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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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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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Is Apple going to disable iPhone cameras at gigs?

Apple has been granted a patent that could allow it to block filming or taking photos on iPhones at concerts.

US patent 9,380,225, first applied for 2011, relates to the detection of an infrared signal by the phone’s camera, and concerns itself primarily with potential applications for augmented reality – for example, using infrared transmitters at museums to beam information to iPhone users photographing a particular exhibit.

However, the patent also describes a secondary application that will be particularly interesting for venues, stating that “[infrared] transmitter[s] can be located in areas where capturing pictures and videos is prohibited (eg a concert or a classified facility) and the transmitters can generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands temporarily disabling recording functions”, and even includes a handy diagram showing how it could work:

Apple iPhone patent 9,380,225, fig. 5

IQ earlier this month reported on a study by MIDiA Research which revealed digital and mobile now dominate event discovery, ticket buying and sharing and opined that: “The use of smartphones in events is an invaluable form of brand promotion and can be leveraged to build engaged future attendee lists through tactics such as image competitions on social platforms.”

Clearly someone at Apple disagrees – although the California-based company has not announced any plans to include the functionality in its next model, the iPhone 7. Apple has sold well in excess of 700 million iPhones worldwide since the phone’s introduction in 2007.


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Fandango to sell tickets directly through iOS 10

Fandango, the movie ticketing company which last month signed a groundbreaking agreement to sell film tickets through social media app Snapchat, today announced another major coup in the form of a similar deal with Apple.

American iPhone and iPad users will, with the launch later this year of incoming operating system iOS 10, be able to find and buy film tickets through the inbuilt Messages chat client.

Customers will also be able to pay for their tickets using Apple’s Apple Pay mobile payment service.

“Fandango has worked for nearly a decade on new ways to enhance and simplify the moviegoing experience for Apple users, and we’re thrilled to introduce what we think is the ultimate social commerce solution for moviegoers – [a] truly a first-of-its-kind product,” says Fandango president Paul Yanover. “With Fandango in Messages, we’ll be able to quickly activate people’s desire to see a movie with friends and family and get them ready for the theatre by easily purchasing tickets, all with a few taps within their Messages conversation.”

Apple has sold well in excess of 700 million iPhones worldwide, and as of January 75% of users of iOS devices were using the latest version, iOS 9. iOS 10 will be released this autumn.


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Apple Music turns concert promoter for Drake tour

Drake and Future have announced a new concert tour, Summer Sixteen, in support of the former’s fourth studio album, Views from the 6.

The 32-date North American tour, promoted exclusively by Live Nation, is notable for being billed as presented by ‘Them Boys up to Something’ (a lyric from the rappers’ song, ‘Jumpman’) and Apple Music – the first time the music streaming service has lent its brand to a series of externally promoted concerts.

Apple’s iTunes Festival at the Roundhouse in London was rebranded the Apple Music Festival for 2015.

Views from the 6 will be an Apple Music exclusive upon release this Friday (29 April). The service has reportedly added over 12 million subscribers since its launch in June last year.

Streaming rival Tidal has also dipped its toe into live music, notably producing the Tidal X: 10/20 concert with Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Usher and TI at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in October to celebrate the service achieving a million paying subscribers.

The Summer Sixteen tour kicks off at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, on 20 July and closes on 17 September at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena.