fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

UK markets announce plans to ease restrictions

Wales and Scotland have announced plans to roll back their Covid-19 restrictions.

In Scotland, restrictions on large outdoor events will come to an end on Monday 17 January.

The move will allow fans to return to outdoor concerts and football matches, after Covid restrictions were put in place on Boxing Day, reducing outdoor events to a capacity of 500.

Event organisers will now have to check the vaccine certification of at least 50% of attendees, rather than the current 20%, or at least 1,000 people, depending on which figure is higher.

From Monday the requirement to be ‘fully vaccinated’ for the purposes of Covid certification will include having a booster if the second dose was more than four months ago.

It will still be possible to gain admission to events and venues covered by the certification scheme by providing proof of a recent negative lateral flow test, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

Nightclubs have been closed since 26 December but the First Minister has said that all restrictions, including the closure of nightclubs, could be lifted from 24 January.

Scotland has said that all restrictions, including the closure of nightclubs, could be lifted from 24 January

In Wales, the First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced the relaxing of the rules and stated that the peak of the Omicron wave is now behind the country.

The relaxation will begin this Saturday (15 January) when the number of people allowed to attend an outdoor event will rise from 50 to 500.

From Friday 21 January, crowds will be allowed to return to sporting events and there will be no limits on those attending outdoor events.

From Friday 28 January, nightclubs can reopen and hospitality venues will be allowed to operate normally, although Covid passes will still be required for large events, cinemas, nightclubs and theatres.

From Thursday 10 February, Wales will return to a three-week review cycle as the country returns to alert level 0.

From 28 January, nightclubs in Wales can reopen and hospitality venues will be allowed to operate normally

Northern Ireland is also considering lifting some Covid-19 restrictions next week, First Minister Paul Givan has revealed.

Since 26 December, indoor standing events have not been permitted. For outdoor and indoor events, either proof of vaccination, a negative lateral flow test or proof of recovery from Covid-19 is required.

Nightclubs are currently closed while hospitality businesses are operating under a series of restrictions. Givan said businesses needed to be able to operate “normally”.

He added that relaxation would depend on health advice received by the executive ahead of its meeting next week, but stressed that so far the picture was “encouraging”.

In England, restrictions were last updated on 15 December, from which point vaccine passports and facemasks have been required in order to attend concerts.

The wearing of face masks is mandated in all venues where crowds gather, and Covid certificates are needed for: venues where large crowds gather, including nightclubs; unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people; and unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people.

The introduction of a negative LFT in the certification scheme, meanwhile, followed extended lobbying by the sector to include the measure in any new restrictions.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Portugal eases restrictions amid record Covid-19 cases

Portugal will allow nightclubs to reopen in mid-January despite hitting a daily record of nearly 40,000 infections on Wednesday (5 January).

“It is evident that the Omicron variant is less severe … vaccination has been effective against it,” said prime minister Antonio Costa on Thursday (7 January).

“That’s why we have a much lower number of hospitalisations, fewer people in ICU and deaths.”

Nightclubs and bars can reopen on 14 January but a negative test will be required to enter. Previously bars and nightclubs were closed and outdoor gatherings were limited to 10 people.

Nightclubs and bars can reopen on 14 January but a negative test will be required to enter

Covid passports certifying full inoculation, recovery from Covid-19 or a negative test result, are still mandatory to access events, restaurants, gyms and other leisure and hospitality businesses. Masks are still required for indoor spaces.

Also from Monday, only infected people and those who live with them are required to isolate, while those who have received a booster shot – about 3 million people – no longer need to do so.

Students can return to school from that date but a work-from-home order, imposed around Christmas, will stay in place for now.

Portugal is one of the few European markets that are effectively open for live music, along with Austria which recently ended the three-week lockdown for vaccinated people across most of the country.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Irish gov to pay ‘basic income’ to 2,000 artists

The Irish government is set to pay approximately 2,000 artists, actors and musicians a basic income for three years.

Recipients of the scheme may receive a basic payment of €10.50 (£8.75) an hour to pursue their creative work.

A consultation on how the Basic Income for the Arts scheme will run has opened and details are yet to be determined.

Irish minister for culture Catherine Martin previously said that the government was committing about €25m (£20.87m) to the scheme and it would be up and running in early 2022.

In a statement, Martin called the Basic Income for the Arts a “once-in-a-generation policy intervention”

According to the consultation, if there are more people eligible for the scheme than there are places available then participants may have to be selected at random.

In a statement, Martin called the Basic Income for the Arts a “once-in-a-generation policy intervention”.

The scheme is the top recommendation from an arts and culture task force, set up by Martin to suggest ways in which the arts could recover from the “unprecedented damage” caused by the pandemic.

The consultation opened on Thursday (6 January) and closes on 27 January.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

International Ticketing Report 2021: Pandemic Lessons

The International Ticketing Report is a one-off annual health check on the global ticketing business, with emphasis on the sector’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The past two years have been turbulent for the business, but with consumer demand for live events now at an all-time peak, the challenges of fulfilling the most packed event schedule in history will test ticketers to the hilt.

Staffing, vouchers schemes and refunds, demand, consumer behaviour, communication, new products & services, secondary ticketing, pandemic lessons and recovery are among the challengers addressed by industry-leading experts in this extended report.

The report, originally published in IQ105, is in lieu of the International Ticketing Yearbook – a standalone global guide to the live entertainment market that will return in 2022.

IQ will publish sections of the International Ticketing Report over the coming weeks but subscribers can read the entire feature in issue 105 of IQ Magazine now.

To read the previous instalment of the report on secondary ticketing, click here.


Dealing with the various Covid restrictions, lobbying for government support, and having to make difficult decisions over staff cuts have been unprecedented tasks for ticketing company senior management over the past 18 months. But what have been the biggest lessons that they have learned throughout the crisis?

Eventim’s chief operating officer Alexander Ruoff is optimistic following the long pause in business. “People’s longing for live entertainment remains unbroken even after 18 months of pandemic, and the fans’ loyalty to their favourite artists,” he says.

“What was and is also great is the cohesion of our employees during the pandemic and how everyone worked together to ensure that CTS Eventim emerges even stronger from the crisis.”

But he is all too aware that the industry needs to do more to elevate its status in the minds of politicians. “Culture and the people’s need for culture and live entertainment apparently do not always enjoy the status in politics that would be desirable,” he says.

“Our industry was the first to go and the last to return, and it was tough,” says Ticketmaster’s Mark Yovich. “As a global business with global teams, we had colleagues experiencing every possible pandemic scenario at different times – so learnings, advice, and sympathetic ears were invaluable. They say your colleagues are like your family, and I never felt that more than over the last 18 months.

“Promoters and venues have had the opportunity to look into their ticketing needs in far greater detail than ever before”

“Throughout it all, to see our teams come together at this time to innovate, build, and execute incredible features as well as deliver incredibly complex customer service support in such short timeframes was truly inspiring.

“It was our job to deliver the tools our clients so desperately required in this crisis – and we did just that. So much so that we’ve had an abundance of new clients come knocking who saw this work and are now turning to us in need of a reliant, industry-leading ticketing service as they navigate the return to live.”

Total Ticketing‘s Martin Haigh sees opportunity for boutique ticketing firms to gain a stronger foothold as the recovery plays out.

“We feel that promoters and venues have had the opportunity to look into their ticketing needs in far greater detail than ever before and as such are way more self-educated and open to exploring new opportunities. So, this is a good time to erode into the incumbents’ market share,” he says.

At Dice, Russ Tannen also sees opportunity. “We discovered a huge underserved live music audience living outside of major cities,” he states. But he laments that, “There isn’t enough transparency for artists in live.”

TixTrack CEO Steven Sunshine observes, “We have seen the past 18 months as a strong positive as it has made ticket sellers more interested in mobile and cloud-based solutions as well as digital ticket delivery, timed-entry ticketing, and many other features and functions that have been a part of our ticketing offering even pre-Covid.”

“We discovered a huge underserved live music audience living outside of major cities”

On a positive note, Skiddle’s head of marketing, Jamie Scahill, believes consumer confidence will not take long to rebuild. “We’ve seen a yearning by all demographics of the public to get back out and experience events and we’re confident that this demand will be set to continue as more and more people become comfortable with going out again,” he says.

“The pandemic has highlighted how good the live entertainment ticketing industry is,” states The Ticket Factory‘s Richard Howle. “Our primary concern was to do the right thing by our clients and customers and that passion to deliver great service has shone through.

“As an industry we normally only make the headlines when things go wrong and the fact that we have gone through the last 18 months with very little in the way of bad headlines, particularly when compared to other industries, such as travel, is testament to what a good job we have done.”

And looking at things from a personal point of view, AXS director of ticketing Paul Newman says, “The last 18 months have made me realise the importance of both physical and mental wellbeing, and I fully intend to carry forward the good habits I have developed in both my professional and personal life.

“Business-wise, I think that maybe the ticketing industry realises there is a stronger need to work together on finding solutions to the issues we all face.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Event Research Programme publishes final reports

The UK government has published its final reports from the Events Research Programme (ERP).

The ERP ran for four months and encompassed 31 pilots, including music events such as Sefton Park Pilot music festival in Liverpool, the BRIT Awards, Latitude, Tramlines and Download, as well as the Euro 2020 football tournament and Silverstone Grand Prix. Events were grouped according to type: indoor seated, mainly outdoor seated, mainly outdoor semi-seated and mainly outdoor unseated.

The report noted that improvements to air quality – either by improving ventilation or reducing crowding – can be made to mitigate the risk of airborne transmission.

“It was found that high crowding can be maintained without significant negative impact on air quality, in settings such as open-sided marquees or sheltered outdoor seating which have very high levels of natural ventilation,” it says. “Improvements can be made in indoor settings; opening windows, doors or adding fans strategically can increase air quality. However, reducing overcrowding was found to be more immediately impactful on air quality.”

It concluded that “outdoor unstructured ERP events, specifically festivals”, posed the highest increased transmission risk from events examined as part of the scheme, with a 1.7 fold increased risk of Covid-19 transmission among attendees. Potential reasons include “behaviour whilst at the event, overall event size and duration or mode of travel to and from the event”.

Commenting on the findings, Paul Reed, CEO of the UK’s Association of Independent Festivals, says: “Since emerging from restrictions earlier this year, festival organisers across the UK who were able to stage an event implemented a range of measures to mitigate the transmission of Covid-19, with over 70% implementing full certification according to our data. This went far beyond what was mandated by government at the time.

“Our members will continue to go above and beyond and we continue to liaise with government and wider industry on recommended best practices. The safety of audiences will, as ever, be of paramount concern as they plan for the 2022 season.”

We have gathered large amounts of data that can be used by the scientific community worldwide

Across all events, 87% of people with a positive Covid-19 test result during the study period were unvaccinated, 8% reported having a single dose and 5% reported two doses.

Professor Dame Theresa Marteau, chair of ERP science board, says: “We have gathered large amounts of data that can be used by the scientific community worldwide, event organisers and government for the best understanding to date of the risk of transmitting coronavirus at live events and how we can best keep this risk low.”

“The Events Research Programme broke new ground on the size and scale of scientific research undertaken at live events and has undoubtedly contributed to the early reopening of our crucial business, sporting and cultural events sectors,” adds Nigel Huddleston, minister for sport, tourism, heritage and civil society.

“The programme has provided an important template for event organisers the world over to continue to be able to plan their events safely and that’s great credit to the scientists behind this world-leading study.”

Elsewhere, results of the clinical trial organised by French live music association Prodiss and Paris hospital AP-HP under the banner ‘Ambition Live Again’, have been published in UK-based medical journal, The Lancet.

The findings from the 29 May test concert at the Accor Arena (20,300-cap.) in Paris with DJ Etienne de Crécy and the band Indochine showed that attending a concert was not associated with an increased risk of transmission when certain hygiene and testing protocols are followed.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Ocaso to be Costa Rica’s first mass event since 2020

Ocaso festival is to be the first government-approved mass event in Costa Rico since the pandemic started in April 2020.

The underground festival’s 5th-anniversary event, scheduled for 6–11 January 2022, has also been selected to become the official pilot event for Covid safety, debuting a protocol that will be used for all of the country’s mass events.

The organisers are currently waiting to hear whether the Costa Rican government will implement a vaccine mandate in January or if it will be pushed back until May.

Adriatique, Hot Since 82, Seth Troxler, Amelie Lens, Andreas Henneberg, Colyn, Doc Martin and more will perform across the festival’s ‘poolside stages, beach blowouts and jungle haven’ in the coastal town of Tamarindo.

Andreas Henneberg, Colyn, Doc Martin and more will perform across ‘poolside stages, beach blowouts and jungle haven’

According to the organisers, Ocaso is “the most affordable festival in Costa Rica” with a full six-day festival pass starting at $109 for residents of Latin America and $159 for international guests.

The team behind the 7,000-capacity festival has also announced that Ocaso will be “totally carbon neutral” by January 2023.

Devin Ellis, founder of Ocaso festival, says: “The plan of action includes removing all plastics from our event. We are also increasing the beach cleanups we do to multiple days before and after the festival and planting several hundred trees on our two event location grounds to offset the use of fuel for our generators.”

Costa Rica has one of the highest rates of renewable energy generation in the world.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

VNPF demands further support for Dutch live sector

The Association of Dutch Music Venues and Festivals (VNPF) has warned the sector will remain in need of financial support as long as Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.

The warning follows the recent publication of its new Pop Stages and Festivals in Figures 2020 report, based on data from 101 Dutch music venues and festivals.

According to the study, revenue from ticket sales and catering at domestic shows plummeted from €121.7 million in 2019 to €29.7m last year as a result of the pandemic.

“In 2020, almost 23,000 fewer performances were given by artists than in 2019,” says the report. “For pop venues affiliated with the VNPF, this led to €92m less income. As a result, many employees lost their jobs. The impact of the pandemic on the entire live music industry is still profound today.”

The damage was mitigated by generic and sector-specific support, with 83% of music venues receiving additional financial resources from support measures. However, events in the country are currently restricted to 75% capacity and are required to close between 00:00 and 06:00 CET.

Financial support remains necessary as long as restrictive measures are still in place

“The VNPF expects similar or worse results in 2021,” it concludes. “Financial support, such as guarantee schemes… are still very much needed. With the end of the generic support measures as of 1 October, pop venues and festivals, artists and suppliers could run into further problems, now that programming and receiving audiences at full capacity and at night is still not possible.

“There is understanding for restrictive measures that combat the coronavirus, because the stages and festivals want nothing more than for society to be able to open fully again, but the measures must be effective and proportional. In addition, financial support remains necessary as long as restrictive measures are still in place.”

In September, the Dutch event sector lost summary proceedings brought against the state due to the latest restrictions. Twenty organisations including Mojo, ID&T, Unmute Us and Apenkooi Events demanded in court that all events and club nights be allowed again without restrictions on capacity and time.

The sector has continuously argued that the government restrictions do not reflect the three months’ worth of findings from the Fieldlab Evenementen studies. However, the judge said that the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) factored in the results when giving advice to the outgoing cabinet.

The Dutch government has attempted to soften the blow of the restrictions by announcing a €15m fund to compensate promoters and venues for lost revenue from indoor standing shows – on top of its €385m guarantee fund.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Kiss refute lax Covid protocol claims

Kiss have strongly denied allegations of lax Covid protocols after their long-serving guitar tech died earlier this month after testing positive for coronavirus.

Rolling Stone reports that 53-year-old Francis Stueber, who had worked with the band for more than two decades, passed away just two days after being quarantined in a hotel room in Detroit.

The group are currently on the American leg of their farewell End of the World tour. However, three crew members, speaking to the publication on the condition of anonymity, have alleged the tour’s Covid-safe measures were insufficient.

“Every day during the shows, we weren’t tested,” claimed one roadie. “It’s horrible that Fran passed, and it’s horrible if this is our protocol just for us to tour.”

In response, Kiss issued a statement saying their safety protocols “met, but most often exceeded, federal, state, and local guidelines”, adding: “Ultimately this is still a global pandemic and there is simply no foolproof way to tour without some element of risk.

It has recently been brought to our attention that certain crew members may have provided fake vaccination cards which, if true, we find morally reprehensible

“If certain crew chose to go out to dinner on a day off, or have beers at a local bar after the show, and did so without a mask or without following protocols, there is little that anyone can do to stop that. Particularly when many of our tour markets did not have any state or local mask mandates in place.”

The band said they had also been made aware of some crew members attempting to conceal signs of illness and later refusing medical attention, and also brought up claims that fake vaccination cards had been used.

“It has recently been brought to our attention that certain crew members may have provided fake vaccination cards which, if true, we find morally reprehensible (as well as illegal), putting the entire tour in harm’s way,” they said.

Kiss added they were “profoundly heartbroken” by Stueber’s death and urged people to get vaccinated against the virus.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Australia’s live event industry lost $1.4bn in 2020

Covid-19 stripped Australia’s live entertainment industry of AUS$1.4 billion in revenue during 2020, a new report has found.

Following record years in 2018 and 2019, the pandemic had a “devastating impact” on the live sector, according to Live Performance Australia’s Ticket Attendance and Revenue Report.

The ticketing data shows close to 70% of revenue and attendance was obliterated after the industry was shut down in March last year.

In 2020, the number of tickets issued to live performance events fell by 68% to under eight million, ticket sales revenue fell by 69% to $600m, and the average ticket price fell from $92.89 to $87.14.

Live Performance Australia’s chief executive, Evelyn Richardson, says: “EY’s analysis of 2019 and 2020 data clearly shows the massive hit the live entertainment industry took in 2020.

“Ongoing restrictions, lockdowns and border closures caused significant disruption to an industry heavily reliant on national touring. These are stark numbers.”

“Ongoing restrictions, lockdowns and border closures caused disruption to an industry heavily reliant on national touring”

The report breaks down live entertainment into categories: contemporary music, music theatre, festivals (contemporary music), theatre, festivals (multi-category), circus and physical theatre, comedy, classical music, opera, children’s/family, ballet and dance, and special events.

Contemporary Music, a category that includes rock, pop and hip-hop concerts, remained the biggest category, accounting for over 50% total revenue of live performance at $309m and 37% of attendances (nearly 3 million).

However, the sector experienced an overall decline of 63% in revenue and 65% in attendance between 2019 and 2020.

Contemporary music festivals drew nearly 437,500 people in 2020, generating over $54.2m from ticket sales.

However, the category suffered a staggering 70% loss in both attendance and revenue compared to 2019, due to bans on mass gatherings, border closures and density limits introduced as part of Covid-19.

Major festivals in this category in 2020 were Falls Downtown, WOMADelaide and St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival.

Contemporary music festivals suffered a staggering 70% loss in both attendance and revenue compared to 2019

According to Richardson, Australia’s live entertainment business has a long road to recovery: “The forecast for the next 12 months indicates industry viability is seriously threatened with reactivation and recovery now delayed. The lag time required to plan and deliver events sees companies trying to retain staff to work on pipeline events through Q4 and well into the middle of next year.”

Richardson reiterated calls for an insurance scheme for the business, echoing sentiments previously shared by not only LPA but other industry bodies.

“We expect the impacts of Covid-19 in 2021 maybe even greater given our two major markets [NSW, VIC] have been closed for extended periods,” she said, “and these impacts have seen business confidence collapse and the industry needs an insurance scheme to underwrite investment risk in 2022/23.

“The live music and entertainment industry also urgently requires a targeted, Business Reactivation package to ensure we retain capacity to operate when border, venue capacity and operational restrictions are eased. While much of the economy will be returning to pre-Covid activity, the live music and entertainment industry will be constrained by venue capacity and border restrictions for some months.”

Read the LPA’s full report here.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

69k industry jobs lost to Covid, report reveals

UK Music’s annual This Is Music report has revealed the impact of Covid-19 wiped out 69,000 music industry jobs – one in three of the total workforce.

Employment plummeted by 35% from an all-time high of 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 in 2020, according to the 2021 report, while the industry’s economic contribution fell 46% from £5.8bn to £3.1bn year-on-year. Music exports also dropped 23% from £2.9bn to £2.3bn in the same period.

Launching the report, UK Music has called on the government to introduce tax incentives and other employment-boosting measures to help the sector rebuild. It also calling for urgent action to resolve the problems facing musicians and crew touring the EU.

UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin says: “The past 18 months have been exceptionally challenging for the UK music industry, with billions wiped off the value of the sector – but we are determined to look to the future and focus on recovery.

“Music matters to us all. And in a year when we’ve seen just how important music is to all our lives, it’s more important than ever that we take the necessary steps to protect, strengthen and grow the industry.”

“In our Music Industry Strategic Recovery Plan we identify the policy interventions required and set out a clear action plan to get the industry back up on its feet.”

With the right support, the UK music industry can help drive the post-pandemic recovery

UK Music, which carried out the flagship study with its members since 2013, is now urging the government to implement tax incentives for the music industry to stimulate growth and jobs, and to take action to remove the barriers to touring the EU.

In addition, it is calling for a permanent reduction in VAT rate on live music event tickets, more funding and support for music exports, and an increase in funding for music education and for the self-employed to help secure the talent pipeline.

“With the right support, the UK music industry can help drive the post-pandemic recovery,” adds Njoku-Goodwin. “This Is Music sets out the positive role the music industry can play in our country’s future, and the steps that need to be taken to achieve that.

“Music is a key national asset, part of our history and our heritage. More than that, it’s part of our future. And we can’t value it highly enough.”

UK Music has also commissioned Public First to survey the views of the general public on the music industry. Among the findings were that 75% of the public are proud of the UK music industry and its heritage, 59% believe music improves the UK’s reputation overseas and 74% say music is important to their quality of life.

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries adds: “I know how difficult the last year and a half has been – with venues closed, stages dark, and artists prevented from doing what they love. The whole industry has shown great strength, patience and resilience during these hard times, pulling together to help the whole country get through the Covid-19 crisis.

“Our £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund has been a vital lifeline, helping music organisations across the UK to survive one of the worst peacetime crises on record. As doors reopened, our Events Research Programme has enabled music events to return safely.

“We have also listened carefully to UK Music’s arguments about a market failure regarding events insurance, and introduced the Government-backed £700 million Live Events Reinsurance Scheme to ensure future events can be planned with certainty.

“Until now, our focus has been rescue and reopening. Now the priority is to ensure a strong recovery. The UK music industry is one of our country’s great national assets, and I give my commitment that the Government will continue to back it every step of the way.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.