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Wizard World loses $4.3m in 2015

Wizard World, the comic-convention organiser which last week revealed that it is to diversify into promoting live music “to provide a great experience for our fans”, may have been spurred on by more practical considerations – namely, the need to create a new revenue stream after posting a US$4.25 million loss for last year.

ICv2 reports that Wizard World’s revenues declined in 2015 even as new shows were added: the New York-based company posted convention revenue of $22.9m from 25 shows, compared to $23.1m from 17 in shows in 2014, as the North American comic-con market begins to saturate.

There are parallels between Wizard World and SFX Entertainment in the live entertainment industry. Both companies expanded hugely in a short amount of time (the former by buying up independent conventions and SFX by acquiring independent promoters) and both have seen their revenues plummet in an equally brief window – although it remains to be seen how Wizard World’s finances will look at the end of 2016.

Wizard World’s New Music Concert Series will launch at Wizard World Comic-Con Philadelphia on 3 June with a show by Grimes, supported by Hana (pictured), at the Electric Factory – the first time a concert has accompanied a comic convention. Live music will form a part of seven other Wizard World cons in 2016.

Wizard World announces world’s first comic-con concert series

It was bound to happen sooner or later: Nerd culture, not content with conquering Hollywood (as the AV Club puts it, “even the most thick-skulled of high school jocks” can now “tell their Iron Mans from their Dr Dooms”), has turned its attention to another pillar of pop culture: live music.

Wizard World (WW), which produces comic and fan conventions across the US, has announced that future WW conventions will feature a music component.

The New Music Concert Series will launch at Wizard World Comic-Con Philadelphia on 3 June with a show by Grimes, supported by Hana, at the Electric Factory – the first time a concert has accompanied a comic convention.

“These live music events are a key component to the continued growth of our brand”

Melanie Martinez has also been confirmed as a performer for “this summer” – presumably for the following convention, in Sacramento, later in June – with more dates, performers and cities due to be announced soon.

“Wizard World Comic Con already presents the best in celebrity meet-and-greets, movies, television, science fiction and comics, and we believe that including music is the next logical progression to provide a great experience for our fans,” says Randy Malinoff, chief operating officer of Wizard World. “These live music events are a key component to the continued growth of our brand. We’re excited to present the concert series debut with Grimes, and to bring our fans the latest and best headliners and emerging musical talent nationwide.”

The Wizard World portfolio includes 20 conventions, including Chicago Comic-Con, one of the world’s largest.