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Ariana Grande to headline Fortnite’s Rift Tour

Ariana Grande will be the next artist to perform an in-game concert for the hugely popular multiplayer video game, Fortnite.

The Grammy award-winning artist is set to headline the forthcoming Rift Tour, a virtual ‘musical experience’ that will take place within the online game.

The Rift Tour comprises five shows in early August: Friday 6 August at 18:00 ET, Saturday 7 August at 14:00 ET and Sunday 6 August at 00:00 ET, 10:00 ET and 18:00 ET.

“Working with Epic and the Fortnite team to bring my music to life inside the game has been so fun and such an honour,” says Grande. “I can’t wait to join my fans and see all of your reactions to such an unforgettable, magical journey to new realities.”

“Fortnite is a place for the imagination and the impossible”

Fortnite is a place for the imagination and the impossible. With the Rift Tour, we’re bringing a musical journey to life that players can experience, feel, and join alongside their friends,” says Phil Rampulla, head of brand for Fortnite developer Epic Games.

“We’re so grateful to have an iconic superstar like Ariana Grande and her team join us for a musical experience at metaverse scale, and for players and fans alike to experience the Rift Tour!”

Republic Records-signed Ariana Grande is the latest artist to perform within Fortnite, after the likes of Marshmello, Travis Scott, Steve Aoki, Deadmau5, Easy Life and J. Balvin.

The singer’s performance follows a virtual show at the in-game O2 in June, which was performed by the UK act Easy Life.

The iconic London venue became the first real-world arena to get its own venue in Fortnite. 

Watch a teaser for Ariana Grande’s appearance on the Rift Tour below.

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Bravado launches charitable face mask range

Universal Music Group-owned merchandising company Bravado has launched a range of face masks to raise money for charity partners including MusiCares and Help Musicians UK.

As reported by IQ earlier this week, face masks are becoming must-have merchandise for music fans, with bands including My Chemical Romance and Korn added branded face coverings to their merch offerings.

Now, UMG’s merchandising arm, Bravado, has unveiled its own range of reusable, washable cloth face masks. Available on the new We’ve Got You Covered e-commerce site, Bravado’s masks feature designs for artists including the Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Blackpink, Billie Eilish and the Weeknd.

Starting today (24 April), fans can purchase Bravado’s face masks for US$15. All net proceeds – no less than $8 per product sold – go towards charities supporting the music industry through the coronavirus crisis.

“This initiative will continue to grow and evolve thanks to the hard work from everyone here at Bravado and UMG along with our artists across the globe”

“I’m humbled and grateful to work with artists and partners who are passionate and driven to deliver a program that supports those that need it most during this unprecedented time,” comments Bravado CEO, Mat Vlasic.

“This initiative will continue to grow and evolve thanks to the hard work from everyone here at Bravado and UMG along with our artists across the globe.”

All UMG employees have been offered free face masks through the We’ve Got You Covered programme.

The company will also contribute 50,000 masks to those serving communities across the US including workers in food banks, school lunch programmes, homeless shelters and other community service providers.


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Lizzo, Billie, Lil Nas X to make Grammys debut

The 62nd annual Grammy Awards are taking place on Sunday (26 January) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, celebrating artists across 33 categories.

Live performances on the night will come from record of the year nominees Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, as well as K-pop stars BTS, EDM DJ Diplo and singer Mason Ramsey.

Other nominees including Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Bon Iver, Ariana Grande, H.E.R. and Tyler the Creator will also perform on the night.

Over 173 nominations have been put forward for this year’s awards, which has seen its fair share of controversy this year due to allegations levelled by suspended CEO Deborah Dugan. Using data from Rostr, IQ takes a look at the major trends this year’s Grammys.


There are some usual suspects among the nominees for a few of the biggest categories. Last year’s best pop vocal album winner Ariana Grande is up for the prize for a fourth time, going up against Taylor Swift, who is on the lookout for her first win in the category after three nominations.

In the best dance album category, the Chemical Brothers are nominated for the sixth time – including two wins – for No Geography, whereas Flume sees his second nomination, following a win in 2017.

Lizzo is the artist with the highest number of nominations, appearing in eight categories, including best new artist, song of the year, album of the year and record of the year. Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X have also fared well, receiving six nominations apiece. Of the top eight most nominated artists, five are women, with H.E.R, Ariana Grande and Yola also appearing in multiple categories.

Overall, however, fewer than one in three nominated artists are women

Overall, however, fewer than one in three nominated artists are women, with male artists making up almost 60% of nominees and 10% comprising acts with a mix of male and female artists. Two award categories – best rap album and best electronic album – consist of purely male artists.

The best pop vocal album and best new artist categories feature predominantly female nominees, 80% and 70% respectively, with best country album (60%) and album of the year (57%) also weighted towards female artists.

Over the past 20 years, more than twice as many nominations have been for male artists than female, with women outnumbering men in just two categories this century – best new artist and best pop vocal album.

Last year’s Grammy Awards, which saw artificial intelligence correctly predict Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’ song of the year win, with Kacey Musgraves picking up album of the year, Dua Lipa winning best new artist and Ariana Grande taking best pop vocal album.

Photo: Andy Witchger/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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The O2 celebrates 25 million ticket sales

Twenty five million tickets have been sold for shows at London’s O2 Arena since 2007, the venue team announced today (22 October), following a busy summer with concerts by Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, Muse and more.

The 20,000-capacity O2 Arena, which was crowned the world’s busiest venue for the 11th consecutive year in 2018, has this year seen performances from the likes of Daddy Yankee, George Ezra, Post Malone, Cher and Khalid.

Bjork, the Chemical Brothers, Liam Gallagher, Krept and Konan, Little Mix and the Lumineers are all set to perform at the arena before the end of the year.

Since opening in 2007, the O2 has hosted over 2,000 individual performances and now holds an average of 200 events per year, covering music, sport, comedy, family entertainment and esports.

“To reach the 25 million ticket milestone is a huge achievement and we’re so grateful to have hosted so many artists for the first time this year”

“To reach the 25 million ticket milestone is a huge achievement and we’re so grateful to have hosted so many artists for the first time this year,” comments Emma Bownes, vice president of programming.

“London has the best fans in the world, and we’d like to thank promoters, agents, managers and our partners for continuing to work with us to help bring the very best performers from the worlds of music, comedy, sport and entertainment to the O2”.

Canadian rapper Drake was this year inducted into the venue’s ‘21 Club’, joining acts including Prince, One Direction and Take That to have performed at the London arena 21 times.

Take That hold the record for the most number of shows played at the O2, whereas the attendance record belongs to Metallica, who played to a 22,211-strong crowd in 2017.

Tickets are not the only thing being sold in large quantities at the O2. In 2018, the venue sold over 172,000 portions of chips, 72,500 hot dogs and more than 993,000 pints of beer.


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Biggest music line-up ever for Pride events

As London gears up for its Pride parade this Saturday (6 July), live music is playing an increasingly important part in Pride events across the globe, with artists are doing their bit to further equality.

The London event, featuring performances from Billy Porter and X Factor star Saara Aalto, marks the end of Pride month, a worldwide celebration of the LGBT+ community and of that community’s movement for equality.

In June, Pride parades and festivals took place in cities including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Sydney, with more scheduled throughout the UK and Europe over the coming months.

Pride events in New York saw performances from Madonna, Lady Gaga, Lizzo and Alicia Keys. In Los Angeles Meghan Trainor, Years and Years, Cristian Castro and the Veronicas featured on the Pride festival line-up.

Across the Atlantic, “LGBT+ icon” Kylie Minogue will headline Brighton’s Pride in the Park on Saturday 3 August, fresh from her appearance at Glastonbury Festival. Joining Kylie at the event will be Grace Jones, Jessie J and Clean Bandit.

Manchester is putting on arguably one of the biggest live music events of the Pride calendar, taking over Broadwick Venue’s Mayfield Depot (10,000-cap.) for a ticketed, two-day music event, Manchester Pride Live.

Organisers “expect to see record attendance” as acts such as Ariana Grande, Cheryl and Basement Jaxx prepare to grace the stage.

“Celebrating LGBT+ life means a great deal to each of the artists performing at the festival this year,” Manchester Pride chief executive Mark Fletcher tells IQ.

“Celebrating LGBT+ life means a great deal to each of the artists performing at the festival this year”

“We work closely with agents and management to ensure that all artists are clear on the importance of Pride celebrations and this year we’ve actually received more requests than ever from artists who want to come along to perform at the festival to show their support for the campaign for greater LGBT+ equality.”

The choice of heterosexual Grande as the Manchester Pride Live headliner sparked complaints from some members of the LGBT+ community, according to Variety, as did the selection of non-LGTB+ artists at other Pride events.

However, the Manchester Pride boss states the event always aims “to ensure there is clear representation from LGBT+ artists on the line-up” and stresses that the appearance of any high-profile artists “is very important to our audience”.

“Whether they are LGBT+ or allies, the message that is displayed through the appearance of high-profile artists is clear for the world to see: We stand as one to tackle the inequalities and discrimination that is still faced by LGBT+ people today,” comments Fletcher.

“Music and performance represent freedom and happiness which both play a huge part in what we stand for,” adds Fletcher. “Music is at the heart of our Pride celebrations in Manchester and the music we showcase helps to create a vibrant atmosphere of unity.”

Manchester Pride Live weekend tickets are priced at £64.50 plus booking fees and are available here.


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Kanye, Bieber, Will Smith perform at Coachella

The second and final weekend of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival came to a close on Sunday 21 April, with Kanye West hosting an Easter “Sunday Service” and Justin Bieber making a return to the stage after a lengthy hiatus.

The 2019 edition of Goldenvoice’s Coachella (125,000-cap.) has now come to an end, following two consecutive weekends of live music and surprise appearances in the Californian desert.

Kanye West hosted a performance on the closing Sunday of the event as part of his series of Sunday Service performances – invite-only sessions in which the rapper performs alongside a gospel choir in secret locations.

Chance the Rapper, Kid Cudi and DMX joined West for the performance atop a hill, some miles away from the main festival site.

Another surprise performance came in the form of Justin Bieber, who joined Ariana Grande on stage for a rendition of his 2015 single ‘Sorry’. The Canadian singer also used the performance to hint at the release of a new album.

The 2019 edition of Coachella has come to an end, following two weekends of live music and surprise appearances in the Californian desert

Will Smith also appeared on the Coachella stage, joining his son Jaden Smith for a performance of the rapper’s song ‘Icon’.

Weekend one of the festival saw Grande break records as Coachella’s youngest-ever headliner, Childish Gambino pay tribute to Mac Miller, the debut of a state-of-the-art augmented reality experience and the introduction of Amazon lockers to the festival.

California’s Empire Polo Club has hosted Coachella since its inaugural edition which took place over two days in 1999. The festival later added its second weekend in 2012.

A 2018 lawsuit filed against Coachella’s radius clause, which forbids acts from playing other North American festivals for five months around the festival, was dismissed last month.

The dates for next year’s Coachella are yet to be announced.

Coachella 2019: weekend one round-up

The first weekend of Goldenvoice’s California-based festival took place from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 April, with headline performances from Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande.

Tickets for weekend one of the 125,00-capacity festival sold out in just forty minutes this year. Here’s what ticket holders experienced over Coachella’s opening weekend…

Ariana  Grande broke records as Coachella’s youngest-ever headliner, whereas Blackpink became the first all-female K-pop group to play at the festival.

Grande appeared on stage with a host of guests including *Nsync (without Justin Timberlake), Diddy, Mase and Nicky Minaj. Technical difficulties related to microphones affected Grande’s set, along with that of other performances over the weekend.

Donald Glover, who performs as Childish Gambino, was one among several acts to pay tribute to the late rappers Nipsey Hussle and Mac Miller.

Gambino also used the festival to premier the film Guava Island, in which he stars alongside Rhianna. The film is available to stream for free via the Coachella YouTube channel and Amazon Prime for the duration of the festival.

New additions
Coachella debuted its new augmented reality (AR) experience over the weekend at its AR-enabled Sahara Tent stage, where acts including Jaden Smith, Kid Cudi, Whiz Khalifa and Diplo performed.

“We want to provide fun and cutting edge experiences for the people who attend the show”

Fans were able to access AR filters through their phones using the Coachella Camera page of the festival app, superimposing outer space-themed objects onto the festival stage and throughout the tent. Festivalgoers could also save photos and videos of the AR experience.

“We want to provide fun and cutting edge experiences for the people who attend the show,” says a Goldenvoice spokesperson. “During sets, attendees can use a number of different AR filters that react to the audio coming out of the speakers.”

Another new addition at this year’s Coachella came in the form of on-site Amazon Lockers, enabling attendees to order festival-approved items including food products, phone chargers and suncream straight to the lockers on the Empire Polo Club grounds.

Health and safety
A fire broke out in a shower block located in the festival’s campsite, causing panic and distress among festivalgoers, many of whom posted videos of the incident on social media.

Firefighters attended the scene to quench the flames, containing the blaze within half an hour. One trailer was damaged and another destroyed. No injuries were reported.

The incident follows the death of the festival’s lead rigger during set-up on Saturday 6 April.

Coachella is back for weekend two from 19 to 21 April.


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Speedy sell-out for Coachella 2019

Tickets for April’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2019 went on sale at 11 am PST on Friday 4 January. General admission passes for weekend one of the mega-festival had sold out just 40 minutes later, Billboard reports.

A post on the Coachella Twitter account announced that all remaining passes for both weekends of the festival, including shuttle and VIP tickets, had sold out six hours post release.

Event promoter Goldenvoice has since declared that a limited number of additional tickets will be available for purchase by local residents of Coachella Valley, on sale in early February. Buyers must reside in one of a small number of local post codes and will be able to buy just two tickets per weekend.

“General admission passes for weekend one of the mega-festival sold out in just 40 minutes”

Despite seemingly speedy sales, figures are down in comparison with previous years. Tickets for the 2017 and 2018 editions of Coachella sold out in half the time of this year’s batch, with all passes purchased after just three hours.

The festival will take place over two consecutive three-day weekends from 12 April. General admission tickets cost US$429, whereas weekend VIP tickets set buyers back just one dollar short of $1,000.

The 2019 festival will see headliners Childish Gambino, Ariana Grande and Tame Impala perform to fans in the heat of the California desert. It is a year of firsts for the increasingly pop-orientated event, as Grande will become the youngest-ever artist to headline the festival, and the fourth woman to do so.

The subject of headliners has proved controversial this year. Kanye West is believed to have dropped out of the billing in objection to stage restrictions, while Justin Timberlake is similarly rumoured to have backed out of his festival appearance following a persistent vocal cord injury.


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Coachella announces 2019 line-up

Goldenvoice has announced the line-up for April’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2019.

Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande will headline both weekends of the 125,000-capacity mega-festival, which returns to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, on 12–14 April and 19–21 April.

Other notable performers include Janelle Monáe (pictured), the 1975, Khalid, Diplo, Weezer, Aphex Twin, Zed, Billie Eilish, Bassnectar and Christine and the Queens.

According to US gossip site TMZ (so take with a hefty pinch of salt), Kanye West pulled out at the last minute after a dispute over the size of the festival’s stages.

“It’s not the boomers’ Coachella anymore”

The 2019 line-up sees Coachella – widely regarded as marking the beginning of the international festival season – continuing the youth-focused booking philosophy demonstrated by last year’s Beyoncé-headlined event, with music industry pundit Bob Lefsetz writing in his popular Lefsetz Letter column that the bill is “an extremely accurate picture of what’s happening in music today, when it’s less about gravitas than social media presence, when the album is secondary to the single – when it’s not about history but today.”

“It’s not the boomers’ Coachella anymore, nor the Gen-Xers,” he adds.

Coachella 2019 tickets are on sale tomorrow (Friday 4 January) from Coachella.com, with single-weekend general admission passes starting at US$429.

See the full line-up below:

Coachella 2019 line-up


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A&MAs: One Love Manchester team named ‘industry champions’

Ariana Grande, her manager, Scooter Braun, Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn and SJM Concerts’ Simon Moran were tonight honoured as ‘industry champions’ at the sixth Artist & Manager Awards, recognising their efforts in producing the One Love Manchester concert on 4 June 2017, which raised more than £17m for victims of the Manchester Arena bombing and their families.

The Artist & Manager Awards, organised by the Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), celebrate innovation and achievement in the artist management sector. The 2017 ceremony took place this evening (14 November) at south London venue Printworks.

The industry champion award was presented by FAC’s Imogen Heap, who performed with Grande at One Love Manchester, and was accompanied by video messages from Braun and Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester.

“Although this is incredible, I want us to remember that the city of Manchester and all those families are the real heroes,” said Braun. “Sixty thousand people of Manchester came forward and filled that stadium. It was the greatest act of defiance in the face of evil that I’ve ever witnessed, and I will never ever forget it.

“On behalf of myself, Ariana and the rest of the team, I want to say to the city of Manchester, ‘thank you’ – this is your award tonight, and you have taught us all a valuable lesson. Evil will never win.”

Annabella Coldrick, chief executive of the MMF, added: “The terrorist attack at Ariana Grande’s Manchester Arena show was one of the year’s darkest moments, targeting young music fans and their families. It left 22 dead and more than 250 injured. To organise a concert in their memory, and to turn it into a joyous celebration of youth and music, was an incredible achievement.

“I want to say to the city of Manchester: ‘thank you’. This is your award tonight”

“The MMF and FAC are humbled to honour the team behind One Love Manchester, and would like to dedicate this award to all those still impacted by the events of 22 May.”

Other winners at the A&MAs, which was sponsored by Spotify, included Depeche Mode’s longtime manager, Jonathan Kessler, who picked up the Peter Grant award for lifetime achievement, and Tracey Thorn, who was crowned artists’ artist.

The award for manager of the year was presented to Tap Management’s Ben Mawson and Ed Millett by Lana Del Rey, while Rag’n’Bone Man was declared artist of the year, recognising his decade-long journey to success.

Giggs and his management team, Michael ‘Buck’ Maris and Trenton Harrison-Lewis, received the pioneer award from Island Records president Darcus Beese OBE, while Eleven Management’s Niamh Byrne and Regine Moylett received the entrepreneur award for their work on Gorillaz’s album campaign for Humanz. Echo Beach Management’s Jill Hollywood picked up the award for writer/producer manager.

A special tribute was also paid to former MMF president Jon Webster, who stepped down earlier this year to write a book about his experiences at Virgin Records in the 1980s. Performances on the night came from Dermot Kennedy, one of TAP Management’s priority artists, and ATC Managements’ the Boxer Rebellion.

A full list of winners is available from the A&MAs website.


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