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Spotify makes latest move in live with RA deal

Streaming giant Spotify has strengthened its links with the live music scene, partnering with Resident Advisor, an event discovery platform for electronic music.

In a week that saw Deezer launch a live events series based on popular playlists and Apple Music announce Brit Award-winner Dave as the first act for its Agenda playlist live series, the Spotify-Resident Advisor deal further highlights streaming’s desire to capitalise on live.

The partnership directly connects Spotify users to shows by artists they listen to via localised event listings promoted within the application.

Although Spotify already notifies users of concerts based on their listening habits, pushing them to ticketing platforms such as AXS, Eventbrite, and Ticketmaster, as well as discovery platforms Bandsintown, Songkick and Facebook, the Resident Advisor deal looks to provide more support to local venues and independent promoters, who more typically list on the platform.

“The vitality of local scenes is essential for the sustainability and creativity of the global electronic music community”

“The vitality of local scenes is essential for the sustainability and creativity of the global electronic music community,” comments Resident Advisor co-founder Nick Sabine.

“Our collaboration with Spotify is a brilliant evolution of the work we have been doing for almost two decades to support the work of the independent artists, venues and promoters which act as the pillars of those scenes.”

Founded in 2001, online music magazine and event discovery platform Resident Advisor provides event listings and sells tickets to events across the dance music ecosystem in over 50 countries.

Spotify’s other live music ventures includes partnering with festival booking portal Festicket and staging its own playlist-based shows, most notably the hip hop-focused Who We Be show, which featured acts such as Dizzee Rascal, Giggs, Cardi B, J Hus and Stefflon Don, and RapCaviar Live concerts.

 


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Streaming companies up live presence with new concerts

Apple and Amazon, whose Apple Music and Amazon Music platforms are respectively the second and third most popular music streaming services worldwide, have announced plans for new live events this summer.

Ecommerce giant Amazon will expand this year’s Prime Day – a Black Friday-like discount day for members of its Prime loyalty programme – with a new entertainment component: a Prime Day concert headlined by Taylor Swift.

Available to view from 9pm EST (1am GMT) next Wednesday (11 July) on Amazon’s Prime Video service, the concert’s all-female line-up also includes Dua Lipa, SZA and Becky, as well as actor Jane Lynch, who will host the event.

“We can’t wait to celebrate Prime Day with an extraordinary night of unforgettable performances, for members around the globe,” says Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music. “Prime Day brings members the best of both entertainment and shopping. To celebrate, we’ve curated a line-up across multiple genres with performances from artists our customers love.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating Prime Day with this can’t-miss, one-of-a-kind event.”

Amazon previous organised a series of shows in the UK, dubbed Prime Live Events, though these were wound up in early 2018 following the shutdown of its Amazon Tickets business.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating Prime Day with this can’t-miss, one-of-a-kind event”

Apple, meanwhile, is taking Apple Music’s Up Next programme and playlist, which focuses on emerging artists, to retail stores across Europe and the US under the banner Up Next Live.

Up Next artists, including Bad Bunny, Daniel Caesar, Khalid, Ashley McBryde, King Princess, Lewis Capaldi and Jessie Reyez, will each play an intimate show in Apple shops in Italy, France, London and the US, starting with Latin star Bad Bunny at Apple Piazza Liberty in Milan on 9 July.

Apple operated its own music festival, Apple Music Festival (formerly the iTunes Festival), in London from 2007 until its cancellation in 2017, and has also sponsored select tours.

Commenting on his involvement with the Up Next initiative, Puerto Rican-born Bad Bunny says: “The impact [of being part of Up Next] can be seen in everything, in numbers, in plays, in shows. There are a lot of fans that, when I go out in the street in the US, people who do not speak Spanish, I think they will not know me and they stop me, they ask me for pictures and they sing my songs…

“It helped me very much to make myself known in a market different from mine, not only the US, but in places where Spanish is not spoken or where perhaps Latin music does not dominate, exposing my music and giving people the opportunity to get to know what I do.”

Streaming market leader Spotify has also taken its playlists on the road, including the Latin-led ¡Viva Latino! Live, grime-focused Who We Be Live and US hip hop-orientated RapCaviar Live.

 


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US Senate proposes sending emergency alerts via streaming services

The US Senate is in the process of considering a bill that would allow the government to send out emergency alerts via streaming services. The proposal is part of the government’s wider effort to improve the delivery of emergency alerts.

The READI act – standing for Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement – seeks to take advantage of the US population’s music streaming habit, which last year added $4 billion to the music industry’s yearly revenue. With bi-partisan support across the senate, the bill could be debated in the next legislative session.

The enthusiasm for a new alert system in the US comes after a false emergency alert was sent out to Hawaiian citizens back on 13 January 2018. The alert warned of an imminent missile threat and ended with “This is not a drill.” A similar incident happened just a few days after in Japan.

“In a real emergency, these alerts can save lives so we have to do everything we can to get it right.”

According to statistics, user penetration from music streaming services currently stands at 49.7% in 2018. This is expected to rise to over half the population by 2022. By all accounts, these numbers make popular services like Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music an attractive choice for the US government to reach as many people as possible in an emergency.

Currently, when an emergency alert is issued – for bad weather, danger threats or an amber alert (relating to missing children) – citizens will find a message explaining the situation on their smartphones, as well as being notified through televisions and radio. Supporters of the READI act believe integrating the alerts into streaming services will increase the likelihood alerts are seen and acted upon accordingly.

Citing the false emergency alert in Hawaii in January, Senator Brian Schatz, co-sponsor of the act, explained the necessity for making alerts as accessible as possible: “Some people never got the message on their phones, while others missed it on their TVs and radios.

“In a real emergency, these alerts can save lives so we have to do everything we can to get it right.”

 


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Apple Music Festival axed after a decade

Apple Music Festival (AMF) is no more, Apple has confirmed, bringing to an end its decade-long run bringing arena-sized acts to mid-sized London venues.

The festival previously took place in the last two weeks of September, but a line-up announcement had been conspicuously absent this year, leading to speculation it had been axed. The Roundhouse, the 3,300-cap. venue where AMF had taken place since 2009, had been telling customers the festival was no longer going ahead, and Apple confirmed the cancellation to MBW yesterday.

The annual concert series, which distributed free tickets to competition winners, was first held as iTunes Festival at ICA, moving to Koko for 2008 and the Roundhouse in 2009. It was rebranded Apple Music Festival in 2015.

Apple is still involved in live music, sponsoring various shows, notably Drake’s Summer Sixteen tour and, per MBW, London dates by Haim and Skepta and Brooklyn shows by Arcade Fire.

Artists who played iTunes/Apple Music Festival between 2007 and 2016 include Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Adele, Elton John, Oasis, Britney Spears, One Direction and Take That.

 


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GWVR takes on illegal streams with new format

GWVR, the recently launched German collection society which enables member promoters to earn royalties from live recordings, has announced the launch of a tool to facilitate the easy upload of audio recordings to Apple Music and iTunes.

Also planned is a proprietary format for concert recordings that incorporate both audio and video – “concerts, festivals, club performances, comedy, circuses and shows, theatre and musicals: everything live,” says GWVR (Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Veranstalterrechten, Society for the Exercise of Promoters’ Rights).

“[Exploiting] the live format on Apple Music and iTunes is one important step towards our strategic goal of breathing life into […] neighbouring rights for promoters according to section 81 of the German Copyright Act,” explains Jens Michow, president of BDV, the promoters’ association behind GWVR.

GWVR general director Johannes Ulbricht adds: “We will create an alternative to the flood of illegal mobile videos on well-known streaming platforms. Our alternative is legal, fair and of high quality.

“The aforementioned flood is negative for artists, promoters and the audience. It is positive only for those generating advertising revenue.

“We will create an alternative to the flood of illegal mobile videos on well-known streaming platforms”

“We see labels as partners for the production of live content which is legal and of good quality. Together we will claim the legal right of numeration for the creative industries from video platform owners. But we also need a legal alternative. Here Apple is – once again – a pioneer.”

Stefan Schulz of ConvertMedia, a video-monetisation specialist whose clients include AEG, AXS and Warner Bros, suggests other streaming services will follow in future: “At a later stage we aim to realise more attractive content and formats to create new revenue streams for the live industry.”

GWVR launched officially earlier this year after more than a decade in development. It allows the organisers of concerts and live events in Germany – international promoters included – to earn royalties from the use of audiovisual content, such as live albums and concert films, captured at their shows.

After Spotify, Apple Music is the second most popular on-demand music streaming service, topping 20 million paying subscribers in December.

 


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Ticketmaster app adds Apple Music integration

Ticketmaster today updated its iOS app to add integration with Apple Music.

Version 1.10.2 of the app uses the Apple Music API, made available to developers last April, to provide users with recommendations based on artists in their music library.

App users who allow the Ticketmaster app to scan their library will receive ticket alerts from their most listened-to artists, and – if they also enable GPS/location services – push notifications when they are playing nearby.

After Spotify, Apple Music is the second most popular on-demand music streaming service, surpassing 20 million paying subscribers in December.

Ticketmaster has a deeper partnership with Spotify – predicted to soon break the 50m subscriber mark – that sees its concert ticket listings integrated on artist pages in the Spotify app.

 


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StubHub launches first Apple TV ticketing app

The tech wizards of StubHub are at it again: Just over four months after creating the world’s first concert-recommending chatbot, the secondary ticketing site today unveiled the first ticketing app for Apple TV.

“We know that most people will be interacting with our app from their couch, as they’re looking for something to do,” comments StubHub’s director of mobile product, Marcus Shelksohn, “so we kept the StubHub app for Apple TV focused on browsability and discovery, to better motivate people to get up and get out.

“We kept the StubHub app for Apple TV focused on browsability and discovery, to better motivate people to get up and get out”

“The StubHub design team wanted to create a more custom interface to reflect the emotional nature of event discovery, and the result is an engaging look and feel that maximises event imagery and seat maps and is highly intuitive to navigate.”

Like the Skype chatbot, the Apple TV app will focus on event discovery – “less transactional and more emotional”, says StubHub – and builds on the eBay-owned company’s goal to be “everywhere there customers are, across multiple screens via multiple devices”.

It is designed for the fourth generation of Apple’s digital media player, launched last October, and is so far only available in the US.

 


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AEG poaches Apple digital marketer for first CDO

AEG Live has appointed Brooke Kain, formerly head of digital marketing at Apple Music/iTunes, to the newly created position of chief digital officer.

In her new position, Kain (pictured) will oversee the promotion giant’s digital strategy and is tasked with growing digital and social channels, using data to drive ticket sales and acquire new customers, creating event-based content and striking new partnerships with digital entertainment companies.

Before joining Apple Kain was head of digital marketing at Apple Music forerunner Beats Music, and prior to that oversaw digital marketing at Interscope Records.

“Creating this role demonstrates AEG Live’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions to meet the rapidly changing needs of our global brands and audiences”

“Brooke has developed and built the digital marketing platforms for some of today’s most important music companies,” says Rick Mueller, president of AEG Live North America. “Creating this role demonstrates AEG Live’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions to meet the rapidly changing needs of our global brands and audiences.”

Joyce Szudzik, who has been vice-president of digital marketing at AEG Live since 2006, becomes vice-president for digital and social media for AEG as a whole.

 


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Apple Music Fest: No stream for non-subscribers

While much of the coverage around the 10th Apple Music Festival, returning to the Roundhouse in London from 18 to 30 September, has so far focused on its big-name line-up, announced yesterday, eagled-eyed press release-readers will have noticed one other major change for 2016: non-subscribers to Apple Music need not apply.

Whereas in previous years the free festival could be streamed live by anyone with iTunes – or, with its name change last year from the iTunes Festival to Apple Music Festival, Apple Music; even non-subscribers – this year’s live stream will viewable only by subscribers to Apple’s $9.99/£9.99-per-month music streaming service.

According to the launch announcement, “the 10 spectacular nights of live performances will be made available live and on-demand to Apple Music members in 100 countries on their iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, PC, Apple TV and Android phones”.

The festival isn’t the first time the service has lent its name to a live music event – in a first for Apple, Drake’s Summer Sixteen tour is billed as being co-presented by Apple Music – but it will be the first year in which Apple’s flagship festival will be a closed shop available only to its subscriber base.

The 2016 headliners are:

18 September: Elton John
19 September: The 1975
20 September: Alicia Keys
21 September: OneRepublic
23 September: Calvin Harris
25 September: Robbie Williams
26 September: Bastille
27 September: Britney Spears
28 September: Michael Bublé
30 September: Chance the Rapper

 


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Rhapsody/Napster gets in on the VR concert game

Music streaming service Rhapsody has announced the launch of a virtual reality (VR) app, Rhapsody VR, as it diversifies in the face of ever-increasing losses.

The independent Seattle-based company, known as Napster outside America, increased its revenue by 16% in 2015 but posted an average loss of around US$3 million per month, with an annual net loss of $35.5m.

Rhapsody VR launched on Android and iOS yesterday and promises “free, immersive 360-degree videos of great artists from the best seat in the house”. There are currently only nine concerts available on the app – most sourced from Rhapsody’s South by Southwest showcase in March – but the company says it plans to add new content regularly.

While Rhapsody has only 3.5m paying subscribers (compared to almost 10 times that for market leader Spotify), it has gained a reputation for innovation: Music Business Worldwide last month reported on the launch of Rhapsody’s Listener Network, a “Tinder for music lovers” which matches users with other people based on how compatible their music tastes are.

IQ earlier this week sat down with NextVR, a virtual reality company that recently signed a landmark deal with the world’s biggest concert promoter, Live Nation, to stream its concerts to viewers worldwide.