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Harry Styles to kick off Apple Music Live series

Apple Music has announced the launch of a new recurring live music series, Apple Music Live.

Kicking off with Harry Styles: One Night Only in New York at UBS Arena in Long Island on 20 May, the livestream series promises to “give the biggest stars in music the biggest possible platform to flaunt how they connect with audiences and how their songs translate to live performance”.

The show will be streamed exclusively to Apple Music subscribers at no extra cost at 9pm EDT/6pm PDT and coincides with the release of Styles’ third album Harry’s House. There will also be encores on 22 May at 12pm EDT/9am PDT and 26 May at 4 pm BST.

“No matter how much time and effort an artist may spend crafting music in the studio, it’s on the stage where they really get to show their work”

“No matter how much time and effort an artist may spend crafting music in the studio, it’s on the stage where they really get to show their work,” says the tech company. “Apple Music Live is a new recurring series designed to do just that: give the biggest stars in music the biggest possible platform to flaunt how they connect with audiences and how their songs translate to live performance.”

Details of other acts set to take part in the series are yet to be revealed. Apple previously ran the iTunes Festival (later the Apple Music Festival) in London from 2007-16, which starred artists such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Oasis, Elton John, Britney Spears and Robbie Williams.

 


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Live Nation: ‘We will not do business with Russia’

Live Nation has pledged not to do business with Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The concert giant, which had a Moscow office in the early 2010s as it expanded its operations in the region, has vowed not to promote shows in Russia and says it is cutting ties with Russia-based suppliers.

“Live Nation joins the world in strongly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the company says in a statement released to IQ. “We will not promote shows in Russia, and we will not do business with Russia. We’re in the process of reviewing our vendors so we can cease work with any and all Russian-based suppliers.”

Venue management and services company ASM Global, whose portfolio includes Moscow Convention Center and MTS Live Arena, says it “stands with the people of Ukraine and condemns Russia’s actions”.

“We fervently support a community’s right to freedom,” it says. “Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, their families and loved ones all around the globe.”

Sports and entertainment firm Oak View Group (OVG) had earlier announced it was boycotting Russia amid widespread outrage over the country’s actions. OVG’s Climate Pledge Arena lit up Seattle Center in the colours of the Ukrainian flag in a gesture of support for #StandWithUkraine.

“In light of the tragic conflict rapidly unfolding in Ukraine, Oak View Group has pledged to not do business in or with Russia, nor will we serve Russian brands in any of our venues on a global basis, effective immediately,” it said. “We stand with the people of Ukraine, we condemn the actions of Russia, and we hope our stance inspires others in our industry to take action where they can.”

“We have taken a number of actions in response to the invasion”

Universal Music Group, which has a Russian branch, has also posted a statement on its Instagram account saying: “We stand with our partners who are on the ground delivering urgent humanitarian aid to Ukraine refugees.”

It adds: “The situation in Ukraine affects millions of innocent civilians with urgent humanitarian needs – from food and water to shelter and clothing. UMG and our employees are proud to support organisations providing assistance to refugees in need.”

Apple has also paused product sales in Russia. 

“We have taken a number of actions in response to the invasion,” it said. “We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence.”

Ukraine vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov says some Ukrainian companies have appealed to Apple chief Tim Cook asking to allow Ukrainian artists to change their album covers “in order to show the truth about the situation”.

“In addition to this, we ask you to block Apple Music accounts who support the war and Putin’s aggressive actions,” he adds.

 


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Kanye West sets new livestream record on Apple Music

Kanye West’s second album listening party at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium (cap. 71,000) in Atlanta last Thursday (5 August) was reportedly Apple Music’s biggest-ever live stream.

The live stream of West previewing his upcoming album ‘Donda’ attracted 5.4 million viewers on Apple Music – more than double the current livestream record on Twitch – which set a new record for the streaming service, according to Billboard.

The previous record was set by West’s first listening event at the stadium on 22 July, which saw 3.3 million people tune in.

West also livestreamed from a dressing room at the stadium ahead of the show, with fans able to watch him recording, exercising and sleeping for a number of hours.

Billboard also cites sources who claim that West made $7 million (€5.9m) from in-person merch sales during the second ‘Donda’ event, which recorded 40,000 ticketed fans in attendance.

West made $7 million (€5.9m) from in-person merch sales during the second ‘Donda’ event

Of the 400,000 fans, a stadium rep told Billboard that four people got a vaccine shot offered by the event that evening.

The event provided Pfizer shots for those who haven’t already taken the shot to help slow the transmission of Covid-19 but very few took up the offer – despite the venue promoting its efforts.

The event’s push for fans to get vaccinated comes as Live Nation and AEG, the world’s biggest live entertainment companies, have announced various vaccine mandates.

Live Nation announced that artists would be given the choice as to whether they require all concertgoers and venue staff to be vaccinated for their US shows, and it is understood a similar model will likely be rolled out internationally.

While AEG Presents, AEG’s concert promotion division, will additionally require all fans in the US to be vaccinated from 1 October.

 


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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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