somewhere between 45%/55% female and male employees; however, we recognise that not having enough women in senior leadership roles is a significant factor in driving our GPG,” reads the company’s 2018 gender pay gap report. “In 2018, we are pleased that we have made some improvement across all measures, and reduced the GPG to 32.7%. Whilst we are happy that this is going in the right direction, it remains a key priority for Global, and creating a diverse and fair culture continues to be incredibly important.

“However, we recognise that this is a long-term strategy that takes time and focus, and that we won’t look different overnight. We have identified a number of initiatives existing and new, that will help us to continue to improve.”

These initiatives include its Global Apprenticeship scheme, launched in September 2018, which welcomed 17 apprentices and graduates into programming, digital, video, marketing, technology and commercial roles – of which 53% were female and from a BAME (black, Asian or minority ethnic) background – and a six-month leadership programme, whose alumni include 20 female middle managers who will be supported “in growing their careers at Global”.

“Our gender pay gap reflects the broader societal challenges of getting more women into the technology sector”

Ticketmaster (Ticketmaster UK Ltd)

Pay gap (mean): 44% (+8%)
Pay gap (median): 23% (+0%)

Ticketmaster’s mean GPG widened to 44%, while its median difference remains at 23%, the same gap as in 2017/18.

According to Mark Yovich, president of Ticketmaster International, its pay gap reflects the dearth of women working in the technology sector – and, if the figure was adjusted to remove employees working on the tech side, the GPG is 4% in favour of female staff.

“Ticketmaster is a vibrant, diverse place to work. We believe that diversity adds value to our workforce and delivers a better service to our fans,” he writes in TM’s 2018 pay gap report.

“As a technology-led business, our gender pay gap reflects the broader societal challenges of getting more women into the technology sector. There is an acute skills shortage in this area, with women accounting for just 25% of all UK STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] graduates. Only 16% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women [source: NCWIT]. Illustrating this challenge, if you remove our technology employees, our mean gender pay gap is minus 4%.

“Of course, we want to see more women in the technology industry and have been working with several organisations who provide opportunities for women to get into tech, including Women Who Code, codebar, Code First: Girls, and have an official partnership with Code Your Future. We host and support these groups with funding and regular meet-ups in our offices. We launched our own female employee resource group, WE Nation, in 2015 which continues to roll strong through our business in both the UK and across our international markets.

To ensure fairness, we have systemised our approach to reward and compensation decisions, including conducting a job levelling review across the UK. Our robust policies and training programmes ensure that we are continually working to ensure no bias exists in our recruitment processes.

“We see gender pay gap reporting as an opportunity to drive awareness about the challenges in our industry. We will continue to support women at all levels in our business. We are committed to increasing women and diversity in our workforce and being an inclusive environment where everyone can succeed.”

“Women are under-represented in the live music industry, and the GPG reflects this”

Academy Music Group (Academy Music Group Ltd)

Pay gap (mean): 21% (-3%)
Pay gap (median): 6% (+5%)

Live Nation-owned venue operator Academy Music Group (AMG) narrowed its mean pay gap to 21% in 2018, though its median GPG widened 5%.

Denis Desmond says AMG, whose venues include O2 Brixton Academy and Shepherds Bush Empire, is focusing on elevating more women into management positions.

“A key area of focus for us is achieving greater representation of women into venue management roles, which are our most senior positions and therefore attract higher rates of pay and bonuses,” he writes. “For venues, the median figure reflects our pay equity in the large volume of roles we regularly hire for where we have greater gender balance.”

“We are training managers to ensure no bias exists in our selection processes and ensuring we provide full support to all employees in balancing their family lives with the unique demands of the music business,” he continues, adding that, like Live Nation, AMG is “committed to narrowing the gap over time in our own business.”

“We are optimistic that plans to … attract, recognise and develop talent will have a real effect on improving gender pay equality at NEC Group”

NEC Group (National Exhibition Centre Ltd (The))

Pay gap (mean): 11.4% (+1.3%)
Pay gap (median): 9.7% (+2.6%)

NEC Group, which operates five arenas and convention centres in Birmingham, as of April 2018 had 1,861 employees and casual workers, of which 838 were men and 1,023 women. Its median pay gap, which widened 2.6% in 2018, nevertheless bests the UK average of 17.9%, says chief operating officer John Hornby.

Its most recent figures reflect the smaller proportion of men in lower pay quartiles compared to 2017.

“Overall the group’s profile is characterised by high numbers of employees working full and part time in the company’s catering, retail and hospitality operations, and smaller numbers of specialist technical, catering, supervisory and managerial roles,” reads the company’s 2018 GPG report. “The gender pay gap for the group presents a balanced picture, but there is still more to be done to ensure consistent improvement.

“In the past year, further investment has gone into developing our learning and development offer for all staff; for example, the New Leader programme and Experienced Leader programme, targeting those in leadership roles and those for whom a leadership role is the next career step. Since 2014 the team has trained over 260 new managers, with roughly an even male and female candidate profile.”

Hornby also highlights NEC Group’s talent programme, whose fifth cohort of 19 promotions is roughly gender equal, and its apprenticeship scheme.

“We are optimistic that some of these long-term plans to both attract, recognise and develop talent will have a real effect on improving gender pay equality within the NEC Group,” he concludes.

“Even though we’re ahead of most of our music industry peers … we’re not complacent about it – we know we’ve got more to do”

DHP Family (DHP Family Ltd)

Pay gap (mean): 11.6% (-2.1%)
Pay gap (median): 5% (+1.5%)

Nottingham-based promoter and venue operator DHP Family reported a 2% fall on its already low mean gap compared to last year’s figures, and the company says it does “not have an issue with equal pay. Our gender pay gap derives from fewer female employees within our venue management teams. This is a trend within our industry, whereby there are many more male venue managers across all levels, in particular the more senior the positions.”

While its mean pay gap is well below the national average, its bonus gap (the difference in bonus pay between men and women) remains high, at 48.5%, despite the percentage of women eligible doubling in 2018/19. “We are continuing to work on female representation for bonus eligible roles, and our initiatives to attract and retain females within our venue management and senior management teams are slowly reducing this difference,” according to its 2018 report.

“We’re fully committed to reducing our gender pay gap and I’m pleased to see we’ve made further progress this year,” DHP Family owner George Akins tells IQ.

“Even though we’re ahead of most of our music industry peers and the UK national average, we’re not complacent about it; we know we’ve got more to do and we’ve introduced a number of initiatives that will help in the years ahead.”

“We are making positive steps, but we know there is more we can do”

PRS for Music (PRS for Music Ltd)

Pay gap (mean): 16.8% (-0.4%)
Pay gap (median): 9.7% (-1.8%)

Pamela Harding, human resources director at performance rights organisation PRS, welcomes its narrowing pay gap but says there is still more to be done.

She comments: “Although we have seen a slight improvement, we have a continuing gender pay gap as there are fewer women in senior positions than men at PRS for Music. We believe that real progress is achieved through influencing business culture, and in 2018 we commenced our programme to recognise drivers of unconscious bias to better support our efforts to promote diversity and act inclusively. We also continued to take positive action with our new ‘Dignity at Work’ policy and by working with industry experts in diversity and inclusion.

“We are making positive steps, but we know there is more we can do. As we look further ahead, we remain committed to engaging all levels of our business to encourage, support and exemplify our core values and celebrate our differences.”

 


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AMG expands venue portfolio in Manchester

Academy Music Group, the UK’s leading venue operator, has entered into a lease agreement with Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse, adding the property to its 19-strong venue portfolio.

The 300,000sqft events and hospitality venue – of which AMG will lease a 90,000sqft music and conference space, including the 3,500-capacity auditorium – will be renamed O2 Victoria Warehouse Manchester as of 1 September 2018.

Located in Stretford, the venue was originally home to two monumental warehouses, built by the Liverpool Warehousing Company in 1925 and 1936, which dominated Manchester’s canalside. It was renovated as a venue in 2009, with multiple rooms and various formats and configurations.

“Manchester’s warehouses are so important to the history of the city. They give Manchester its local distinctiveness, identity and character,” comments Graham Walters, CEO of Academy Music Group, whose shareholders include Live Nation (LN-Gaiety and Metropolis Music) and SJM Concerts.

“We are delighted to welcome this stunning venue in a prime city to our group”

“Iconic venues are the lifeblood of what we do, and we have significant expertise in running some of the most historically important entertainment venues in the world. We are delighted to welcome this stunning venue in a prime city to our group, especially as Manchester is such an integral part of the UK’s live music scene.”

Gareth Griffiths, head of sponsorship at O2, which recently renewed its naming-rights deal with AMG, adds: “The new O2 Victoria Warehouse Manchester is a brilliant addition to our O2 Academy estate and further demonstrates O2 and Academy Music Group’s commitment to live music in Manchester. This expands Priority Tickets for O2 customers 48 hours before general release, and we can’t wait for more late nights in this fantastic city of musical heritage.”

Venue owner James Cohen, of VW Group, comments: “We are delighted to have entered into a lease agreement with Academy Music Group for our large music and conference space […]. It’s a fantastic move for our site to add both live music and club shows by partnering with AMG.

“The VW Group will continue to deliver all corporate event business and to place music shows at the venue, thus working hand-in-hand to drive profitability. This deal is testament to our vision to create one of the most iconic events and hire spaces in Manchester.”

 


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O2 ABC left severely damaged after art school fire

Glasgow’s music scene was in mourning this weekend after news broke that the fire that tore through the city’s School of Art had also left the O2 ABC with severe damage. 150 firefighters battled against the blaze on Friday night, but could not save the building’s roof, which collapsed after all staff and customers were evacuated to safety.

For over 150 years, the 1,300 capacity venue has been at the centre of culture and entertainment in Glasgow. The venue began life as The Diorama in 1875. Since then, it has been home to an ice rink, a cinema and a circus ring. As of 2018, the ABC was a popular and intimate venue, and also host to Europes largest disco ball.

In a statement released today, Graham Walters, chief operating officer of the Academy Music Group says: “We would like to thank the emergency services, especially the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, whose instantaneous action prevented any casualties, and for that they must be whole-heartedly commended.

“The events of Friday night have devastated so many in our industry who share our sadness.”

Following the news, a number of acts have expressed their sadness and the loss of the iconic venue. Glaswegian band Glasvegas took to Twitter to say they were “gutted” to hear about the news.

Fellow Scottish musicians Frightened Rabbit also tweeted their upset, saying: “Glasgow is hurting but will recover.”

The O2 ABC usually hosts an average of 400 events every year, playing host to all genres of music. With such a packed calendar, the news of such severe damage has made upcoming events and plans uncertain.

On the night of the fire, tribute band Foo Fighters GB was scheduled to play. Posting on their Facebook page, the band said: “It is with massive regret that we have to inform everyone that tonight’s Glasgow gig at the O2 ABC Glasgow cannot go ahead due to an horrific fire in the building.

“We hope everyone in the area is OK and are awaiting further info.”

Some bands scheduled to play at the ABC in the coming days and weeks, including Foo Fighters GB, have been offered the use of surrounding venues so the show may go on. American band Belly managed to play their Saturday show at the nearby venue The Garage.

In the statement released today, Academy Music Group explained it was taking the utmost care to rearrange upcoming gigs. However it also said the future of the venue itself is uncertain as the venue continues to be under the control of emergency services: “At this point in time, we do not have any further comment regarding the future of O2 ABC Glasgow.”

 


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O2 renews Academy naming agreement with AMG

O2 has agreed a new ten-year deal with Academy Music Group (AMG) and Live Nation, with the British telco retaining naming rights for AMG’s network of O2 Academy venues.

The agreement secures O2 – a subsidiary of Spanish multinational Telefónica – as the naming partner for AMG’s 19 venues in 13 UK cities, and follows a similar extension of its naming-rights deal with AEG’s The O2 in February.

The renewed alliance will see O2 double the number of 48-hour priority tickets made available to its customers for O2 Academy shows and Live Nation-promoted non-festival events across the UK, as well as offering fast-tracked entry, free cloakrooms, drinks offers and complimentary wifi.

The company also plans – as at The O2 – to install new technology to track crowd movements in all O2 Academy venues, generating data on crowd noise, calories burnt and the most popular songs and offering it as a free ‘digital momento’ after the show.

O2 CMO Nina Bibby comments: “We know our customers love live experiences, and O2 Academy venues are a huge part of the UK’s live music scene, which is why we’re extremely pleased to be continuing our longstanding relationship with both Live Nation and Academy Music Group.

“Continuing this deal with O2 ensures that these venues remain a vibrant part of their local communities and an integral part of Britain’s healthy live music market”

“Just under ten years ago we pioneered the pre-sale model with [O2] Priority Tickets, giving our customers exclusive early access to tickets for the best shows around. This new, long-term deal takes that even further, with double the number of tickets available for O2 customers to not just every show at 19 O2 Academy venues, but also all Live Nation shows across the UK.”

“We are incredibly proud of our partnership with O2, which has revolutionised the way brands work within the live sector,” adds Paul Latham, COO of Live Nation in the UK and Republic of Ireland. “This is more than just a naming rights deal. Over the last nine years, we have worked tirelessly together to build the O2 Academy brand, investing in these iconic buildings and giving O2 customers access to millions of Priority tickets.

“Close to four million live music fans come through O2 Academy doors each year to see the artists they love across the UK. Continuing this deal with O2 ensures that these venues remain a vibrant part of their local communities and an integral part of Britain’s healthy live music market.”

The O2–AMG/Live Nation partnership dates from late 2008, with all former Carling Academy venues rebranded on 1 January 2009. Three former Mama venues acquired by Live Nation in August 2015 were renamed as O2 Academies in October that year.

 


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Muse crowdsourcing setlist for charity show

Muse have announced a one-off show in London in aid of homeless charity The Passage in which ticketholders will choose the setlist.

Billed as a ‘by request’ show, the concert – at AMG’s 2,000-cap. Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 19 August – will give all those who buy tickets the opportunity to choose their ten favourite Muse songs, with the tallied-up votes used to curate the band’s set on the night.

Tickets for the show go on sale at 9am on Friday (6 July) via Ticketmaster, with all profits going to The Passage. Muse fanclub members and ticketholders for Reading and Leeds Festivals – which Muse (pictured) headline the following weekend – will have access to a 48-hour presale.

“The Passage is really grateful that Muse are doing a doing a concert to raise money for, and awareness of, the vital work we do to end homelessness”

Mick Clarke, CEO of The Passage, comments: “The Passage is really grateful that Muse are doing a doing a concert to raise money for, and awareness of, the vital work we do to end homelessness for those who come to our doors. It is frighteningly easy to end up on the street, and this concert helps ensure that The Passage will be there for those who have nowhere else to turn to.”

“We have admired The Passage’s work for a while now,” adds Muse frontman Matt Bellamy. “Their work is vital to the community in London. We are looking forward to doing our bit to help the amazing staff and volunteers and the homeless people who benefit from their tireless hard work.”

Other bands who have experimented with allowing fans to choose setlists include Coldplay, who have taken song requests via their website for the ongoing A Head Full of Dreams tour, MetallicaMaxïmo Park and Franz Ferdinand. (Muse themselves did something similar at the late Oxegen festival in 2010.)

 


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