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Clair Global gets US’s biggest Main Street loan

Clair Global, a US-based company which provides amplification and tour support to the world’s biggest artists and music festivals, has borrowed US$71 million from the Main Street Lending scheme – the largest loan of its kind in the country, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer

The $600 billion taxpayer-backed programme was designed by the federal government to help sustain mid-sized businesses until they recover from the economic disruption caused by the pandemic.

Last year, Clair Global provided sound and support services to the Top 10 grossing tours, including Rolling Stones, Elton John, Ariana Grande and Pink.

Troy Clair, president and CEO of Clair Global, said in a statement that “the loan is proportional to the devastation the industry has felt over the last seven months,” but did not disclose how the $71 million will be deployed.

Funds from the Main Street program must be repaid but in the event of a default, it’s taxpayers’ money at risk

The Main Street Lending Program was devised as part of financial rescue legislation in the spring to help businesses that are too big to qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), but too small to benefit from the Federal Reserve’s big purchases of corporate debt.

Unlike the PPP program’s forgivable loans, funds from the Main Street program must be repaid. Loan standards are also more selective, requiring participants to have been in good financial shape with manageable debt before the pandemic.

Banks write loans under the programme but are then able to hand 95% of that debt off to the Fed, so they have fewer assets at risk. In the event of a default, it’s mostly the taxpayers’ money, not the bank’s, that runs the risk of not being repaid.

Clair Global also got between $5 million and $10 million in a PPP loan, records show.

Last month, Clair Global acquired US-based company Eighth Day Sound, adding to its umbrella, which includes Britannia Row Productions in the UK, JPJ in Australia, and AudioRent Clair AG in Switzerland.

 


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Arena tech: The groundbreakers

The global live music business is in a state of technological flux, with innovations such as virtual and augmented reality, live streaming, blockchain and bots all being touted as potential new sources of revenue for an increasingly mature industry.

But while the monetisation of live-streamed concerts is, by most estimates, still some way off, a handful of pioneers in the arena space are already delivering concrete results through clever tech to some of the world’s leading entertainment venues.

Meet DigifoodArchaioRukkus, VertedaClair GlobalLiveStyledCastBottoms UpKontakt.ioYondr and Hurdl: eleven innovators working behind the scenes to make large entertainment venues smarter, more connected and more profitable than ever before…

 


Read the rest of this feature in the digital edition of IQ’s definitive guide to the European arena market, the European Arena Yearbook 2017:

Britannia Row Productions sold

Britannia Row Productions – the iconic UK-based sound company which has, since its establishment by Pink Floyd in 1975, supplied audio equipment to Queen, Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, The Cure, Stevie Wonder and Oasis – has been acquired by US production support giant Clair Global.

The two companies established a “strategic alliance” at the beginning of 2017, with Pennsylvania-based Clair now taking full control of Britannia Row.

In a joint statement, Britannia Row directors Bryan Grant – who, along with now-retired production manager Robbie Williams, bought out Pink Floyd’s stake in the company in 1979 – and Mike Lowe say the buy-out is “the perfect way to expand and strengthen [both companies’] worldwide client base, allowing them to offer consistent service in all major territories”.

“We are excited to bring this new level of global support to our clients”

Clair Global president and CEO Troy Clair adds: “The synergies we’ve experienced with the entire Britannia Row team have been overwhelmingly positive. Culturally and professionally, we are on the same page.

“We are excited to bring this new level of global support to our clients and better serve their passions to advance this industry.”

 


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