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Coldplay tour app helps fans plan green travel

Coldplay have launched a free app for fans as part of their pledge to make their ongoing Music of the Spheres world tour as eco-friendly as possible.

Since the Tyndall Centre’s 2021 Super-Low Carbon Live Music Report concluded that fan travel accounts for the largest part of tour-related emissions, the app allows fans to plan low-carbon travel to and from shows, with those who choose green journeys rewarded with a merchandise discount code.

The app – made in partnership with SAP – is available to download now for iOS and Android devices, and will also measure total fan-travel carbon emissions so that the band can “drawdown these impacts via high quality nature-based solutions such as reforestation and soil regeneration”.

Alongside the fan-travel calculator, the app also offers Coldplay-themed games and AR experiences, exclusive behind-the-scenes content, photos and videos from every show, plus news updates and tour information. The band will also stream the full audio of an upcoming date exclusively via the app.

“They’re not just talking about doing something, they’re leading by example”

The Music of the Spheres tour, which kicked off in Costa Rica in March, heads to North America this week before touching down in Europe in July.

Having previously put touring plans on hold to investigate how to make their concerts more sustainable, the announcement of Coldplay’s 2022 tour came hand-in-hand with a 12-point plan for cutting their carbon footprint.

“They’re not just talking about doing something, they’re leading by example,” the band’s agent Josh Javor of X-ray Touring told IQ last year. “I think you do need bigger artists to show other people how it could be possible to change.

“I was involved in the parts I could be, like figuring out how we can try and cut the carbon footprint by staying in the same place and playing more shows. It’s very different from the standard tour where artists do one or two shows and then move on in order to visit as many places as possible.”

 


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Coldplay to perform free show at Expo 2020 Dubai

Coldplay are to perform a free show in Dubai next week in support of Expo 2020 Dubai’s Programme for People and Planet.

The show will see the band regionally premiere their Music of the Spheres album while highlighting the importance of protecting the planet in line with Expo’s sub-theme of sustainability, and will take place live at Al Wasl Dome on 15 February.

The concert, which will also be livestreamed on VirtualExpoDubai.com, Expo TV on YouTube and Expo 2020’s Facebook page – as well as via Oculus VR – forms part of the world’s fair’s monthly Infinite Nights series, which has previously featured acts such as Alicia Keys and Black Eyed Peas.

The Middle East’s first world’s fair, Expo 20 was originally scheduled for October 2020 to April 2021 before being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will now run from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. Fans attending the show must have both an Expo 2020 ticket and a Coldplay ticket, which can be booked from tomorrow (12 February).

“They’re not just talking about doing something, they’re leading by example”

“As a band, we always try to put togetherness and sustainability at the heart of everything we do,” says a statement by Coldplay. “It’s an honour to be invited to perform at Expo 2020 Dubai Infinite Nights for a special celebration of these two themes.”

The group, who last visited the UAE in 2016, previously announced their upcoming Music of the Spheres world tour would have an ‘eco-friendly’ focus. According to frontman Chris Martin, the tour will partly be powered by a dancefloor that generates electricity when fans jump up and down, and pedal power at the venues.

“It’s something that everyone should be striving for,” Coldplay agent Josh Javor of X-ray Touring told IQ last year. “They’re not just talking about doing something, they’re leading by example. I think you do need bigger artists to show other people how it could be possible to change.

The tour will kick off in March 2022 in Costa Rica, which has one of the highest rates of renewable energy generation in the world.

 


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X-Ray’s Javor: “Coldplay are leading by example”

In mid-October, X-ray Touring-repped heavyweights Coldplay announced their first tour in four years in support of their new album Music of the Spheres.

Having previously put touring plans on hold to investigate how to make their concerts more sustainable, Coldplay’s new announcement came hand-in-hand with a 12-point plan for cutting their carbon footprint.

The eco-friendly 2022 tour is currently slated to visit 40 stadiums around the world and one festival, with more dates to be announced, meaning that it could end up being the highest-grossing tour of the year.

For X-ray Touring’s Josh Javor, who planned the tour alongside his late partner, Steve Strange, seeing the groundbreaking tour come to fruition is bittersweet.

Here, Javor tells IQ about how the pair planned a tour of this nature; when he sees the industry recovering; and how he’d celebrate with Strange if he were here.

 


IQ: How would you describe the on-sale for the European leg of Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres – World Tour?
JJ: It was insane… we pretty much sold out. We sold more than a million tickets just in Europe and added extra dates in the UK, France, Germany, and Belgium. At the moment, we’re discussing adding more dates. The US also went on sale that day and Latin America had already gone on sale and sold out.

You planned this tour with your late partner, X-ray Touring co-founder Steve Strange. On a personal level, what is this moment like for you?
This is one of the most bittersweet moments of my life. This tour is something Steve and I planned for a very long time and because he’s not here to revel in the success, it feels very bittersweet to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic at how well it’s done, but the fact that Steve, unfortunately, didn’t make it to see our plan come together and work so well, brings things down to earth. It’s not the same on my own. My constant thought has been, I wish Steve was here to see this.

How do you think Steve would react to the success of Coldplay’s on-sale?
He would be on another planet. He was a member of the family when it came to this band and he would’ve been jumping for joy. We’ve all talked about it – management and ourselves – and about how amazing Steve would have thought this is. Normally, Steve and I would get to 12 o’clock on the day of an on-sale – after selling a million tickets – and we’d be on our second bottle of champagne.

“[At] 12 o’clock on the day of an on-sale – after selling a million tickets – [Steve and I] would be on our second bottle”

How did you approach ticket pricing post-pandemic?
Just being realistic. You just have to know what the market is and what people can afford. One way of doing that is to stay very grounded and down to earth. I think we’ve got ticket prices spot on. Tickets for this tour are slightly more expensive but not by much. Without the pandemic, we could have leant towards increasing them from what they are now, but you have to take everything into account.

How are you feeling about the business in general next year, and has this on-sale given you extra confidence?
Yes and no. It’s very difficult to predict what will happen. I think it’d be stupid to give any assurances, but I still worry about the industry between now and next summer. We’ve got a lot of shit to go through and a lot of hoops to jump through to get to where we want to be, but the on-sale is very positive, definitely. I think the industry as a whole is very happy and proud that the public is still interested in going to concerts on a grand scale. I think, in this instance, when one of us succeeds, in a way, we all succeed because we’ve been up Shit Creek for so long.

“It’s very difficult to do an eco-friendly tour when you’re at a smaller level than Coldplay”

Do you think this eco-friendly tour will become a blueprint for other bands of the same calibre?
I hope so. It’s something that everyone should be striving for, and just as Coldplay have said, they might not get it right, but at least they’re trying. They’re not just talking about doing something, they’re leading by example. I think you do need bigger artists to show other people how it could be possible to change.

It’s very difficult to do an eco-friendly tour when you’re at a smaller level than Coldplay. You have fewer decisions that you can make about how you tour when you’re a smaller artist. If you’re playing a club or a theatre, you don’t have the same choices as if you’re playing a stadium. It’s about the amount of control you have, the amount of money you can generate, and about the different kinds of venues and different rules that you have. It all goes hand in hand.

How involved were you in the creation of the 12-point plan to cut the band’s carbon footprint?
I was involved in the parts I could be, like figuring out how we can try and cut the carbon footprint by staying in the same place and playing more shows. It’s very different from the standard tour where artists do one or two shows and then move on in order to visit as many places as possible. We’re not visiting most of Europe. If you look at the tour, it’s cut down to a few cities.

“We’re staying in one place for a longer period of time and cutting emissions. It’s about staying put.”

What we’ve done is we’ve recognised that it’s not possible to tour everywhere in one summer or in one year. It’s going to take longer to visit everywhere, but by doing it this way, we’re staying in one place for a longer period of time and cutting emissions. It’s about staying put.

What advice would you give to other agents attempting to plan an eco-friendly tour?
It’s the little things sometimes. It’s not having single-use plastics or not having plastics at all. There are basics that everyone can be doing. The live industry has been at the forefront of trying to be greener since festivals started changing years ago.

Tell us about the time period in which you booked this tour.
It has been very difficult to put these shows in because, at the time of making these decisions, a lot of places were in lockdown. At the time, you couldn’t even go on-sale with shows in certain markets – let alone full-capacity stadium shows.

 


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IQ 105 out now: International Ticketing Report

IQ 105, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

The November 2021 edition is spearheaded by the International Ticketing Report 2021: IQ’s indispensable annual health check on the global ticketing business.

As the live entertainment industry endeavours to build back its workforce, the issue also explores the world of Recruitment & Restaffing, as we speak to those responsible for creating and implementing recruitment strategies.

Elsewhere, Lisa Henderson talks to Coldplay agent Josh Javor of X-ray Touring on the remarkable ticket sales for their sustainability-focused 2022 tour – and the emotions of celebrating that success without his late mentor, the legendary Steve Strange.

For this edition’s columns and comments, we hand over to A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill and Primavera Sound’s Marta Pallarès.

And, in this month’s Your Shout, we ask the industry to recount their favourite (or least favourite) horror story from their career.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks. However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

IQ subscribers can log in and read the full magazine now.

 


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Coldplay sell more than one million tickets in Europe

More than one million tickets have sold for the European leg of Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres world tour, which went on sale last Friday (22 October).

X-ray Touring’s Josh Javor, who planned the ‘eco-friendly’ stadium tour along with the late Steve Strange, told IQ that the on-sale was “insane”.

According to Javor, the European leg has “pretty much sold out” and the team is currently discussing adding more dates.

The 20-date run, which kicks off on 2 July 2022, has already expanded with an extra date apiece at Deutsche Bank Park (Germany), Stade de France (France), King Baudouin Stadium (Belgium) and Hampden Park (UK).

Notably, an extra three dates have been added at Wembley Stadium (cap. 90,00) in the UK, on top of the three already announced.

According to Javor, the European leg has “pretty much sold out” and the team is discussing adding more dates

The world tour – which is mostly promoted by Live Nation, with SJM as the main partner in the UK – is also visiting the US and Latin America (which is completely sold out), taking in 40 stadiums and one festival (Rock in Rio) altogether.

The groundbreaking tour is one of the last projects that legendary booking agent and X-ray co-founder Steve Strange worked on before his tragic passing in September.

“This is something Steve and I have planned for a very long time and because he’s not here to revel in the success, it’s one of the most bittersweet moments of my life,” says Javor.

He continues: “Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic at how well it’s done but the fact that Steve, unfortunately, didn’t make it to see our plan come together brings things down to earth.

“Normally, Steve and I would get to 12 o’clock on the day of an on-sale and we’d be on our second bottle of champagne”

“Normally, Steve and I would get to 12 o’clock on the day of an on-sale and, after selling a million tickets, we’d be on our second bottle of champagne. But, on your own, it’s not the same. My constant thought has been, I wish Steve was here to see this.

“He would be on another planet. He was a member of the family when it came to this band and he would’ve been jumping for joy.”

Coldplay announced the tour earlier this month after a four-year hiatus from touring while they investigated how to make their concerts more sustainable.

The Music of the Spheres tour is bolstered by a 12-point plan to cut the band’s carbon footprint, which supports new green technologies and sustainable, super-low carbon touring methods.

A full interview with Josh Javor will appear in the next edition of IQ magazine at the end of this month.

 


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Coldplay detail ‘eco-friendly’ world tour

Coldplay have announced their first tour in four years, which will have an ‘eco-friendly’ focus.

The British band previously said that they would put touring plans on hold as they investigate how to make their concerts more sustainable.

Today, they announced their return to the road which will follow the band’s new album ‘Music of the Spheres’, out tomorrow (15 October).

The Music of the Spheres world tour will kick off in March 2022 in Costa Rica, which has one of the highest rates of renewable energy generation in the world.

Dates for the first seven countries have been announced today and include three at Wembley Stadium (cap. 90,000) in London, two at Stade de France (81,000) in Paris and two at Olympiastadion Berlin (74,000).

According to frontman Chris Martin revealed that the tour will partly be powered by a dancefloor that generates electricity when fans jump up and down, and pedal power at the venues.

“I literally really need you to jump up and down. Because if you don’t, then the lights go out.”

Martin told the BBC in his first interview about the plans that fans will be on “kinetic flooring”.

“When they move, they power the concert,” he said. “And we have bicycles too that do the same thing.”

“The more people move, the more they’re helping. You know when the frontman says, ‘We need you to jump up and down’?

“When I say that, I literally really need you to jump up and down. Because if you don’t, then the lights go out.”

The kinetic flooring is part of a 12-point plan to cut the band’s carbon footprint.

The concerts will use electricity from batteries fuelled by fan power as well as solar energy, recycled cooking oil from local restaurants and mains power from 100% renewable sources where available. For every ticket sold, the band will plant a tree.

“The whole show is powered from renewable energy, which is amazing”

The singer admitted they had not figured out how to cut the environmental impact of some parts of touring but their goal for a few years’ time is to have “slightly shifted the status quo of how a tour works”.

“In some areas, there’s still not enough possible, like how do you get people to a venue without consuming any power? That’s still really hard,” he said.

“Or flying – there’s still a lot of offsetting we have to do, because even sustainable aviation fuel isn’t good enough yet.

“So we know where we still have a long way to go. But in terms of the show itself, the whole show is powered from renewable energy, which is amazing.”

Ahead of the tour, Coldplay will open Oak View Group’s (OVG) Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle – the world’s first carbon-neutral certified arena – on 22 October.

Coldplay’s last tour, A Head Full of Dreams, saw them perform to 5.4 million people across 122 shows in five continents.

 


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Coldplay to open OVG’s Climate Pledge Arena

Coldplay will be the first act to play Oak View Group’s (OVG) Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle – the world’s first carbon-neutral certified arena.

The band’s frontman, Chris Martin, previously told BBC News that Coldplay would put touring plans on hold as they investigate how to make their concerts more sustainable.

“Our next tour will be the best possible version of a tour like that environmentally,” said Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin.

“We would be disappointed if it’s not carbon neutral. The hardest thing is the flying side of things. But, for example, our dream is to have a show with no single-use plastic, to have it largely solar-powered. We’ve done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it’s not so much taking as giving?”

The band will fulfil their dream by performing at the 18,100-seat Climate Pledge Arena, which will be powered exclusively by renewable energy sources.

The arena will also be a functionally zero-waste building from day one and will eliminate all single-use plastics by 2024.

“We’re so excited to have Coldplay who wholeheartedly believes in and supports sustainability efforts, be the first to play”

Coldplay, along with support act We Are King, will perform at the former KeyArena on 22 October, marking the official reopening.

Tickets go on sale on 15 September at 10:00 PST through Ticketmaster. Amazon Music will also be streaming the show live on Prime Video for all customers – with or without a Prime membership – as well as Twitch, and on the Amazon Music app.

Oak View Group CEO, Tim Leiweke, says: “We’ve embarked on what some may say was an impossible journey to turn this historic landmark into a world-class net-zero carbon certified arena that’s first of its kind. This is why we’re so excited to have Coldplay who wholeheartedly believes in and supports sustainability efforts, be the first to play in the building for what will be a night to remember.”

The concert will be the first public show at Climate Pledge Arena as a part of a weeklong opening celebration across the Seattle Center Campus.

Other opening week festivities include the VenuesNow Conference (hosted by OVG), a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Seattle Kraken’s inaugural home opener marking its first season.

Today’s news follows Leiweke’s call to arms for the live entertainment industry to take action on climate change. Read the full IQ interview here.

 


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Glastonbury goes global with ticketed livestream

Glastonbury will host an exclusive global livestream from its Worthy Farm festival site on 22 May, in lieu of the flagship event which was called off for a second consecutive year.

Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles, Jorja Smith, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, Wolf Alice and DJ Honey Dijon will perform across the site’s landmarks – including the Pyramid Field and the Stone Circle – for the event, dubbed Live at Worthy Farm. There will also be a number of unannounced surprise performances.

The uninterrupted five-hour production will be shot by acclaimed Grammy-nominated director Paul Dugdale and co-promoted and produced by Driift, the pioneering UK livestream business which has hosted livestreams for Laura Marling, Nick Cave, Andrea Bocelli and Kylie Minogue.

“For one night only people all over the world will be able to join us on this journey through [Worthy Farm] together”

The performances will be interspersed by a spoken word narrative, written and delivered by special guests.

“After two Glastonbury cancellations, it brings us great pleasure to announce our first online livestream, which will present live music performances filmed across Worthy Farm at landmarks including the Pyramid and, for the first time ever, the Stone Circle,” says Glastonbury organiser, Emily Eavis.

“It will feature a rolling cast of artists and performers who have all given us enormous support by agreeing to take part in this event, showing the farm as you have never seen it. There will also be some very special guest appearances and collaborations. We are hoping this will bring a bit of Glastonbury to your homes and that for one night only people all over the world will be able to join us on this journey through the farm together!”

Live at Worthy Farm will support Glastonbury’s three main charitable partners, Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid, as well as helping to secure next year’s edition.

Stagehand, the live production hardship fund that has been providing financial support to crew members throughout the pandemic, will receive the proceeds from a limited edition line-up poster for the event.

The online event will be broadcast in full across four separate time zones, with staggered livestreams.  Tickets are on sale now at worthyfarm.live for £20/€23/US$27.50/A$35.

Live at Worthy Farm

 


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India: State of Hindipendents

If there were an award for the greatest potential touring market, India would be on that stage, brandishing the trophy, year in, year out. With a population nudging 1.4 billion and projected to surpass that of China by 2022, India is about as vast as countries get. Nonetheless, when a big band comes to town, the comparative rarity of the event still makes global headlines.

U2’s show in December at Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium, the very last stop on the fifth leg of The Joshua Tree Tour, wasn’t the first superstar show to come to India – far from it: The Stones played Mumbai and Bangalore in 2003, while Beyoncé and Shakira came in 2007, Metallica in 2011, Coldplay in 2016, and Ed Sheeran in 2015 and 2017, with other significant visitors in between.

But each major concert fires up the expectation that India’s biggest cities could soon become routine destinations for the world’s biggest artists. And U2’s show before a crowd of 42,590, staged by local ticketing giant BookMyShow in partnership with Live Nation, got the country dreaming once more.

“There were a lot of reservations from everybody coming into India,” says BookMyShow CEO and founder Ashish Hemrajani, who freely concedes that India has failed to meet international expectations for live shows in the past. “It was the first outing for U2 here; it was the first show of this scale and magnitude; it was the last show of the tour. There was a lot riding on it and everyone was on tenterhooks.”

BookMyShow has been scaling up its promoting exploits in recent years, bringing Cirque du Soleil, NBA pre-season games, an adapted Hindi Aladdin and the Coldplay-headlined Mumbai edition of the Global Citizen festival, but Hemrajani says U2 represented a new level and a new set of pressures.

“There were a lot of reservations from everybody coming into India”

“We have got a great team in India, but nothing prepares you for dealing with Arthur Fogel, with Jake Berry and the whole team,” he says. “But if you talk to the folks that we dealt with, they were very pleasantly surprised by the level of professionalism they found.”

More than anyone else in the Indian business, Hemrajani has both a vision and a platform to bring about a revolution in the nation’s live entertainment offering. BookMyShow sells between 35% and 50% of all cinema tickets in a cinema-mad nation (“we are a hot, dusty country, which is an assault on all your senses, and cinema is the cheapest, most comfortable form of indoor entertainment,” he explains), and played a part in the massive success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) of cricket. If Hemrajani judges that India is ripe for some concert-going, the chances are he knows what he is talking about.

The same feeling has recently been in the air across the country. The preceding month, also at DY Patil Stadium, Katy Perry and Dua Lipa inaugurated the OnePlus Music Festival, along with local acts Amit Trivedi, Ritviz, as we keep searching and The Local Train. Both of the top-billers were new to the market, and again, the show was an unconventional labour of love, this time organised by the local operation of Chinese smartphone brand OnePlus, which rivals Samsung and Apple in India.

As OnePlus India general manager Vikas Agarwal told India’s The Telegraph newspaper: “[We were] not looking to organise everything by ourselves, but the country [was] not yet ready to organise such a large-scale event. [So] starting from the artist selection to the whole conceptualisation of the event, logistics – everything was done for the first time by the brand. I hope more such events will be organised in India.”

And then, of course, came Covid-19, to which we will inevitably return in a minute.

“The folks that we dealt with were very pleasantly surprised by the level of professionalism they found”

Still a mostly rural nation of numerous languages and cultures, heavily regionalised laws and huge inequality, India has always had more pressing priorities than slotting conveniently into a Western live music model. All the same, its entertainment market is highly evolved. The homegrown cinema industry enjoys a sophisticated, mostly mobile ticketing infrastructure, spearheaded by BookMyShow, with strong competition lately from Alibaba-backed Paytm. Both have diverse businesses and are busy across many sectors, including cricket, theatre, food and mobile payments.

Online ticketing was reckoned to be worth $330 million in 2017, according to Indian management consultant RedSeer, whose prediction of $580m in revenues this year has sadly been scuppered by recent events. In the past, the lion’s share of online ticket sales (55%), was for movies, with sport on 25% and events taking the remaining 20%, though both the latter categories are growing.

EDM, in particular, has found a booming home in India, where there is a large network of clubs and established festivals, from OML’s multi-city Bacardi NH7 Weekender to the monster Sunburn in Pune.

“The electronic music scene in the country has developed into its own industry and it’s spread to wider parts of the country,” says Dev Bhatia of dance music management and booking agency UnMute. “Having said that, I still feel we’re barely scratching the surface. Considering India will [soon] have five to six hundred million people under the age of 35 with cell phones and accessibility, the potential is endless.”

That potential is currently on pause. At the time of writing, India was attempting to relax its notably strict lockdown conditions even as it faced a record spike in Covid-19 infections. In a country where many millions of informal  workers live on a daily wage, the economy can’t stand idle for long.

 


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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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