Poppy launches own interactive metaverse app
Grammy Award-nominee Poppy has launched a brand new Metaverse app for iOS and Android called ‘PoppySphere’.
Developed in partnership with artist development company Hifi Labs, PoppySphere is “a virtual 8-bit universe for fans to explore, with dynamic rooms and secrets to uncover as they navigate a realm of iconoclastic creation”.
Users around the world can customise their own avatar and text chat while playing games and uncovering “hidden secrets”. Fans of the US artist can also submit ideas for music, games, wall art and room designs that, if chosen, can earn them exclusive gifts.
“We’re really interested in the true direct-to-fan connection,” says Hifi Labs CEO, Joe Barham.
“We’re really interested in the true direct-to-fan connection”
“We love working with artists who view the cutting edge as an opportunity and our focus is on helping artists build their own platforms to create the best possible relationship with fans.”
“I am overjoyed to be launching my very own Metaverse,” Poppy said in a statement. “A fully customisable virtual space to hang out and talk with the PoppySphere one on one.”
She added: “The possibilities are endless so, make yourself at home.”
In September, Poppy launched Roblox’s new ‘Listening Parties’ feature, making her new album ‘Flux’ available through “all of the [Roblox] experiences” and participating in a Q&A on the platform.
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Hearby announced as final associate sponsor for ILMC
Concert discovery app Hearby is the final associate sponsor of this year’s virtual International Live Music Conference (ILMC), the leading global gathering of live music professionals.
Hearby, produced by Area4 Labs, is an AI-driven live music tracker which helps users find – and safely enjoy – live music as it returns.
The app allows users across 100 cities in North America and the UK to filter both in-person and livestreamed events by genre, time period, postcode and artist.
This year, Hearby plans to expand to a further 100 European and global cities with a goal to “get a few more people to a lot more shows” by widely distributing and licensing the app’s live music show calendar widgets to news, travel and entertainment companies.
“We are very excited to partner with ILMC and support venues and artists across the globe,” says Ian Condry, chief anthropologist for Area4 Labs and professor of cultural anthropology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“We want to remove the friction for people finding live music events in the community”
“We want to remove the friction for people finding live music events in the community,” he added.
Hearby will be showcasing the product from a virtual exhibition area at ILMC, which delegates will be able to visit.
This year’s conference, dubbed ‘Virtually Live’, will welcome more than 1,000 registered delegates and host more speakers and meetings than ever before thanks to its limitless virtual format.
ILMC 33’s new features include video speed meetings, a digital trade exhibition, ‘watch again’ conference sessions, and live voting and polling. And for the first time in our history, non-members will be invited to attend ILMC, pointing to the busiest live music conference ever staged.
Irving Azoff, Bob Lefsetz, Sam Kirby Yoh, Emma Banks, Tim Leiweke and Klaus-Peter Schulenberg are among the confirmed speakers.
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Spanish promoter develops Covid-tracking app
A Spanish concert promoter has developed Spain’s first track-and-trace tool for concertgoers and nightclubbers.
Created by Granada promoter, DJ and production manager Álex Garvín Delgado, CEO of Girando Eventos, Alerta Covid aims to help control and contain outbreaks of coronavirus in Andalusia, where it is mandatory for all clubbers to share their personal data to assist in tracing the spread of the virus.
The system launched yesterday (6 August) at a concert in Cadiz, Garvín tells Radio Granada’s Hoy por Hoy Granada, with attendees able to scan a QR code with their phones to access the Alerta Covid platform.
Track and trace, or contact tracing, allows public health authorities to identify everyone who has been in contact with someone who has Covid-19, thus containing the spread of the virus by ordering them to self-isolate.
Such systems are credited with helping fans get back to shows in advance of a vaccine against Covid-19, most notably in South Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand, with Austria also announcing recently that contact tracing would allow it to permit 10,000-person shows from September.
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Taking back control
My name is Rupert Brown. I am a musician, producer and drum teacher – and, more importantly, a tinnitus sufferer.
Sadly, my story with tinnitus starts at the age of 22. In 1991, as a young drummer, I was honoured to be asked to play a series of gigs with Roy Ayers (an American jazz legend vibraphonist) at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. It was going so well that Roy and his manager asked me to continue the tour into America.
In the second week of the Ronnie Scott’s shows, I came off stage and I noticed a huge problem with the hearing in my left ear. As I left the club to find my car, I was struck down with this terrible realisation that I was experiencing the sudden onset of tinnitus. I was profoundly deaf in my ear and was left with eight different sounds and noises of tones, screams, bells and thunder. I shall endeavour to describe this awful audiological tragedy.
If one can imagine being alone on a lighthouse in the middle of the cold winter’s dark ocean, with bells striking a clock tower at the top of the building, waves crashing around me, wind howling and gusting uncontrollably. The knocking sounds of metal rigging hitting the flag pole and birds making screeching noises as they summon the energy to leave the desolate platform on which I am forced to stay.
The question I kept asking was, ‘Would I ever be able to make friends and have a relationship with that person (me) ever again?’ The terrifying isolation that I felt was instantaneous and I knew straight away that this was going to change my life. My new sonic landscape had changed immeasurably. My world spiralled so quickly after a short time with tinnitus. That night when I got home, I wrote in pen on the wall above my bed, “PLEASE GOD MAKE THIS GO AWAY”. (I’m not even a religious man!)
Despite this experience, I didn’t give up with the last week of the Roy Ayers residency. I carried on performing concerts twice nightly. I’m fairly certain that this made my problem permanent, but I do not regret any of my decisions and carry an immense amount of pride that I was able to find the strength in me to continue the gig. Unfortunately, doing so also meant I was unable to tour the USA, as I knew I had to seek professional help.
I wrote in pen on the wall above my bed, “PLEASE GOD MAKE THIS GO AWAY”
After seeing my doctor, who had no real help or advice for me, I had to wait eight months to get an appointment with an ENT specialist at the local hospital. While I was there, I had one of those special moments. I was in the waiting room next to the doctor. I could hear him on the phone and will never forget what he was saying…
“Okay, I’ll just get rid of this one quickly and we’ll see each other on the golf course.”
He was talking about me. When I spoke with the surgeon, he asked me one question: “Do you need to hear the music when you are playing your instrument?” I almost couldn’t reply. “Of course,” I said back to him. “In that case, you will have to stop playing,” the doctor replied.
For me, that was the turning point. Although there was so much wrong with the consultant’s conclusions, it gave me the strength to get to the bottom of this by myself, as I could see that I wasn’t going to get any help.
Although it was unbearable to start with, I managed to find solace in an innocuous little Toshiba tape cassette player. I found that if I pressed down play and record and pause at the same time, I could get this wonderful hissy white noise sound. After using this day and night, and even taking it on tour with me (much to the amusement of the airport staff and security), I was able to slowly take back control of my life again.
The eight tinnitus sounds started to become six, and then five, four, three and two, and I was finally left with one hissy sound which I could cope with, and I was comfortable to live with. I was able to completely get my musical life back on track and started to embark on my career again.
Creating the music for T-Minus has been an amazing experience – and at times, it’s also been incredibly scary, dark and emotional for me
I went on to play with some wonderful artists: Nigel Kennedy (tours and album), Cher (album), The Lighthouse Family (albums), Darryl Hall (album) and Robbie Robertson (album), to name but a few. Plus, I even ran a community Samba band with 111 members in it.
A few years down the line, I was touring with my band and the worst thing that could possibly happen to me occurred one night. I had the tinnitus injury all over again. This time it felt worse; and as I was older with more experience, I had more knowledge as to the extent and severity of my symptoms.
Going to the doctors at this time was poorly judged (by me), as I was told I had to have ear wax removed. A standard procedure for most people, but for me it was a total nightmare. The nurse was not experienced enough and didn’t take into account my past hearing issues. Now my problems were becoming insurmountable. The condition I had now – on top of the raging tinnitus – was called hyperacusis.
My tinnitus symptoms were so bad that I could not leave my house for months. All sounds had become excruciating for me, which as you can imagine, is an extraordinary problem for a musician.
This time (and armed with a recording studio and my knowledge from the Toshiba tape deck), I started to look into music and sound to get to the route of my tinnitus nightmare. I would go out for walks late at night and bathe myself with the distant sounds of nature, the sea, cars and other night-time ambiances. I knew I had to desensitise myself with these sounds.
I then started to put these sounds together and create tinnitus ‘mind environments’ in my studio. I have spent more than a year and a half making the most unique tinnitus sound library out there.
My tinnitus symptoms were so bad that I could not leave my house for months.
What I have learnt is that tinnitus sufferers are capable of helping ourselves! Creating the music for T-Minus has been an amazing experience – and at times, it’s also been incredibly scary, dark and emotional for me; it has opened up very deep wounds and sensitivities surrounding my own issues.
To find these sounds I would go out with a portable recorder to capture my natural found sounds. I would take these back to my studio to EQ these frequencies and blend multiple recordings with musical dialogue and occasionally adding subtle rhythms to create ‘mind environments’.
The reason for adding the music and putting various different waveforms together was to help the individual with the emotional wellbeing and good positive feeling towards the tinnitus-masking sounds: ie simple sounds like an old car indicator and the sound of a Citroen 2CV tyre turning slowly into a gravel road were emotional triggers from my own past that symbolised safety and feeling cared for, and the train music felt like I was going back to a time where I could remember grandparents and happy positive feelings.
This subject matter explores the idea of natural and unnatural elements working together in harmony to create a strange symbiosis that produces a uniquely personal journey into the mind and enables me to work with two very different sound environments. The challenge I set myself was to believe that I could somehow create ‘harmony’ and ‘beauty’ through conflict.
Scary and harrowing, I know. But as time softens those old tinnitus sounds via my own type of sound therapies, I’m able to reflect upon this experience and use these strange, mystical noises to create a new and exciting canvas of mind environments. These have greatly helped the over-stimulation of my mind by delivering tinnitus back to tinnitus, thus eventually dulling and quietening the relentless and maddening tones.
Rupert Brown is a musician, producer, music tutor and the developer of T-Minus, a free app that aims to help millions take back control of their tinnitus.
New Who song streaming exclusively in Music Walk of Fame app
On Tuesday (19 November), the Who became the first artists to receive a stone on the new Music Walk of Fame (MWOF) on Britannia Junction in Camden, London. The legendary British band, who were presented with their stone by Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, are also airing their latest single, ‘I Don’t Wanna Get Wise’, exclusively through the MWOF app.
The premiere of the new song – which comes over two weeks before the release of their 12th studio album, Who – is “the first taste of exclusive content that will become a characteristic of the official app”, according to its developer, Second Screen, which has also created festival apps for the likes of Boardmasters, Sound City, Neighbourhood Weekender, Notting Hill Carnival and Liverpool Psych Fest.
The MWOF app already houses a map of Camden with interactive points of interest marked as series of pins.
It will also incorporate augmented-reality (AR) technology triggered by each MWOF stone (the Who’s is outside Camden Town tube station), with more AR experiences set to be added as more stones are laid.ed in a series of insightful pins.
The Music Walk of Fame app is available to download for iPhone now, with the Android version set to follow in the coming weeks.
Festyvent introduces groundbreaking safety feature for 2020
Festyvent, the UK technology firm for the live industry, has announced the launch of its all-new enhanced app features for music festivals and live events.
First up, and leading the way, is [email protected], which will allow members of the live audience to alert friends to their exact location if they fall ill or feel vulnerable. The friends contacted will be able to track the sender of the message live for 60 minutes on Google Maps, using either GPS coordinates or the what3words identifier.
David Jacobs, founder and CEO of Clarifi Media, comments: “We have become increasingly concerned that festivalgoers can sometimes get into difficulties and need to alert and communicate their exact location to friends or the festival emergency services as fast and simply as possible. We are convinced that this new feature will help people to feel [email protected] and enjoy what they came for – the music, the experience and the festival vibe!”
But [email protected] is only one in a long list of new and improved capabilities. Festyvent’s new SmartMap gives fans an accurate geographical location, better orientation and sense of direction on the festival ground. It achieves this by overlaying a custom drawn map on an actual map and creating a distinct festival-country space. The map offers customisable pins which can also be associated with a brand or location and open the relevant screen in the app when pressed.
“We place the audience’s engagement with the festival at the core of our thinking”
In addition, it presents Share Your Schedule – another audience experience-enhancing feature, which received a unanimously positive response when tested with selected festivals this past season. Engagement with the festival increased manifold and take-up was way above expectations. The feature essentially allows people to share their schedules with friends so that they can see the performances or activities that they are attending. Moreover, it allows the festival to create a curated journey through the festival or to invite artists to create their personal tour of the festival.
Festyvent’s operations director, Olivier Zucker, says: “We place the audience’s engagement with the festival at the core of our thinking and are continuously looking how we can improve audience experience and engagement. This is great for the audience and benefits the festival by providing multiple data points on the audience’ preferences and interests.
“A lot of thoughts have gone into how festival organisers are planning their festivals with the need to adapt and combine events. The result is Festyvent’s Permanent MultiApp Architecture, which offers the possibility to cross-sell events through an app structure which can be updated dynamically without the need to release a new app for each festival season.”
Established in 2014, Festyvent is a London-based technology company, developing apps for audience engagement and enhanced customer experiences at live events. Festyvent has worked with major festivals in the UK, Europe, South Africa, North America and Australia. For more information, visit festyvent.com.
C3, Red Light, Another Planet invest in Mixhalo
Mixhalo, an audio tech start-up founded by Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger and his wife, Ann Marie Simpson-Einziger, has raised US$10.7 million to fund its mission to “democratise” concert sound.
Investors in the series-A investment round, led by Foundry Group, include US promoters C3 Presents (Charlie Walker), Superfly (Rick Farman and Rich Goodstone) and Another Planet Entertainment, UK artist management firm Red Light Management, and venture-capital outfits Cowboy Ventures, Sapphire Sport and Defy Partners, reports TechCrunch.
Pharrell Williams was also an early investor in the company, as were WME’s Marc Geiger and mega-producer Rick Rubin, which has raised a total of $15m to date.
Similar to European start-up Peex (which additionally enables listeners to create their own mixes), the Mixhalo app allows fans to listen through headphones to audio direct from the soundboard – ie the mix artists hear in their in-ear monitors – rather than through speakers, for improved sound quality.
“Mixhalo envisions a world where everyone experiences great live audio, regardless of their seat or ticket cost”
The platform also allows artists and concert organisers to offer multiple mixes for a single concert, or feeds from multiple festival stages, allowing users to tailor their concert experience to them.
Mixhalo CEO Marc Ruxin says the company is “definitely solving a problem in music that people don’t realise they have”, comparing it to watching television in the pre-HD age. “Now, sports that’s not in HD looks crappy,” Ruxin explains.
Mixhalo has been deployed at shows by Charlie Puth, Incubus and Metallica, as well as Aerosmith’s current Las Vegas residency, Deuces are Wild.
Ruxin tells TechCrunch he is currently focused on music and sports, but is also open to other working with other sectors, as the technology can also installed in, for example, a theatrical musical with “no technical tweaks.”
“Mixhalo envisions a world where everyone experiences great live audio, regardless of their seat or ticket cost,” comments Ruxin. “We are democratising sound at live events.”
Do I need an app?
“Do I need an app?” is a question LiveStyled is often asked. Our answer, “Maybe not”, may seem a surprising response. However, it helps to make a fundamental point: any technology viewed in isolation of a real-world problem is useless.
Utilised properly, technology can be transformative to the customer experience and to the business as a whole. But all too often it is implemented for its own sake, in a manner poorly thought through and badly designed.
To make technology as effective as possible, the following four-step approach can help:
1. Ask ‘real-world’ questions.
These can start as simple as, “How do I get more people to my show?” Then through a process of ever-narrow questioning, the problem becomes clearer until you eventually hit on a key set of questions the whole company can focus on.
2. Get your systems to talk to each other.
Often, the genus of the answers to these real-world questions will lie somewhere within the data and systems you’ve already got. It’s vital these systems can communicate and share data while being able to digitally track every customer across their journey.
All too often technology is implemented for its own sake
3. Work with people who can analyse your data and generate insights from it.
Data is useless unless it’s actually being used to make decisions. At least one element of your technology infrastructure should therefore be able to analyse your data and test it against the fundamental questions you’ve asked. The insight produced should be able to be understood by everyone in the organisation.
4. Employ flexible and dynamic front-end technologies – which may be an app!
Once you’ve drawn insights from your data, you need to focus on whether you can change people’s behaviour in relation to your key questions. This is done by targeting the technologies they interact with throughout their journey with you. Speed and flexibility are crucial here, so whatever that technology is, it needs to be able to adapt to the individual instantly. Whether this is an app, social media channels or digital screens in the venue, dynamic adaptability is the most important factor.
With all of these steps aligned, the technology you choose and the people within your organisation using it will become much more effective. Whether this includes an app, or not, is up to you.
Marcato acquired by Patron Technology
Patron Technology, the parent company of ticketing platforms ShowClix and Ticketleap and festival app developer Greencopper, has acquired Marcato, a Canada-based provider of live events management software, for an undisclosed sum.
Marcato provides a web-based platform for festivals to manage back-end logistics, including credentialling, artist advancing, asset management and catering. The company works with more 300 events globally, including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Eurosonic Noorderslag and Iceland Airwaves, and is also a member of Yourope and ‘friend’ of the UK’s Association of Independent Festivals.
Natasha Hillier, Marcato’s GM, says: “At Marcato, we’ve seen our clients experience a sizeable reduction in onsite staffing costs, catering costs and, especially, in the amount of time spent organising their events.” “By joining Patron Technology, we can expand our reach and offer the product our clients love to even more organisers,” adds CAO Alison Giovannetti, “while maintaining Marcato’s superior level of support.”
“Marcato is the best and most efficient way to manage everything that goes into organising an event”
“We are excited for the Marcato team and product to join our business,” comments Marc Jenkins, CEO of Patron Technology. “We recognise the many hours live event promoters spend on the details, coordination and logistics of putting on events, [and] Marcato is the best and most efficient way to manage everything that goes into organising an event.
“Adding the layer of event logistics and operations to Patron Technology brings the full life-cycle of your event into one integrated product offering. Patron Technology isn’t just about the consumer-facing side of events; we are now helping event organisers behind-the-scenes as well.”
Patron acquired Greencooper, whose clients include Coachella, Roskilde, Reading and Leeds and Pitchfork Music Festival, in February. The company is majority owned by Providence Strategic Growth, a unit of Providence Equity Partners, the private-equity firm behind Superstruct Entertainment, which is an investor in Sziget, Sónar and, most recently, Norway’s Øya Festival.
Nashville mourns murder of Aloompa’s Jaime Sarrantonio
Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to Jaime Sarrantonio, account manager at app developer Aloompa and a respected figure in Nashville’s independent music scene, after she lost her life in an apparent robbery in the early hours of Friday morning.
Sarrantonio, 30, was outside the Cobra Nashville bar, on Gallatin Avenue in east Nashville, Tennessee, at around 3.30 on 17 August when she and three friends were set upon by two men, police say. Sarrantonio and 33-year-old Bartley Teal, a local musician, were shot and killed after Teal told the robbers he had nothing to give them.
A manhunt is underway for the perpetrators, described by police spokesman Don Aaron as “cold-blooded killers”, who are believed to be behind a string of recent shootings in the area, Reuters reports.
Sarrantonio (pictured) had been at Nashville-based Aloompa since August 2016, working with festival clients including Superfly (Outside Lands, Clusterfest), Rock in Rio, Ultra Europe and country music event CMA Fest. She was also festival manager at RedGorilla Music Fest, an independent music festival in Austin, Texas, and executive assistant at Tinderbox Music, a music promotions and distributions company representing unsigned artists.
Jon Belanger, CEO of Tinderbox Music, says Sarrantonio “worked harder than everyone else.” “She was very smart,” he tells the Tennessean. “She chose to work in independent music and champion it for the last ten years.”
“She had a tremendously positive impact on everyone she spent time with”
In a statement provided to IQ, Aloompa says its staff are “heartbroken over the loss of our dear friend and team member. Jaime Sarrantonio was loved by everyone at Aloompa and by the many clients she worked with on our behalf over the years.
“She had a tremendously positive impact on everyone she spent time with. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends at this time. We will all miss Jaime and her compassionate and joyful presence.”
Stefany Reed, a former colleague of Sarrantonio’s at Aloompa, describes her late co-worker as “the person that you always want in the room, the friend that is down for anything, and is just a beacon of light”. “The world lost one of the best” on Friday morning, she adds. “Love you always, Jaime. You will be so, so missed.”
A statement from the Cobra says that “no words can convey our sadness and shock at this time”, adding it plans to organise special shows in the near future to “celebrate the lives” of both Sarrantonio and Teal.
At press time, a GoFundMe page had raised nearly US$3,000 towards a memorial service for Sarrantonio, “put on by friends, here in Nashville. Hug your loved ones.”