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Magnificent 7: Bruno Mars’ historic Tokyo stand

Bruno Mars is set to make history in Japan with seven sold-out shows at the 55,000-capacity Tokyo Dome in early 2024.

The American singer-songwriter and producer returns to the venue between 11-21 January, a little over a year after he sold out five shows at the venue, which amounted to more than 200,000 tickets.

“These shows will be the biggest by any international act in Japan this century,” says Kaori Hayashi of Tokyo-based Hayashi International Promotion (HIP), which is promoting the run alongside Live Nation.

Speaking in the Global Promoters Report 2023, Hayashi suggests that Mars’s achievements in the region recall the heyday of Michael Jackson.

“Bruno has regularly toured Japan and actively promotes his shows here,” adds Hayashi. “I think his incredible success will encourage other artists to invest more time in Japan.”

The star has emerged in recent years as an example to western stars seeking success in the country’s live music landscape, which is dominated by domestic acts.

“I think his incredible success will encourage other artists to invest more time in Japan”

Anecdotally, homegrown talent makes up 90% of Japanese concert ticket sales, though that figure may finally be on course to rise again – and may, according to some reports, have already done so.

“Japan is getting closer to the overseas market as distribution grows and YouTube and TikTok become mainstream,” Naoki Shimizu, president of Creativeman, told IQ in August. “Our goal is to return to the 25% share of western music that existed 20 years ago. Now it is said to be 10%, but I believe that the share has risen to about 15%.”

Creativeman is the operator of the prominent Summer Sonic Festival and one of the leading Japanese promoters, which also includes HIP, Kyodo Tokyo, Fuji Rock promoter Smash, UDO Artists and, given half a chance, a familiar group of eager western newcomers.

Live Nation Japan operates under former UDO Artists executive Kei Ikuta and has made no secret of its ambition to grow its share of a live market ranked second in the world after the US. Likewise, CTS Eventim has identified Japan as a key Asian priority, with Jason Miller at the helm of its Eventim Live Asia operation. AEG Presents is there, too, in partnership with local indie giant Avex Entertainment.

With its massive domestic J-pop industry, Japan does not have a burning need for either international talent or promoters – though Bruno Mars serves as an example that artists who work hard enough can do very well.

Read more about the world’s leading promoters and touring territories in the Global Promoters Report (GPR) 2023, out now.

 


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Brazil’s The Town sells out 500k tickets for debut

The last remaining tickets have been snapped up for the inaugural edition of Brazil’s The Town festival in São Paulo, which will welcome more than 500,000 fans over five days.

The brainchild of Rock in Rio founder Roberto Medina, the 105,000-cap festival launched last weekend at the Interlagos race track, headlined by Post Malone and Bruno Mars from 2-3 September. Other performers included Demi Lovato, Iggy Azalea and Bebe Rexha.

The event broke records by selling 350,000 tickets in less than three hours, selling out three days of the festival. And organisers have now revealed that the last date with tickets still available – tomorrow’s (7 September) show topped by Maroon 5, has now sold out, making the event’s debut a complete sellout.

“We are living history before our eyes,” says Medina, president and creator of Rock World, the company behind The Town and Rock in Rio. “Almost 40 years after the debut of Rock in Rio, in 1985, I feel again the emotion of witnessing the birth of a new festival, with all the quality, structure and scope that São Paulo deserves.

“Now, the party is complete with 500,000 people confirmed for this first edition of The Town”

“What we saw on the first weekend in Cidade da Música will be forever etched in our memory, it was a very special moment. Now, the party is complete with 500,000 people confirmed for this first edition of The Town, experiencing unforgettable days in this magical place.”

The Town wraps up this weekend with bills starring Maroon 5, The Chainsmokers, Joss Stone and Ludmilla (7 September); Foo Fighters, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Garbage and Pitty (9 September) and a second headlined by Mars, also featuring H.E.R., Kim Petras and Iza (10 September). Full-price day tickets cost 815 reals (€152).

The festival has partnered with transportation company the CCR Group, which guarantees that the trains that provide access to the Interlagos Circuit will run 24 hours a day on festival days.

From 2024, Rock World will also take over the running of Lollapalooza Brazil in partnership with C3 Presents. Both are majority owned by Live Nation.

 


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Bruno Mars sells 124k tickets for Israel debut

All 124,000 tickets for Bruno Mars first ever performances in Israel have sold out within hours.

The 37-year-old American will play Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park on 4&7 October, promoted by Live Nation Israel. The 62,000-cap shows reportedly sold out in two hours and six hours, respectively. Tickets were priced from 385 shekels (€100).

The venue has hosted recent shows by acts including Guns N’ Roses and Maroon 5, as well as the Summer in the City festival, which featured the likes of Sam Smith, Robbie Williams, Martin Garrix and Papa Roach.

The Jerusalem Post reports a third show by Mars could also be in the works.

Mars will grace the Starring Georgia festival in Tbilisi, Georgia on 1 October – three days before debuting in Israel

“It depends on Bruno’s schedule and if he can add another show on some other day,” says a source close to the production. “He has more shows in other places and it depends if it will be possible to move all the equipment in time.”

WME client Mars is slated to perform at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium in Seoul on 17-18 June under the banner, Hyundai Card Super Concert 27 Bruno Mars – his first gigs in Korea since 2014. He will also headline two nights at Brazil’s new 105,000-cap festival The Town in São Paulo, with tickets for the 3&10 September dates selling out in just 72 minutes.

Additionally, he will grace the Starring Georgia festival in Tbilisi, Georgia on 1 October – three days before debuting in Israel.

 


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Bruno Mars gig organisers cancel scalped tickets

Promoters of Bruno Mars’ upcoming concerts in South Korea have cancelled dozens of tickets being touted online at almost six times’ face value.

The American singer and songwriter is slated to perform at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium in Seoul on 17-18 June under the banner, Hyundai Card Super Concert 27 Bruno Mars – his first gigs in Korea since 2014.

Tickets went on general sale last month, priced from 77,000 won (€53) to 250,000 won (€172). However, Korea JoongAng Daily reports that despite organiser Live Nation Asia banning the trading of tickets on unauthorised sites, several have changed hands on resale platforms for double their original price, while two ground floor tickets were being offered at 300,000 won (€2,058).

Live Nation has confirmed it intervened and cancelled the initial transactions after discovering more than 60 tickets that were dealt illegally on the secondary market. It says it will continue to check for unauthorised sales.

The shows form part of the 37-year-old’s first tour of Asia in five years

Mars will also play the Philippine Arena in Manila, Philipines, from 24-25 June. The shows form part of the 37-year-old’s first tour of Asia in five years.

His 24K Magic Tour, which garnered US$367.7 million worldwide and is the 17th highest-grossing tour of all-time, stopped off in Japan, Taiwan, China, Macau, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong from April-May 2018.

Mars will also headline two nights at Brazil’s new 105,000-cap festival The Town in São Paulo, with tickets for the 3&10 September dates selling out in just 72 minutes.

 


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Bruno Mars to launch Sydney’s Allianz Stadium

Bruno Mars will launch the newly rebuilt Allianz Stadium in Sydney, Australia with two concerts from 14-15 October.

The 45,000-cap AUD$828 million (€564m) venue will replace the original Sydney Football Stadium, which hosted the likes of U2, Robbie Williams and Red Hot Chili Peppers before closing in 2018.

“It’s incredibly exciting to welcome audiences back to Allianz Stadium in the heart of Sydney and who better to lead the opening celebrations than the legendary, record-breaking artist Bruno Mars,” says Paul Dainty, president and CEO of promoter TEG Dainty. “These opening shows will go down in history as not to be missed.”

“It’s incredibly exciting to welcome audiences back to Allianz Stadium in the heart of Sydney”

Mars last performed in Australia in four years ago as part of his 24K Magic World Tour, which was No.5 in Pollstar‘s 2018 rankings after grossing US$167.6m from 75 concerts. The tour was also the fourth highest-grossing of 2017, generating US$200.1m from 121 performances.

The Allianz Stadium, which boasts 42,500 uncovered seats, will host a free community day headlined by Guy Sebastian and Baker Boy as a warm-up event on 28 August. It also has confirmed shows by Justin Bieber on 30 November and Elton John from 17-18 January 2023.

Germany-headquartered Allianz was announced as the venue’s naming rights partner back in March. The company also has partnerships with venues in Germany, the US, Austria, Italy, Brazil and France.

Through our stadium partnerships, we are committed to bringing communities together to enjoy an array of sport, international concerts and important cultural events,” said Allianz Australia MD Richard Feledy.

 


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Lady Gaga announces new Las Vegas residency

Grammy-award winning artist Lady Gaga will return to Dolby Live at Park MGM for a new Las Vegas residency this spring.

Presented by MGM Resorts International and Live Nation, Lady Gaga Jazz & Piano will comprise nine dates starting from 14 April at the 5,200-capacity venue.

The show will see Gaga perform stripped-down versions of her hits alongside music from the Great American Songbook.

The 2022 stint will be Gaga’s second at Dolby Live after her 2018/2019 residency debut which comprised two shows: Lady Gaga Enigma and Lady Gaga Jazz & Piano.

Taking place in between Gaga’s Thursday, Saturday and Sunday shows at Dolby Live will be An Evening with Silk Sonic.

Silk Sonic – which comprises Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak – will deliver their first-ever residency on various nights between 25 February and 29 May.

The show will see Gaga perform stripped-down versions of her hits alongside music from the Great American Songbook

Elsewhere in Vegas, country star Keith Urban is picking up five of Adele’s dates at the Colosseum (cap. 4,300), Caesar’s Palace, following the postponement of her residency.

The five new dates, between 25 March and 2 April, will be in addition to Urban’s previously announced Colosseum gigs between 27–29 May.

Adele last month announced that she would be postponing her entire residency because the show “isn’t ready”.

The announcement came just 24 hours before her Live Nation-promoted residency, Weekends With Adele, was due to kick off.

The star, who is represented by Lucy Dickins and Kirk Sommer at WME, was due to perform two shows every weekend at Caesars Palace’s Colosseum theatre (cap. 4,300) from 21 January until mid-April.

Also due to deliver residencies at the Colosseum this year are Van Morrison, Sting and Rod Stewart.

 


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Live Nation SVP International steps down

Jason Miller, senior vice president of international and emerging markets at Live Nation, has announced that he is leaving the live entertainment giant after over seven years.

Miller held his most recent role at Live Nation since 2016, after previously serving as senior vice president of the company’s operations in Asia.  

Prior to joining Live Nation, he operated a concert consultancy and spent more than a decade as an agent at CAA.

“I am humbled by the record-breaking tours this team executed”

In a social media post, replicated by Celebrity Access, the live industry veteran wrote that he had “officially moved on” from his role at Live Nation.

“I am incredibly proud of the team I built at Live Nation. I am humbled by the record-breaking tours this team executed (U2, Coldplay, Madonna, Bruno Mars, Guns & Roses, etc, etc),” reads the post.

“I am grateful for all the career changing experiences I’ve had at Live Nation over the last 7+ years.”

Miller adds that he is unsure “where my next adventure will lead, but I am excited for what the future holds.”

 


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Bogus booking agents arrested in New York

Two women who allegedly scammed a charity out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by posing as booking agents for artists including Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Drake and Ed Sheeran have been arrested by police in New York.

Under the name Canvas Media Group, Nancy Jean and Carissa Scott conspired to defraud investors in events including a benefit concert for the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, set up by relatives of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, according to prosecutors.

As alleged in the US district attorney for eastern New York’s complaint against the pair, Jean and Scott were contacted last September by the organiser of a concert at the 64,000-seat Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, in aid of the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation.

Prosecutors say Canvas Media “falsely represented that they could book top-tier musical acts to perform at the concert, and provided the investor with a contract for a total fee of [US]$500,000 that purported to commit Timberlake to perform”.

One investor in the benefit show then sent a $100,000 deposit to Jean and Scott, which they allegedly later used for personal expenses or withdrew as cash.

“Subsequently, when Timberlake’s social media account failed to mention or promote the event, the investor requested confirmation that Timberlake was booked,” the complaint continues. “In response, the investor received a telephone call from an unidentified individual who falsely claimed to be Timberlake’s manager. The unidentified individual stated that Timberlake would perform at the concert, but that the fee would have to be raised to between $800,000 and $1 million.”

“Simple stealing is bad enough, this is worse”

When the investor baulked at the increased ‘fee’, Canvas Media said Bruno Mars could perform instead of Timberlake for $600,000.

Scott also reportedly claimed she could book other top-tier artists for the concert, including Drake, Flo Rida and Ed Sheeran.

“As alleged, the defendants viewed a fundraiser for a charity formed to protect children from gun violence as an opportunity to commit fraud and line their own pockets,” comments Richard Donoghue, United States attorney for the eastern district of New York. “Simple stealing is bad enough, this is worse.”

According to the New York Post, Jean and Scott have been banned from working as agents or promoters while awaiting trial.

William Sweeney Jnr, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, says: “Nancy Jean and Carissa Scott may have been able to realise a quick profit as a result of their alleged fraudulent booking scheme, but not long after their illegal activity took off they landed in New York to face federal criminal charges.

“It’s discouraging to think these defendants were willing to defraud an investor supporting a charity foundation. Fortunately, the FBI doesn’t entertain such activity.”

Justin Timberlake is no stranger to agency scams, having been one of a number of high-profile artists targeted by scammers pretending to be his representative, alongside artists such as Adele, Eminem and Mark Knopfler.

 


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The decade in live: 2017

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.

The memories of a turbulent 2016 were left far behind in 2017, as the concert business enjoyed a record-breaking twelve months, as the year’s gross revenue and number of tickets sold saw 2013 finally knocked off the top spot.

The success of the live business in 2017, however, was somewhat overshadowed by a number of devastating terror attacks, with the Manchester Arena bombing, the shootings at Route 91 Harvest and BPM Festival, the Reina nightclub shooting and other incidents targeting music fans.

In response to the tragedies, the live industry united and made a positive impact, in the form of the One Love Manchester and We are Manchester charity concerts and candlelit vigils and fundraising for victims of the Route 91 Harvest attack.

Elsewhere, the booking agency world continued to consolidate through 2017, with a number of acquisitions, mergers and partnerships while Live Nation welcomed several more promoters, festivals, ticketing agencies and venues to its fast-growing family.

 


2017 in numbers

The live music business reached new heights in 2017, with the top 100 tours worldwide generating a record US$5.65 billion, up almost 16% from the previous year.

The number of tickets sold throughout the year also saw a notable increase from the year before, climbing 10.4% to 66.8 million, at an average price of almost $4 more per ticket than in 2016, at $84.60.

Eleven tours surpassed the $100m mark in 2017, with U2 topping the year-end charts having generated $316m on their Joshua Tree tour. Guns N’ Roses narrowly missed out on $300m, grossing $292.5m on the Not in this Lifetime tour.

Coldplay came in next, as the band’s A Head Full of Dreams tour made $238m. Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic tour was also successful, grossing just over $200m, whereas Metallica’s WorldWired tour generated $152.8m.

Depeche Mode, Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks and Celine Dion were the other acts whose 2017 tour earnings exceeded $100m.

 


2017 in brief

January
A lone gunman attacks New Year’s revellers at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, resulting in the death of 39 people and injuries to a further 70. Two weeks later, four are killed and 12 injured during a shooting at the BPM Festival in the coastal resort of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

AM Only and The Windish Agency rebrand as Paradigm Talent Agency, signalling the next phase of their joint ventures, launched in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

Global asset management firm Providence Equity Partners acquires a 70% stake in Sziget Festival and reveals plans to launch eight to ten branded festivals, with James Barton, former president of electronic music for Live Nation, leading the international expansion.

AEG Live finalises negotiations to acquire New York-based promoter/venue operator The Bowery Presents.

February
Ticketbis, the multinational resale operation acquired by eBay in May 2016, is rebranded as StubHub, bringing to an end the Ticketbis name across Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Live Nation enters the Middle East’s biggest touring market with the acquisition of a majority stake in Bluestone Entertainment, one of Israel’s leading promoters.

March
Iron Maiden’s decision to use paperless tickets on the UK leg of The Book of Souls arena tour helps reduce the number of tickets appearing on secondary sites by more than 95%, according to promoter Live Nation.

Live Nation acquires a controlling stake in the UK’s Isle of Wight Festival.

The Australian leg of Adele’s Live 2017 tour makes concert history after playing to more than 600,000 people over eight stadium dates.

The decade in live: 2017

Sziget Festival 2017 © László Mudra/Rockstar Photographers

April
In the biggest primary deal so far for the world’s largest secondary ticketing site, StubHub is named the official ticket seller for Rock in Rio 2017.

Creative Artists Agency increases its investment in the Chinese market via a new alliance with private equity firm CMC Capital Partners.

May
Luxury Ja Rule-backed boutique event, Fyre Festival, descends into chaos on its first day, with visitors to the Bahamas site comparing conditions to a refugee camp.

22 people, including children, lose their lives after a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, for which Islamic State terror claims responsibility. The attack targets people leaving the 21,000-cap. venue at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

June
Pandora Media announces the sale of Ticketfly to Eventbrite. Despite purchasing the company for $450m less than two years ago, it sells for a package worth $200m.

AEG invests in Immortals, one of the world’s leading esports teams, with professional players in the North American League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Super Smash Bros, Overwatch and Vainglory leagues. The team will now play their Los Angeles tournaments and matches at AEG’s LA Live entertainment district.

The organisers of ILMC announce the launch of the Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S), a one-day meeting focusing on security at live events.

The decade in live: 2017

The reality of Fyre Festival © Here_Comes_the_Kingz/Reddit

July
Helsinki-based Fullsteam Agency acquires Rähinä Live, whose roster includes some of Finland’s biggest hip-hop and pop artists.

Oak View Group, which counts Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke among its founders, completes its acquisition of Pollstar, adding the US-based concert business magazine to its portfolio of trade titles.

August
Madison Square Garden Company makes a significant move into the esports sector by acquiring a controlling stake in Counter Logic Gaming.

Paradigm Talent Agency acquires Chicago- and California-based agency Monterey International, including its 14 agents and 200 acts.

Live Nation launches in Brazil with former Time for Fun (T4F) chief entertainment officer Alexandre Faria Fernandes at the helm.

September
Three quarters of staff at Function(x), the online business founded by former SFX Entertainment CEO Robert Sillerman, are effectively laid off, with the company telling investors it lacks the funds to pay them.

A sovereign wealth fund controlled by the government of Saudi Arabia, says it is forming a new SR10 billion ($2.7bn) investment vehicle in a bid to kick-start the kingdom’s entertainment sector.

Music returns to Manchester Arena as a capacity crowd turn out for We are Manchester, a benefit concert that raises funds for a memorial to the victims of the 22nd of May bombing.

The decade in live: 2017

The We are Manchester charity concert drew a full-capacity crowd at the 21,000-cap. arena © Showsec

October
A gunman kills 58 people and injures a further 546 at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas. Local resident Stephen Paddock targeted the concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel.

WME-IMG rebrands as Endeavor, with company assets that include martial- arts promoter, UFC; ad agency, Droga5; Professional Bull Riders; the Miss Universe Organization; Frieze Art Fair; management companies, Dixon Talent and The Wall Group; and joint ventures such as Euroleague Basketball and esports championship ELEAGUE.

November
Ticketmaster confirms its long-rumoured expansion into Italy. The launch of Ticketmaster Italia, headquartered in Milan, follows the end of the exclusive long-term online partnership in Italy between Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, and CTS Eventim-owned TicketOne.

After 11 years in East London’s Victoria Park – now exclusive to AEG – Eat Your Own Ears’ Field Day Festival will head to Brockwell Park in South London. Live Nation’s Lovebox and Citadel are also rumoured to be moving to Brockwell Park.

Secondary ticketing websites will, from January 2018, be subject to stringent restrictions on their use of Google AdWords, as the search-engine giant cracks down on ticket resellers’ controversial use of its online advertising platform.

December
Leading self-service ticketer Eventbrite announces a series of new partnerships, rolling out integrations with events guide The List, festival package provider Festicket, word-of-mouth ticket sales platform Verve, and brand ambassador software Ticketrunner.

Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation Entertainment since 2010, will remain in his role until at least 2022 after signing a new five-year contract worth up to $9m per annum. Also re-upping are leading execs Kathy Willard, Michael Rowles and Joe Berchtold.


The decade in live: 2017

Primary Talent’s Dave Chumbley (1960-2017) picks up his Platinum Endurance Arthur Award at ILMC 25 © ILMC

 

Who we lost

Peter Rieger, founder of German promoter Peter Rieger Konzertagentur (PRK); Joseph Rascoff, business manager to the Stones, David Bowie, U2, Sting and more; ILMC’s long-time producer Alia Dann Swift; ShowSec International Ltd founder Mick Upton; Dave Chumbley, Primary Talent International director; Mary Cleary, former booker and tour manager; American singer-songwriter Tom Petty; pioneering concert promoter Shmuel Zemach, founder of Zemach Promotions; Australian country music promoter, agent and artist, Rob Potts; Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington; Reading festival founder Harold Pendelton; Washington, DC, promoter Jack Boyle; Live Nation Belgium booker Marianne Dekimpe; rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry.

 


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Uptown Funk named song of the decade

Festival streaming platform LiveXLive today (14 November) presented its Top 100 Songs of the Decade, with songs by Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars, Drake and Post Malone coming out top.

Premiered today, the Top 100 Songs of the Decade ranks tracks based on LiveXLive’s engagement quotient ratings, taking into account the number of plays, ‘hearts’, skips and bans songs receive on its audio platform.

‘Uptown Funk’ comes in at number one, with 67 billion total plays since the beginning of the decade, followed by ‘One Dance’ (Drake), ‘Psycho’ (Post Malone), ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together’ (Taylor Swift) and ‘Something Just Like This’ (Coldplay/the Chainsmokers).

Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’, Wiz Khalifa’s ‘See You Again’, Lady Antebellum’s ‘Need You Now’, Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ and Rihanna’s ‘Work’ complete the top ten.

“Our countdown takes into account exactly how our users have interacted with our music library from 1 January 2010 through today”

“We are excited to present the Top 100 Songs of the Decade, a true list by the fans and for the fans,” says Kevin Stapleford, vice-president of programming at LiveXLive.

“Our countdown takes into account exactly how our users have interacted with our music library from 1 January 2010 through today. Users pick their favourites and listen across all their devices. Congratulations to Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars for getting the number one spot.”

The five-and-a-half hour programme is hosted by LiveXLive’s Raymond T Parker, Jess Wright, Red and Jennifer While, as part of the company’s Ranked audio series. The broadcast can be accessed here.

LiveXLive’s livestreaming partners include Rock in Rio, EDC Las Vegas, Sziget and Montreux Jazz Festival. The company recently branched out into gaming, signing a multi-year partnership with China’s Allied Esports and earlier this year teamed up with rapper Nas for urban-focused content creation.

 


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