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Live Nation president tackles the big questions

Live Nation president and chief financial officer Joe Berchtold has opened up on a myriad of live music topics from breaking acts to the Bruce Springsteen ticket furore in a new interview.

Speaking in a fireside chat at Goldman Sachs Communacopia & Technology Conference on Wednesday (14 September), Berchtold discussed the promoter’s continued success in challenging economic times.

“Every time we have one of these conversations, I’m like, ‘Well, didn’t we declare a recession a month ago?’,” he said.

The company’s most recent financials showed 2022 ticket sales to be outperforming pre-pandemic levels, and Berchtold pointed out: “In August, concert ticket sales for shows this year were up 47% relative to August 2019. We have, at this point, exceeded 100 million tickets sold for shows this year by a fair bit, so no, we’re not seeing any issues in terms of the consumer demand for ticket sales and onsite spending. We continue to feel very good about the priority that our concerts clearly are for fans.”

Here is a selection of Berchtold’s other quotes from the interview…

“Next year’s shaping up to be another very big stadium year. ’23 is looking like another great year for us”

Artists touring for longer…

“Artists are like everybody else – they went without the majority of their income for a couple of years – they’re making 80-90% of their money from touring. So if you’re going to lose that percentage of your income for a few years, you obviously are going to be pretty motivated to get out and start making money again. What we saw was a very strong return on the supply side with artists wanting to get out. Next year’s shaping up to be another very big stadium year. We’re seeing that ’23 is looking like another great year for us.”

“You’re seeing that these artists can rise to a level where they can sell out much faster than ever before”

Acts breaking bigger, faster…

“The digital technology that disrupted the record business sent artists to have to make their money on the road and created a few other things. It created global digital distribution platforms like Spotifys of the world, the Apple Musics, the whoever you want, and that fully democratised the distribution of music. The girl in Des Moines, to Santiago, to Seoul are all hearing that Beyonce album drop at the same minute as everybody else. That is partnered with the rise of the social media platforms – the Instagrams, the TikToks, and so on – where every artist can now become a global star, and they can become a global star much faster. How many people in this room in 2019 had heard of Olivia Rodrigo and Bad Bunny? Or so many of these artists that are now filling arenas and selling out? So you’re seeing that these artists can rise to a level where they can sell out much faster than ever before, while Dave Matthews is still as big as ever. So you’ve got a confluence of massive supply meets latent demand and it’s our job to just sit in the middle and say, how can we help? How can we help pay these artists so that they can be successful out on the road and do so in more markets? It’s really just on how much we can scale and how much we can deliver against that great demand out there.”

“We were getting pilloried for the price of those tickets”

The Springsteen dynamic ticketing furore…

“I think 80% of what’s out there is just is a lack of understanding of how ticketing really works. The recent noise with the Bruce Springsteen ticket pricing was a great example, where we were getting pilloried for the price of those tickets. A lot of people thought that Ticketmaster set the price for those tickets. And for one of the first times ever for us, we had a representative of the artist – his manager – come out and say, ‘No, no, no, we set those prices. We looked around and we looked at what other artists were charging, we looked at secondary. We think he is one of the, if not the most iconic American artists out there. He doesn’t come around very often. And we think those that ticket pricing is fair.’ By the way, those tickets all sold in the first hour. There’s somehow this perception by many that Ticketmaster is this wizard right behind the curtain, who’s pulling a lot of strings, in a way that’s not true. And I think that we need to provide more clarity. There are a lot of things that can change in the ticketing industry that we would be supportive of: moving to all-in pricing, eliminating speculative tickets, making sure there’s declaration on secondary tickets and where they came from, who’s selling them, what the original price was… There are a lot of things that we agree with. And I think that a large chunk of this is just a misperception that somehow there’s this central Ticketmaster that is making decisions that it’s just not making.”

“Yes, our costs are up… But our ticket prices are up, our onsite spending is up and our sponsorship is up. Our per-fan profitability is higher than it ever has been”

Festivals…

“Our festival business is doing great. We’ve already sold 13 million tickets – up over 30% versus ’19 – and we’ll probably end up at 14m tickets. We’ll do over 150 festivals this year and we’ll have by far and away the most profitable year throwing our festivals ever. Yes, our costs are up, we’re like everybody else in the world: labour costs are up, supply chain costs are up, buying fences, stages, steel in Europe, all of those costs are up, absolutely. But our ticket prices are up, our onsite spending is up and our sponsorship is up and as a result of those three, our per-fan profitability across those 14 million fans is higher than it ever has been. Is every festival doing great? Of course not. Festivals are a portfolio like everything else. Usually when you start a festival, you’re going to lose money for a few years. Some of them make it, some of them don’t. It’s like any startup business. I prefer to look at When We Were Young that blew out in Las Vegas. It went from an idea to three sold-out days overnight. The key is having great entrepreneurial, creative people as part of your collection who are coming up with these festivals  – and then we use our infrastructure to help make them happen.”

 


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TM captures $500m for event organisers from resale

Ticketmaster says its dynamic pricing model has captured over $500 million for artists and event organisers from resale markets in 2022.

The company revealed the figure in response to criticism from a US congressman over its dynamic pricing model for Bruce Springsteen’s 2023 tour.

Many fans reacted with uproar after individual tickets reached more than $5,000 via Ticketmaster’s market-based pricing when the first wave of The E Street Band’s US tour dates went on sale in July.

The backlash prompted Bill Pascrell, a representative in Springsteen’s home city of New Jersey, to demand answers from the ticketing firm’s parent company Live Nation.

“I write on behalf of my constituents and fans across the country that are excited for Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band’s 2023 tour,” said Pascrell in a letter to Live Nation boss Michael Rapino. “Hard-working Americans who are fans of Bruce and other popular entertainers should have the ability to enjoy live entertainment without ticket-sales practices that rip off consumers.

“To help fans better understand the frustratingly opaque process that leads to such high prices, I am inquiring about the veracity of the company’s statement, as well as the policies and prices the company has put in place for this tour.”

In a lengthy response reported by Celebrity Access, Ticketmaster reiterates that prices and onsale parameters are set by event organisers, the company.

“The recent Bruce Springsteen tour is a prime example of returning value to artists from the secondary market”

“Dynamic pricing is about capturing more value for the artist at the initial onsale, vs that value going to people reselling tickets on the secondary market,” it says.

“The secondary market sees over $10 billion in ticket sales and continues to grow rapidly. Through Ticketmaster, dynamic pricing has captured over $500 million for event organisers from resale markets in 2022 alone.”

“The recent Bruce Springsteen tour is a prime example of returning value to artists from the secondary market. Ticketmaster was not the only ticketing company selling primary tickets for the Springsteen tour, but the data is compelling.”

Detailing the cost of Springsteen ticket sales on Ticketmaster, the firm says 88.2% of tickets were sold at set prices, with 11.8% of tickets designated “Platinum” (dynamic).  The average price of all tickets sold on the platform was $262, with 1.3% of total tickets across the shows sold for more than $1,000.

In addition, 56% were sold for under $200, 11% between $150 and $200, 27% between $100 and $150, while 18% of all tickets sold were under $99.

Springsteen’s 2023 run begins on 1 February at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, before heading to Europe in April

Addressing the furore earlier this summer, Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau argued the pricing was in line with shows for acts of a similar stature.

“In pricing tickets for this tour, we looked carefully at what our peers have been doing,” Landau told the New York Times. “We chose prices that are lower than some and on par with others.

“Regardless of the commentary about a modest number of tickets costing $1,000 or more, our true average ticket price has been in the mid-$200 range. I believe that in today’s environment, that is a fair price to see someone universally regarded as among the very greatest artists of his generation.”

Springsteen’s most recent tour – 2016/17’s The River Tour – was the highest grossing worldwide tour of 2016, earning $268.3m over 76 shows. His 2023 run begins on 1 February at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, before heading to Europe in April.

 


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Springsteen manager defends tour ticket prices

Bruce Springsteen’s manager has responded to the furore over ticket prices for the singer’s 2023 tour.

Many fans reacted with uproar after individual tickets reached more than $5,000 via Ticketmaster’s “dynamic” market-based pricing when the first wave of The E Street Band’s US tour dates went on sale last week.

But The Boss’ manager Jon Landau insists the pricing is in line with shows for acts of a similar stature, while the average ticket price is around $250.

“In pricing tickets for this tour, we looked carefully at what our peers have been doing,” says Landau in a statement to the New York Times. “We chose prices that are lower than some and on par with others.

“Regardless of the commentary about a modest number of tickets costing $1,000 or more, our true average ticket price has been in the mid-$200 range. I believe that in today’s environment, that is a fair price to see someone universally regarded as among the very greatest artists of his generation.”

Ticketmaster says that platinum tickets account for 11.2% of the total sold, stressing that the remainder of the allocation sold at fixed prices ranging from $59.50 to $399.

Data released by the ticketing platform, reported by Variety showed the average price of tickets sold so far as $262, with 56% sold for under $200. Of that 56%, 18% were sold for under $99, 27% fetched between $100 and $150, and 11% cost between $150 and $200. Ticketmaster adds that only 1.3% of total tickets to date have been sold for more than $1,000.

“Prices and formats are consistent with industry standards for top performers”

“Prices and formats are consistent with industry standards for top performers,” said a Ticketmaster statement.

The tour’s opening US arena shows comprise more than 30 performances, starting at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on 1 February and running through to his 14 April homecoming at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

More than 1.2 million tickets were purchased for the European leg prior to UK dates going on sale earlier this month. The European run kicks off at the 60,000-cap Estadi Olímpic in Barcelona on 28 April and winds up on 25 July in Italy at Prato della Gerascia, Autodromo di Monza.

Springsteen’s most recent tour – 2016/17’s The River Tour – was the highest grossing worldwide tour of 2016, earning $268.3m over 76 shows.

 


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Bruce Springsteen announces 2023 UK dates

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band have announced four huge UK concerts for 2023, including two nights at BST Hyde Park.

The 72-year-old will visit Edinburgh’s BT Murrayfield Stadium (30 May), Villa Park in Birmingham (16 June) and BST in London (6&8 July). Tickets go on general sale next Thursday 21 July.

Springsteen, who is repped by CAA, last visited the UK on 2016’s The River Tour, when he played stadium dates in Manchester, Glasgow, Coventry and London.

Last week, the rocker revealed the tour’s opening US arena shows, which comprise 31 performances, starting at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida on 1 February and running through to his 14 April homecoming at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The tour then heads to Europe.

“No other act in the history of Spanish concerts has sold so many tickets that fast”

More than 1.2 million tickets have already been purchased for the European leg, which kicks off at the 60,000-cap Estadi Olímpic in Barcelona on 28 April and winds up on 25 July in Italy at Prato della Gerascia, Autodromo di Monza. Many cities have added second or third stadium shows due to demand.

Spanish promoter Neo Sala at Doctor Music revealed that demand for the shows helped set a new sales record in the country.

“We went on sale on [8 June] with one Estadi Olímpic, but it sold so fast that in less than an hour we had to add a second show which continued selling equally well,” he told IQ. “By noon… we had sold more than 100,000 tickets which is an absolute record in Spain. No other act in the history of Spanish concerts has sold so many tickets that fast.”

At the conclusion of the European run, the band will begin a second to-be-announced North American tour leg in August.

Springsteen’s 2016/17’s The River Tour was the highest grossing worldwide tour of 2016, earning $268.3m over 76 shows.

 


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Springsteen tour ticket sales top one million

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band have already sold more than one million tickets for their recently announced 2023 European tour dates, it has been revealed.

The European leg kicks off at the 60,000-cap Estadi Olímpic in Barcelona on 28 April and winds up on 25 July in Italy at Prato della Gerascia, Autodromo di Monza.

Spanish promoter Neo Sala at Doctor Music reveals that demand for the shows helped set a new sales record in the country. “We went on sale on Wednesday (8 June) with one Estadi Olímpic, but it sold so fast that in less than an hour we had to add a second show which continued selling equally well,” says Sala, explaining that Doctor Music exclusively used the entradas.com-Eventim ticketing system for the onsale. “By 12 noon on Wednesday we had sold more than 100,000 tickets which is an absolute record in Spain. No other act in the history of Spanish concerts has sold so many tickets that fast.”

The concerts mark the band’s first run since 2016/17’s The River Tour

Due to demand, extra shows have now also been added in Dublin, Oslo, Gothenburg, Paris, Amsterdam and Hockenheim. The tour currently comprises 26 dates, with additional cities and shows in the UK and Belgium set to be announced at a later date.

The tour kicks off in February 2023 with a series of still-to-be-announced US arena dates, with a second North American tour leg scheduled for August.

The concerts mark the band’s first run since 2016/17’s The River Tour, which was the highest grossing worldwide tour of 2016, earning $268.3m over 76 shows.

Springsteen, who is represented by CAA, reprised his 2017/18 Springsteen On Broadway residency last summer to help reopen New York City theatres. Broadway World reports the acclaimed residency generated $113,058,952 from 236 shows at the Walter Kerr Theatre) and 31 at St James Theatre.

 


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Bruce Springsteen unveils 2023 tour dates

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band have announced they will be returning to the road in 2023.

The group will kick off their tour in February with a series of still-to-be-announced US arena dates, followed by European stadium dates starting at Estadi Olímpic in Barcelona on 28 April. A second North American tour leg will then begin in August.

The scheduled European shows are in Barcelona, Dublin, Paris, Ferrara, Rome, Amsterdam, Landgraaf, Zurich, Düsseldorf, Gothenburg, Oslo, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Vienna, Munich and Monza, with additional cities and shows in the UK and Belgium to be announced at a later date.

The concerts mark the band’s first run since 2016/17’s The River Tour, which was the highest grossing worldwide tour of 2016, earning $268.3m over 76 shows.

“After six years, I’m looking forward to seeing our great and loyal fans next year”

“After six years, I’m looking forward to seeing our great and loyal fans next year,” says Springsteen. “And I’m looking forward to once again sharing the stage with the legendary E Street Band. See you out there, next year – and beyond.”

The frontman reprised his 2017/18 Springsteen On Broadway residency last summer to help reopen New York City theatres.

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band’s confirmed 2023 dates are as follows:

28 April: Barcelona, Spain­ Estadi Olímpic
5&7 May: Dublin, Ireland RDS Arena
13 May: Paris, France La Défense Arena
18 May: Ferrara, Italy Parco Urbano G. Bassani
21 May: Rome, Italy Circo Massimo
25 May: Amsterdam, The Netherlands Johan Cruijff ArenA
11 June: Landgraaf, The Netherlands Megaland
13 June: Zurich, Switzerland Stadion Letzigrund
21 June: Düsseldorf, Germany Merkur Spiel Arena
24&26 June: Gothenburg, Sweden Ullevi
30 June: Oslo, Norway Voldsløkka
11&13 July: Copenhagen, Denmark Parken
15 July: Hamburg, Germany Volksparkstadion
18 July: Vienna, Austria Ernst Happel Stadion
23 July: Munich, Germany Olympiastadion
25 July: Monza, Italy Prato della Gerascia, Autodromo di Monza

 


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$1bn artists line up global tours as confidence builds

Some of the world’s biggest artists, collectively worth more than US$1 billion in ticket revenue between 2018 and 2020, will hit the road again in 2021 and ’22, as confidence builds for a return to international touring over the next 12 months.

Sir Elton John, Celine Dion, Metallica, Michael Bublé, Guns N’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen and Eagles – all of whom ranked among the highest-grossing tours of 2018, 2019 and 2020, grossing more than $1bn between them – have in recent weeks revealed plans for new or rescheduled global tours, many of them starting as soon as this summer.

Sir Elton has extended his disrupted final tour, Farewell Yellow Brick Road, with a bumper 30-date, six-month stadium run across across mainland Europe, the UK and the United States.

“Hello, all you wonderful fans out there. I’m coming to you today with an announcement I’ve been working towards for, well, all my life: the shows that I announce today will be my final tour dates ever in North America and Europe,” he says in a statement.

“I’m going to go out in the biggest possible way, performing at my very best, with the most spectacular production I’ve ever had, playing in places that have meant so much to me throughout my career.

“Whether it’s next summer in Frankfurt or at the legendary Dodger Stadium for the grand finale in the United States, I can’t wait to see you all on the road one last time. This has been an incredible tour so far, full of the most amazing highs, and I look forward to making more wonderful memories with you at these final shows.”

The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, Sir Elton’s farewell tour, was brought to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic last March, with the last show on 7 March 2020 at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta, Australia. The tour resumes on 1 September at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin and will conclude in Australasia in 2023.

The tour, produced and promoted by AEG Presents, grossed $212 million in 2019 and $71.2m in 2020.

“I’m going to go out in the biggest possible way, performing at my very best”

Springsteen, who grossed an incredible $88.3m from his Springsteen on Broadway shows, which had an average ticket price of $509, in 2018, also has live plans for 2022.

As well as reviving Springsteen on Broadway, Springsteen confirmed to E Street Radio on SiriusXM he is planning a full tour with his E Street Band in 2022. “I knew we were going to tour with the band next year,” he said, “[but] I had a friend who got so enthusiastic about it [Springsteen on Broadway] that he talked me into it sitting on my couch one night. The next day I said, ‘OK, we’ll do some shows.’ It really came around kind of casually.”

Eagles, meanwhile recently added another six dates to their long-delayed Hotel California tour, which kicks off at Madison Square Garden in New York in August.

While the band has only announced the rescheduled US dates so far (the first leg ends at Chase Center in San Francisco on 23 October 2021), pre-pandemic the Live Nation-promoted tour included included dates in London (Wembley Stadium) and Los Cabos, Mexico (Cabo en Vivo), so it is expected that additional European and Latin American shows are still to be announced.

Eagles grossed $166m from their 2018 North American tour.

Metal titans Metallica earlier this month announced six European festival shows for 2022, adding to the open-air shows pencilled in for the US in September, October and November 2021.

“We have waited far too long to say these words: we’re getting back out there”

Under the banner The Return of the European Summer Vacation, the band will play headline shows at Denmark’s Copenhell, the Netherlands’ Pinkpop, Italy’s Firenze Rocks, the Czech Republic’s Prague Rocks, Belgium’s Rock Werchter, Spain’s Mad Cool and Portugal’s NOS Alive. .

“We have waited far too long to say these words: we’re getting back out there and are finally announcing our return to Europe in 2022,” say Metallica in a statement. “Needless to say, we cannot wait to see all of you once again as our European ’tallica Family will finally have a chance to reunite in June and July of next year.”

The festivals next year will be Metallica’s first European shows since their Worldwired global tour, which grossed a total of $179m in 2019.

Elsewhere, Bublé (who grossed $115.8m in 2019 and $24.8m in 2020) is resuming his An Evening With Michael Bublé tour in North America in August, while Dion’s (2020 gross: $71.2m) postponed Courage world tour will finally kick off the same month in Winnipeg.

Also resuming a postponed tour this summer are Guns’ N Roses, whose world stadium tour – newly rechristened We’re F’n’ Back! – will begin at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on 31 July 2021. The tour will include Australasian dates later this year and a string of European stadium shows next summer.

Opening the tour will be the late Eddie Van Halen’s bassist, son Wolfgang, with his band Mammoth WVH.

 


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The decade in live: 2013

The start of a new year and, perhaps more significantly, a new decade is fast approaching – and while many may be thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve plans and well-meaning 2020 resolutions, IQ is casting its mind back to the most pivotal industry moments of the last ten years.

Following on from a few tough years, 2013 was the year the live industry began to sparkle again, thanks to the improvement of several key economies and more favourable weather conditions.

The main issue for the 2013 business, in fact, appeared to be the abundance of tours, which somewhat outnumbered the amount of resources available to handle them.

2013 was also the year when a new generation began to shine, with the likes of Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and One Direction performing well on year-end charts, indicating that the future of live was certainly looking bright.

 


2013 in numbers

In 2013, the top 20 worldwide tours raked in a combined US$2.4 billion, up 24% on the $2bn generated the year before, according to Pollstar.

Bon Jovi once again made the top spot, surpassing their winning 2010 total by almost $60 million and achieving the highest year-end tour total of the year, grossing $259.5m from 2.7m tickets with the Because We Can tour.

Beyoncé’s The Mrs Carter Show came in second with a total gross of $188.6m, followed by Pink’s The Truth About Love with $170.6m. Justin Bieber came hot on the Pink’s heels at fourth, grossing $169m with his second concert tour Believe. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band earned $145.4m, adding to the $210.2m grossed in 2012.

Newcomers also made their mark in 2013, with One Direction scraping into the top ten global tours for the first time with the Take Me Home tour ($114) and Bruno Mars making his first top twenty appearance with Moonshine Jungle tour.

 


2013 in brief

January
Seatwave founder and chief exec Joe Cohen exits the UK-based company, claiming that the secondary ticketing business is in great shape.

Kylie Minogue and her manager of 25 years, Terry Blamey, split, as the artist announces her intention to concentrate on her acting career. Minogue is now represented by Jay-Z’s management company Roc Nation, who also look after Rihanna, MIA and The Ting Tings.

February
Universal sells EMI’s Parlophone label group to Warner Music for an estimated £480m ($764m). The deal effectively means that three record companies now dominate the global market – Universal, Sony and Warner.

March
SFX Entertainment receives an undisclosed financial boost from advertising giant WPP, which counts agencies such as JWT; Grey; and Young & Rubicam in its portfolio. The deal gives SFX a powerful ally as it looks to ramp up its EDM empire.

AEG’s deal to take over the management of Wembley Arena is referred to the Competition Commission in the UK after an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading, which is concerned that AEG has too big an influence over live entertainment in the capital.

The decade in live: 2013

Wembley Stadium in 2013 © Wikiolo/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0

April
Princess Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, becomes arguably the most renowned ticket tout in the world, when he resells tickets for his debenture box at the Royal Albert Hall.

New York-based agency Paradigm launches a record label, Big Picnic Records, which boss Marty Diamond intends to use to “support the development of new artists.”

May
Ticketmaster files a lawsuit against a New York man who they allege uses bots to buy as many as 200,000 tickets a day, before the general public can.

Pink smashes her record of 17 shows at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena by booking an 18th date on her The Truth About Love tour. The Australian leg includes 46 shows and is expected to sell more than 500,000 tickets.

June
The promoter and stage supplier are charged in relation to a fatal stage collapse, which claimed the life of Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson in Toronto’s Downsview Park last year.

Live Nation and Insomniac Events confirm rumours of a creative partnership, although the latter’s chief, Pasquale Rotella states Insomniac will remain independent.

The decade in live: 2013

Insomniac promotes EDM festival franchise Electric Daisy Carnival © Global Stomping/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

July
Vince Power sells a major shareholding in Benicàssim Festival to SJM Concerts and Denis Desmond in a deal designed to assure the future of the popular Spanish event. Power will remain MD of the event which this year featured Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Beady Eye, and The Killers.

Vivendi rejects an $8.5bn offer for Universal Music Group from Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank. It’s thought the increasing importance of music services in the mobile market prompted the unsolicited offer.

August
Lady Gaga and Madonna face prosecution in Russia for allegedly performing without proper visas. Both artists are accused of breaking Russia’s new gay propaganda laws, which make it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors.

Agency IMG Worldwide is put up for sale by private equity firm, Forstmann Little & Co, with analysts expecting a price tag of about $2bn.

September
Michael Gudinski’s Frontier Touring agrees a strategic partnership with dance promoter Future Music Festival to present the touring event, which visits five Australian cities and Malaysia next March.

Irving Azoff partners with The Madison Square Garden Company to create Azoff MSG Entertainment. In return for a $125m investment, MSG will own a 50% stake in a company, which will include artist management, TV production, live event branding and digital marketing divisions.

The decade in live: 2013

Benicàssim Festival © Jiquesan/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

October
The jury in the $1.5bn case brought by Michael Jackson’s family against AEG finds that although AEG did employ Dr Conrad Murray, the company was not liable for his negligence.

Austin City Limits organisers are forced to cancel the final day of the US music festival when heavy rain and thunderstorms cause flooding.

November
Scooter Braun, manager of Justin Bieber, is pulling together a management conglomerate thanks to backing from Waddell & Reed Financial. The New York Times says Braun is in talks with several potential partners including Drake and his management team, Shania Twain and Troy Carter (ex Lady Gaga manager).

Live Nation confirms it is negotiating terms to acquire the management companies of U2 and Madonna. The deal to buy Paul McGuinness’s Principle Management and Guy Oseary’s Maverick could cost about $30m with Oseary taking over management of both operations.

December
Talent agency William Morris Endeavour acquires IMG Worldwide in a $2.3bn deal backed by private equity group Silver Lake.

SFX Entertainment pays $16.2m for a 75% stake in Dutch- based ticketing operation Paylogic, which counts 2,000 clients across its offices in Groningen, Amsterdam, Berlin and Antwerp.

The decade in live: 2013

Claude Nobs, Montreux Jazz founder (1936-2013) © Yvan Hausmann @ MJF/Yvanhausman (CC BY-SA 3.0)

 


Who we lost

Notable industry deaths in 2013 include Claude Nobs, Montreux Jazz Festival founder and GM, 76; Modern World founder Henning Tögel, 58; Cecil Womack, The Valentinos and Womack & Womack singer, aged 65; Live Nation Denmark CEO Flemming Schmidt, 63; German promoter Fritz Rau, 83; Edwin Shirley, founder of Edwin Shirley Trucking and Edwin Shirley Staging, 65; Danish live music impresario Arne Worsøe, 72; Velvet Underground singer and guitarist and solo artist Lou Reed, 71.

 


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Advocates urge New Jersey to veto changes to ticket holdback law

A group of US secondary ticketing advocates have penned a letter urging New Jersey governor Phil Murphy not to sign a bill which would abolish 17 year-old laws capping ticket holdbacks to 5%. Already a controversial move, the bill was made even more so by the fact it was quietly fast-tracked through legislature without any public hearings on the matter.

Now, Scot X. Esdaile of US Minority Ticketing Group (USMTG), Tom Patania of NJ Ticket Brokers, Gary Adler of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) and Darnell Goldson of TicketNetwork have come together to urge Murphy to reconsider the proposed changes, which have been heavily pushed by venue owners in the state.

In the letter, the group stress the need for the live event sector to be centred on consumers and their protection. It points out that while the new amendments operate under the guise of being consumer-friendly with some good measures, the overall outcome would harm both consumers and local small businesses alike.

This sentiment is echoed by Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of the NJ Citizen Action advocacy group. Reacting to the proposed bill, she admits some of the parts of the bill are positive, but questions “why, at the same time, it’s removed some really important consumer protections, like the 5%.” She also pointed out the necessity for public hearings, saying: “These were all things we would have talked about if we had the opportunity go to a hearing and testify.”

“These were all things we would have talked about if we had the opportunity go to a hearing and testify”

The letter calls on research by the New York Attorney General which found more than 50% of tickets are commonly held back from big concerts and shows. A smaller pool of available tickets leads to soaring ticket prices and frustrated fans. This was certainly the case in 2009, when New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen held back some 2,262 tickets (12%) from public sale. Sixty per cent of the ten best sections in the venue were holdbacks, with only 108 of the seats closest to the stage available to the public.

Alongside the criticism of the removal of 5% on holdbacks, the letter also points out a number of other faults with the bill. Proposed changes would remove consumer protections regarding season ticket holders being able to lawfully sell tickets back to the venue for events they aren’t able to attend.

It also adds uncertainty to consumers’ ability to gift, sell or donate tickets they have purchased – the bill gives power to ticket issuers to revoke tickets for any reason without conditions.

However, as stated by consumer advocates and politicians alike, the bill does propose some important, consumer-friendly measures. These include a ban on venues overbooking concerts, a ban on ‘bot’ technology and a clear refund policy.

 


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#stopticketabuse: Spanish Boss fan petitions govt

The president of Bruce Springsteen’s Spanish fan club today launched a petition aimed forcing government to take action on for-profit secondary ticketing sites.

Joan Colet, president of the Stone Pony Club, is hoping to gather half a million signatures to present to Spain’s minister of justice, Rafael Catala Polo, minister of education, culture and sports, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, and state secretary for culture, Fernando Benzo Sainz, calling for a crackdown on the “robbery of real fans of live music” by ticket brokers.

Bruce Springsteen shows were at a centre of the secondary ticketing controversy that erupted in Spain last year, with promoter Doctor Music taking legal action – still ongoing – against several sites it accuses of “defrauding” consumers.

This was followed in February by a similar lawsuit by Berry Producciones against Viagogo and the establishment of the Anti-Resale Alliance by singer Alejandro Sanz.

“Live music fans need a government ban on the resale for profit of live music tickets”

Méndez de Vigo pledged on 8 March to “regulate” the online ticket resale market, although no concrete measures have yet been announced.

“Live music fans need a government ban on the resale for profit of live music tickets, so that we can return to buying tickets at their agreed price without risk of being ripped off,” comments Colet, who is using the hashtag #stopticketabuse to spread word about the petition.

“I have created this petition in order to gather the 500,000 signatures that will allow me to present our case to make Congress, the government and the judiciary take the necessary legislative and judicial measures so as to end the robbery of real fans of live music by a few unscrupulous people who profit at their expense.”

The petition went live on Change.org earlier today.

 


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