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Goodlive rejoins operations for Lollapalooza Berlin

Berlin-headquartered festival, booking and services agency Goodlive is re-joining the organisation and production of Lollapalooza Berlin.

C3 Presents, Festival Republic and Goodlive launched Lolla Berlin in 2015 with seasoned festival pro Fruzsina Szép part of the leadership team for the festival until 2020 when Goodlive launched Superbloom in Munich.

For the last three years, Lolla Berlin has been produced by C3 Presents and Live Nation GSA (Germany Switzerland Austria). With the latter now a majority shareholder of Goodlive, all three parties will work on the festival with Szép as festival director.

“I loved Lolla Berlin,” says Szép. “Two weeks ago I went for a site visit in Berlin and it felt so great to be back on site and to feel the energy of the space again.”

With Superbloom and Lolla Berlin taking place on the same weekend (7-8 September) more than 300 miles apart, joint festival teams are set to be busier than ever.

“Two weeks ago I went for a site visit in Berlin and it felt so great to be back on site and to feel the energy of the space again”

Whether the festivals will act as twin events is yet to be seen, depending on football calendars, but there are advantages when it comes to synergies on production and booking, according to Szép.

The festival’s 2024 lineups share more than a dozen acts, including Sam Smith, Burna Boy, The Chainsmokers, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Loyle Carner, Nothing But Thieves, The Sacred Souls, Chappell Roan and Apashe with Brass Orchestra.

Another similarity between Superbloom and Lolla Berlin is their sites – both taking place in the Olympic Stadiums of their respective cities – but Szép stresses that both venues are “pretty different”.

“They both have their strong character and history to tell,” she says. “With Superbloom, even in year three, we are still learning how to adjust some of our stages and experience areas to have even more comfort, happiness and beauty for our guests.

“With Lolla Berlin, it is nice to be ‘back home’ in an area that I know well. We will make some changes and adjustments that are important for the customer journey to feel good on site.

“I’m a very visual person and also pretty emotional so in my heart I am already thinking about further developments for the future. In 2025 it will be the 10th anniversary of Lolla Berlin so we have some innovative ideas in our pocket that we’d love to realize.”

 


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DreamHaus hires three to festival team

Berlin-based promoter DreamHaus is strengthening its festival team with three new hires: Jana Posth, Marlene Ryba and Johanna Neuber.

All three executives will work on the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, which DreamHaus has been responsible for since 2022 after it was acquired by CTS Eventim.

Jana Posth takes over the position as head of festival operations/festival director Rock am Ring. She has held roles in the events sector for 10 years, including managing the Lollapalooza Festival in Berlin.

“With fresh ideas and their great know-how in the field of festivals, Jana, Marlene and Johanna enrich our team enormously”

Marlene Ryba assumes the role of senior communications & PR manager of festivals, having previously worked in the PR department at Lollapalooza.

And Johanna Neuber, who has been active in the music industry for five years, joins the team as a junior project and event manager.

“With fresh ideas and their great know-how in the field of festivals, Jana, Marlene and Johanna enrich our team enormously and contribute to the future-oriented development of Rock am Ring/Rock im Park,” says Marc Seemann, director of strategy & business development.

 


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Why are major tours bypassing Berlin?

Concerns have been raised over a lack of venue availability in Berlin after AC/DC became the latest major act to skip the German capital on their upcoming tour.

The rock band’s Power Up Tour – their first trek in eight years – will stop in Gelsenkirchen, Munich, Dresden, Hockenheim, Stuttgart and Hannover this summer.

Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour visited Cologne, Hamburg and Frankfurt in 2023, while Adele is set to perform 10 nights in Munich this year and Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour will play multiple nights in Gelsenkirchen, Hamburg and Munich.

According to Berliner-Zeitung, the only venue in Berlin capable of hosting events of such scale is the 75,000-cap Olympiastadion (Olympic Stadium), which is home to football club Hertha Berlin and is booked for the UEFA Euro 2024 international tournament in June/July.

“For 2024, we had already informed all of our concert organisers in advance that due to the hosting of the UEFA Euro 2024 with six games including the final on July 14th, no concerts could take place in the Olympiastadion Berlin this summer due to scheduling reasons,” says a spokesman for the Olympiastadion.

“A new stadium will simply have to be built so that Berlin can be included in the tour dates again in the future”

AC/DC’s German tour organiser United Promoters also explains why Berlin was not included in the plan for the 2024 tour.

“It is due to the scheduling availability of the Berlin Olympic Stadium,” says a spokesperson.

Berliner-Zeitung concludes that the city requires more stadium-sized venues.

“A new stadium will simply have to be built so that Berlin can be included in the tour dates again in the future – but then please be as big as BER airport,” it says. “Only the construction should go a little faster, because who knows whether AC/DC will come to Germany again in 14 years and whether Adele and Co. will have been completely convinced by the Munich white sausage.”

 


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Uber and AEG Europe seal Berlin venue partnership

Uber and AEG Europe have inked the largest naming rights partnership in Germany.

The companies have agreed a long-term deal for AEG’s two venues in Berlin-Friedrichshain, as well as the surrounding entertainment district.

From 22 March, Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena and Verti Music Hall will be renamed Uber Arena and Uber Eats Music Hall, respectively – alongside the adjacent restaurants, cinema and bowling alley that make up Uber Platz (currently Mercedes Platz) – in a first-of-its-kind deal in the market.

“In Uber we have gained an innovative, globally renowned brand, who like AEG Europe, are passionate about creating a best-in-class customer journey and guest experience,” says Paul Samuels, EVP for AEG Global Partnerships. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Uber and look forward to opening the doors of the Uber Arena and Uber Eats Music Hall for the first time in an official capacity on 22 March, yet also extend our appreciation to Mercedes-Benz and Verti, whom Uber succeeds as naming rights partner, for their collaboration over the past eight and six years respectively.”

“This one-of-a-kind investment is a big testament to our commitment to German cities and in particular to Berlin’s art, culture and sports scene”

Attracting 1.5 million visitors a year, the Uber Arena (cap. 17,000) opened in 2008 and was recently ranked the second highest-grossing arena in the world. The neighbouring Arthur Award-nominated 4,350-capacity Verti Music Hall, meanwhile, launched in 2018.

“We couldn’t hope for a better way to celebrate Uber’s 10th anniversary in Germany,” adds Uber Germany head Christoph Weigler. “This one-of-a-kind investment is a big testament to our commitment to German cities and in particular to Berlin’s art, culture and sports scene.”

The Mercedes-Benz brand will be staying on board as a partner of the Uber Arena in a more general capacity. While specific plans will be announced in the coming months, Uber – in close partnership with AEG Europe – is aiming to elevate guest experience at all levels, from transport arrival and departure, as well as bringing innovative new food and beverage ordering options to events.

 


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AEG Germany recruits Dennis Krause to booking team

AEG has added Dennis Krause to its booking team in Berlin, Germany, effective immediately.

The new senior booking manager will be mainly responsible for booking Verti Music Hall, the 4,350-capacity venue that opened in 2018 at AEG’s Mercedes Platz.

Krause brings over 15 years of experience in the concert and event industry to AEG. Most recently, he worked as an agent for the Hamburg-based a.s.s. concerts & promotion, where he was responsible for concert and tour booking for international artists.

“We are sure that Dennis, with his large network and his background as an agent, is the right person to take the venue forward”

Prior to that, he worked as head of A&R for Prime Tours & Promotion, a Berlin-based company specialising in promoting and artist development.

“Verti Music Hall can look back on a record year and we are sure that Dennis, with his large network and his background as an agent, is the right person to take the venue forward,” says Dirk Dreyer, general manager of the Verti Music Hall.

Dreyer recently spoke to IQ about the Verti Music Hall’s best year yet and how the mid-sized venue has established its place in the competitive German market.

Aissata Hartmann-Sylla, senior director booking AEG Berlin, adds: “I know Dennis as an excellently networked and respected agent and am delighted that we have been able to secure him for us.”

AEG Germany also comprises Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena (cap. 17,000) and Hamburg’s Barclays Arena (15,000).

 


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DEAG reaches ‘new level’ of earnings in 2023

Deutsche Entertainment (DEAG) has announced a “new level of revenue and earnings” in 2023, thanks to a consolidation break and the industry’s full recovery after Covid-19.

The German live entertainment company today reported earnings for the first nine months of the 2023 financial year, driven by its “own formats, the successful buy and build strategy, and the outperformance in the ticketing business”.

Compared to the pre-Covid year 2019, revenue increased by 73.3% from €123.1 million to €213.3m. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) also rose significantly from €8m in the first nine months of 2019 to €13.8m (+72.5%) in the first nine months of the current financial year.

Adjusted EBITDA (EBITDA excluding the bonus programme for 25 executives – which expires at the end of this year) amounts to €15m.

DEAG says it now generates around half of its consolidated revenue from its own event formats, the tickets for which are sold mainly and, in many areas, exclusively via its own ticketing platforms, myticket.de, myticket.at, myticket.co.uk, gigantic.com and tickets.ie.

The fourth quarter is already shaping up to be the strongest in terms of sales in the history of the Group’s own platforms, according to the results, with more than three million tickets sold so far for upcoming events.

In the third quarter of 2023, DEAG generated revenue of €90.7m, compared to €101.7m in the same period of the previous year, and EBITDA of €8.7m (previous year: €10.2m).

For the full year 2023, DEAG is aiming for revenue of more than €300m

For the full year 2023, DEAG is aiming for revenue of more than €300m and “remains committed to its goal of high operating profitability”. In 2022, the company reported the highest revenue and EBITDA in the company’s 45-year history at €325m and said it expected 2023 to surpass that.

The Berlin-based promoter and ticket agency says it will continue to play an active role in the consolidation of the live entertainment industry in Europe and drive its growth both organically and through M&As. To further accelerate its growth, is also continuing to examine all equity financing options, including a possible stock market listing.

The company has only been private for the last two years, having accepted a takeover offer from its largest single shareholder, Apeiron Investment Group, and its Malta-based subsidiary Musai Capital in 2021. Prior to that, the company was public for 23 years.

“DEAG’s growth in 2023 exceeds our expectations,” says Prof. Peter Schwenkow, CEO of DEAG.”Without acquisitions in the current year and without significant catch-up effects as in 2022, the company has reached a new level of revenue and earnings compared to the pre-pandemic period. We are particularly pleased with the development in the ticketing and Services businesses.

“DEAG is succeeding in selling an increasing share of tickets for concerts and events via its own ticketing platforms. The share of sales by third parties is also increasing. We will continue on our successful growth path, as M&A will remain a building block of our strategy. We are in advanced discussions with potential companies and will continue to establish new companies abroad.”

DEAG has interests in Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland, Ireland and Denmark. Its group includes Kilimanjaro Group (UK), Wizard Promotions (DE), UK Live, My Ticket (DE, AT, UK) and Belladrum Tartan Heart festival (UK).

 


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Berlin’s Future of Festivals conference reveals agenda

Germany’s Future of Festivals conference will return to ARENA Berlin for a third time, uniting organisers, service providers, associations, decision-makers and trainees from the festival sector.

Taking place on 24 and 25 November, participants can expect panel discussions, keynotes, masterclasses and over 200 exhibitors showcasing their latest innovations and sustainable products for the next festival season.

The 2023 edition will feature over 100 speakers including Steven Raspa (co-founder of the Burning Man Festival), Sarah Mackenzie (creative director of the MUTEK Festival in Montreal), Kristine Barenholdt (head of the circular Lab at the Roskilde Festival) and Holger Hübner (founder of Wacken Open Air).

Panels will address topics such as the impact of weather on festivals, the role of AI in organising events and the ramifications of the surge in touring

Panels will address topics such as the impact of weather on festivals (Forest Fire Level 5), the role of AI in organising events (Rave, Rock, Robots: AI and the Future of Festivals), and the ramifications of the surge in touring (Is the touring boom hurting festivals?).

This year’s instalment will also premiere a new stage at the Festival Campus, funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises, which will feature sessions on self-employment, the creation of new training professions, solutions to the prevailing shortage of skilled workers and challenges with young talent.

Other speakers include Yvonne Heckl (VMS/Oktoberfest), Oliver Vordemvenne (I Motion), Jonas Niersmann (Parookaville), Inga Jacobsen (Zurück zu Den Wurzeln Festival), Tobias Zwiebel (Full Force Festival), Hanna Mauksch (Lollapalooza) and Jonas Rhode (M’era Luna Festival/ FKP Scorpio).

For more information and tickets, visit: www.futureoffestivals.com

 


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Verti Music Hall GM on the venue’s best year yet

Verti Music Hall GM Dirk Dreyer has told IQ how the mid-sized venue has established its place in the German market and achieved its best year yet.

The 4,350-capacity venue, which is nominated for an Arthur Award, opened in 2018 at AEG’s Mercedes Platz, a mixed-use entertainment district neighbouring the Mercedes-Benz Arena (cap. 17,000) in Berlin.

“We needed a lot of arguments to enter the market because there are already plenty of music venues in Berlin – and plenty our size,” says Dreyer, listing off its closest competitors, Tempodrom and Columbiahalle (both 3,500), “We needed to differentiate and find unique points.”

“Our strongest USP is our production capabilities and acoustics – and artists and promoters are recognising this,” he continues. “Often, mid-sized venues are former theatres or cinemas or gyms, or they are used as sports venues. Verti Music Hall is more or less the only mid-sized venue in Germany that is built for music.

“The ceiling is 16 metres high, which is why we get a lot of arena-sized productions here. Dermot Kennedy played the O2 in London and Macklemore played the Lanxess Arena in Cologne and they both played with us. Hans Zimmer rehearsed here with his full orchestra, a week before his arena show, and was able to squeeze the whole production into the venue. The rigging load is 200 tonnes, which is more than the Mercedes-Benz Arena. In terms of the acoustics, the venue is all sound panels so there’s no delay and echo. Sound people love it and so do the artists.”

“Our strongest USP is our production capabilities and acoustics”

Another aspect of Verti Music Hall that’s favoured by promoters, Dreyer says, is the arena-level expertise offered to acts playing the mid-sized venue.

“I can rely on a great team of experts in booking, event management, production management, hospitality and facility management but also the whole overhead structure [of AEG Germany] is shared. The experience of the team is something that is really well greeted by the promoters because the treatment is top notch.”

The synergy between AEG’s mid-sized venue and arena has also proved useful for agents when planning a trajectory for their artists.

“We see Verti Music Hall as a stepping stone for the artists,” explains Dreyer. “If you’re unsure where to position your artist and you place them at Verti Music Hall, there’s the opportunity to upgrade which is a huge benefit. So for example, George Ezra, who was one of the first artists to play the music hall in 2018, sold out the arena this year. Lewis Capaldi, same story.

“The downside of this is the upgrades. We’ve already lost The 1975 next spring to the arena because they sold out so quickly. For me and Verti Music Hall, it’s bad news but for the artist and AEG, it’s great news,” he laughs.

While the GM says Verti Music Hall is still in “the ramp-up” phase of creating awareness among promoters and agents, its nomination for The Venue Award (The First Venue To Come Into Your Head) says otherwise – as does the venue’s record year in 2023.

“The demand in general is higher and the demand for Verti Music Hall is higher than last year”

“We have been in full effect now for more or less than 18 months [since restrictions relaxed],” he says. “Since April last year, we’ve had 170 utilisation days including special events and corporate events, plus spend-per-head has increased.”

A questionnaire to visitors found that 75% of respondents had attended the venue before while, some artists, including Jack White, Architects, War On Drugs and the Lumineers have already returned to the stage for a second time. “So you get in this rhythm that other established venues have had for decades where the band returns every two years,” says Dreyer.

Concerts for 2024 are already stacking up, according to the GM, with scheduled concerts from the likes of Jason Derulo, Zara Larsson, Dave Matthews Band and Róisín Murphy. “I am also very much looking forward to Black Pumas and Slash returning to Verti Music Hall next year, as well as and the country festival C2C,” says Dreyer.

“We were used to a booking window of three to six months and this has definitely extended to six to 12 months,” he says. “So obviously the demand in general is higher and the demand for Verti Music Hall is higher than last year.”

While the venue seems to be successfully overcoming teething problems, there’s still a laundry list of issues in the wider market that are lingering, according to Dreyer.

“It’s not only the post-Covid situation, it’s the energy crisis, inflation, challenges in staffing and the availability of experts and materials,” he explains. “Getting a truck driver these days seems to be a difficult challenge. Also, the habits of concertgoers have slightly changed; everyone seems to be on a budget right now, so they might spend their money more wisely. Plus we have a new generation of concertgoers, as well as artists that are on stage for the very first time. We’re not really back to normal but it’s the new normal – I think it will never be like it was –  but on the whole, I must say everything more or less has changed for the better.”

 


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Pitchfork Music Festival to launch in Mexico City

Pitchfork Music Festival is launching in Mexico City next year, following editions in Chicago, London, Berlin and Paris.

The event will take place from 6 to 9 March 2024 across venues including Foro Indie Rocks!, Frontón Bucareli, Fünk Club and Yu Yu.

The first acts will be announced in the coming months, along with more venues.

“With its incredible and diverse music scene, Mexico City is a natural home for our festival,” said Pitchfork’s editor-in-chief, Puja Patel.

“With its incredible and diverse music scene, Mexico City is a natural home for our festival”

“We look forward to championing a lineup of local and international artists, and, as always, creating space for music discovery and community. I’m especially grateful to our partners at Indie Rocks for sharing our vision and bringing it to life.”

Pitchfork Plus passes are available for 4,400 Mexican pesos, and grant access to four venue shows and three club shows.

Pitchfork Standard passes are also available for 3,400 Mexican pesos, and grant access to four venue shows.

The Pitchfork Music Festival launched in 2006 in Union Park, Chicago. In 2011, the festival’s first spin-off event took place in Paris at the 15,000-capacity Grande Halle de la Villette.

In 2019, the festival launched in Berlin at the 3,500-capacity Tempodrom, featuring a mix of established artists and emerging musicians. And in 2021, the first edition of Pitchfork Music Festival London took place.

 


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Mercedes-Benz Arena marks 15 years in business

The Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin has welcomed more than 18.1 million guests at 1,992 events since opening 15 years ago, according to operator AEG Europe.

Beyoncé, Billie Eilish, BLACKPINK, ABBA, Arctic Monkeys, Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, Bruno Mars, BTS, Coldplay, Celine Dion, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Paul McCartney, Post Malone, Rihanna, Rod Stewart, Shawn Mendes and Slayer are among the artists that have performed at the 17,000-seater arena over the years.

The multi-purpose indoor arena opened on 10 September 2008 with a concert by American heavy metal band Metallica.

“15 years of Mercedes-Benz Arena means 15 years of highlights and unforgettable moments,” says Ole Hertel, vice president and managing director. “One thing is certain: a cosmopolitan city like Berlin would no longer be imaginable without an event venue of this size and quality. We will continue to strive to provide the ideal setting for top-class entertainment in the future. In the past twelve months, we have seen how people are drawn to unique live experiences. That’s why we’re looking forward to the next 15 years with excitement and optimism, despite all the current and certainly future challenges.”

“A cosmopolitan city like Berlin would no longer be imaginable without an event venue of this size and quality”

During the twelve-month period from the beginning of July 2022 to the end of June 2023, 192 events took place in the Mercedes-Benz Arena including concerts from Robbie Williams, Chris Brown, and Måneskin.

In the recently published Global Arenas Guide 2023, Hertel discussed a new trend of last-minute ticket purchasing in Germany. “If shows don’t sell out immediately then people are buying tickets rather late, and hat has changed a bit since the pandemic. People are probably looking at their monthly budgets, and once they find out they’ve got a little bit more money to spend, they’re going to buy a ticket and it might be within the last week or so.”

Hertel revealed that 2022 was a record year for the arena, with 171 events held. “The most we ever had [previously] was 156 in 2018. That is really remarkable. 2023 is almost going to be like that.”

Upcoming events at Mercedes-Benz Arena include Fred again…, Blink-182, Ayliva, Felix Lobrecht and Two Steps From Hell.

Alongside concerts, the Mercedes-Benz Arena is also home to the Eisbären Berlin ice hockey club and the Alba Berlin basketball team, and is used for other ice hockey, basketball and handball matches. During the last 15 years, the arena opened its doors 1,023 times for sporting events.

 


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