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Report: 5G to bring £2.3bn to live industry by 2030

Research from mobile operator O2 has shown that 5G, or super high-speed mobile internet, could be set to boost the live entertainment industry by as much as £2.3 billion in the next ten years.

In the wake of the launch of O2’s 5G mobile internet in October 2019, and the concomitant partnership with music-focused virtual reality platform MelodyVR, the company commissioned consultancy Ovum to conduct the 5th Generation Entertainment report.

Up to 100 times faster than 4G internet and with the capacity for 1 million users per square kilometre (as opposed to 4,000 with 4G), the rollout of 5G presents many opportunities for the live industry, as will be discussed in detail at the 5G workshop at the International Live Music Conference in March.

The report findings show how 5G will improve fan experience and engagement through the enhancement of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), live streaming and smart ticketing.

Fans unable to attend a show will be able to purchase a high-quality livestream and watch in VR or AR. Viewers will also be able to personalise the experience, opting to focus on specific elements of a live event, enabling brands to target advertising. O2 is also looking into the possibility of broadcasting live through high-definition cameras on British television network ITV.

Pre-show opportunities include AR-assisted shopping that allows fans to virtually try on merchandise and order for collection at the show. Similar advance ordering systems can also apply to food and drink purchases, with real-time analytics allowing fans to find the quietest bar, easily navigate around venues and meet up with friends.

“5G will revolutionise live entertainment”

Event organisers may also capitalise on the superfast network to send personalised highlight reels directly to fans’ devices after the show.

“Through our sponsorships with England Rugby, The O2 Arena and 20 iconic O2 Academy venues, we aim to engage fans with relevant, useful and exciting experiences before, during and after a live event,” comments O2’s head of sponsorship Gareth Griffiths, who will present ILMC’s 5G workshop along with AEG Europe’s David Jones, O2/Telefónica UK’s Brendan O’Reilly and production manager Chris Vaughan on 5 March.

“The low-latency and superfast connectivity of 5G, underpinned by fan insights, bold branding and customer benefits, enables us to tailor these experiences to the diverse audiences we see at our venues in real-time.

“Whether for an England Rugby fan at Twickenham, a Kano fan at O2 Victoria Warehouse Manchester or an Elton John fan at The O2, 5G will revolutionise live entertainment.”

David Jones, senior vice president of IT at AEG, owner of the O2 Arena, adds that 5G is set to particularly enhance the use of augmented reality and virtual reality technology.

“The O2 is at the forefront of O2’s 5G rollout in the UK, and I’m eager to see how the creative people who produce the hundreds of events each year at The O2 will embrace 5G and the technologies it enables, and use it to deliver fun and engaging experiences for fans,” says Jones.


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5G enables Bastille AR livestream

High-speed mobile internet allowed fans across the UK to livestream a surprise Bastille concert in augmented reality, in EE’s latest demonstration of its 5G technology.

The band, who are currently on tour in the UK and Ireland, performed at Birmingham New Street train station on Thursday (28 November).

Fans in Liverpool Lime Street station and Edinburgh’s Shore Street station also viewed the show, using Samsung 5G devices and Nreal’s mixed reality glasses for a full AR experience.

The show forms part of a new EE advert, due to be aired from January 2020. EE was the first provider to make its 5G network available to UK customers in May last year, followed by Vodafone in June, Three in August and, most recently, O2 in October.

“With 5G, our customers can enjoy immersive experiences no matter where they are, even during their commute and in the busiest places,” comments Pete Jeavons, marketing communications director at BT and EE.

“This AR performance from Bastille in three cities simultaneously, is a great demonstration of what’s now possible for our customers with 5G”

“We’re saying goodbye to the days of refreshing our screens while waiting to get out of the station into a less congested area. This extraordinary AR performance from Bastille in three cities simultaneously, is a great demonstration of what’s now possible for our customers with 5G.”

In its annual entertainment and media outlook report, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) pegged the widespread availability of 5G as a “trend to keep an eye on”. Access to 5G, said a technology expert at the firm, is likely to increase the use of concert live streams and virtual reality (VR) concert, as well as prompting “better use of AI (artificial intelligence)”.

Speaking in IQ’s European Arena Yearbook 2019, Gil Murphy, head of event technology at Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe stated that 5G connectivity is “the next technological leap” for arenas, noting that “great connectivity […] is one of the basic components of the live experience.”

The AEG-backed MTS Live Arena in Moscow, due to open next year, will be among those to provide 5G to its customers.


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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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