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All Points East partners with crypto platform Luno

On the heels of its link-up with London’s Koko venue, cryptocurrency exchange Luno has been announced as presenting partner of this year’s All Points East festival.

According to Luno, the partnership, which has been facilitated by AEG Global Partnerships, will enable it to “educate festival goers about safely harnessing the power and possibilities of cryptocurrency”.

Taking place in East London’s Victoria Park from 19-28 August, All Points East is expected to attract more than 350,000 festival goers over the course of the event. Headline acts will include Gorillaz, The Chemical Brothers, Kraftwerk, Tame Impala, The National, Disclosure and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

“Every day, the relationship between crypto and music grows stronger”

“We’re delighted to be the presenting partner for All Points East this year,” says Sam Kopelman, Luno’s UK country manager. “You only have to look at the line up to see that it’s a festival with real cultural relevance that attracts a forward thinking crowd. As such, it’s the perfect partner for us to develop a long term relationship with music fans, artists and the broader industry. Every day, the relationship between crypto and music grows stronger, with blockchain innovations beginning to revolutionise the industry.”

The deal also includes the creation of the ‘Luno Lounge’ on the festival site, a space which will reflect the themes of both accessibility and opportunity. Luno customers will be offered exclusive access to promotions and competitions for festival tickets via social media, as well as fast track entry and other on-site benefits such as VIP upgrades.

Luno will also have a number of crypto themed environments on the festival site and will work with artists to create unique content about the opportunities of crypto.

“We’ll be working with Luno to add value to both fans and park users across the whole festival”

Luno is becoming increasingly active in the UK’s music and entertainment space as it aims to build on the growing interest in digital and blockchain technology amongst the cultural sector and creative industries.

“All Points East has grown from strength to strength over the last four years,” says Jim King, AEG’s CEO of European Festivals. “2022 arguably has the strongest line up to date and so it’s the perfect opportunity for us to welcome Luno as the presenting partner for the festival. We will be working with Luno to add value to both fans and park users across the whole festival, especially during our midweek ‘In the Neighbourhood’ programme.”

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Koko partners with cryptocurrency platform Luno

London’s revamped Koko venue has announced a multi-million pound partnership with cryptocurrency platform Luno, which boasts more than 10 million users.

The link-up will include the launch of The Luno, a new multi-format space at the top of the 1,500-cap theatre, which will host DJ shows, digital art exhibitions, and immersive events, as well as talks and workshops for the public focusing on decentralising technology and cryptocurrencies.

The partnership is also designed to support emerging talent through a series of livestreams, while exclusive offers such as fan experiences, ticket giveaways, presale tickets and merch drops will be available to Luno customers.

“Koko is about celebrating 122 years of culture, whilst fiercely stepping into the future,” says Seb Croft, Koko’s commercial director. “Our partnership with Luno will allow us to be at the forefront of blockchain technology, supporting artists in new ways and providing game-changing experiences for fans. The opportunities for us to innovate together in the music and entertainment space are endless.”

Olly Bengough, Koko’s CEO and founder, says: “It’s exciting to enter this dynamic new partnership at such an important moment in time, as blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionise the future of music. Luno have successfully built up a global community of innovators and creators pioneering in this space, and for Koko to join forces as Web3 becomes an exciting new horizon for us all, gives Koko a truly unique opportunity to take part in this ever evolving new space.”

“Every day the relationship between crypto and music grows stronger”

Sam Kopelman, Luno’s UK country manager, adds: “Koko is a cultural institution and for decades has used its stage to put the spotlight on emerging talent as well as some of the biggest acts in the world. We could not think of a better partner for our first step into the music and entertainment space and we cannot wait to put our support behind live music in the UK after such a difficult two years for the industry.”

Koko is relaunching as a “new global music platform” on 30 April after £70 million of investment. Promising to “redefine live music and entertainment”, the venture is a collaboration between Bengough and Elisabeth Murdoch’s award-winning global content company Sister. Its opening line-up includes Jorja Smith, Lianne La Havas and Tems, among others.

It is the latest music venue to ink a big money crypto partnership. AEG’s Staples Center in Los Angeles was recently renamed the Crypto.com Arena as part of a 20-year naming rights deal, reportedly worth US$700 million (€646m), with the Singapore-based firm.

Belgium’s biggest festival Tomorrowland also linked with leading global cryptocurrency exchange FTX Europe to “make the leap into web3 and NFTs”.

“Every day the relationship between crypto and music grows stronger, with blockchain innovations beginning to revolutionise the industry,” adds Kopelman. “With Koko we look forward to working with artists and helping them realise the potential of decentralised technology, giving them greater control over their music and their futures.”


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World’s first Bitcoin music festival announced

Deadmau5 and Logic are slated to headline the ‘world’s first Bitcoin festival’ in Miami, Florida, this coming weekend.

Sound Money Fest will close out the Bitcoin 2022 conference, which is expected to draw 40,000 attendees to the Miami Beach Convention Center between 6–9 April.

CL, Steve Aoki, Killer Mike & Big Boi, and San Holo are also slated to perform at the event, which will feature one indoor stage and one outdoors, in the surrounding Pride Park.

All artists on the lineup are paid partially or fully in Bitcoin, according to the organisers, BTC Media.

All artists on the lineup are paid partially or fully in Bitcoin, according to the organisers

Last year, OneRepublic became the first major-label US act to accept the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as full payment for a concert.

“Bitcoin is part of every industry,” says Kim Taylor, director of Sound Money Fest and global events specialist for BTC Media.

“The music industry doesn’t support its artists the way it should and Bitcoin is the way we can fix that. Not to mention, Bitcoiners, we all like music, we’re all over the world and have different tastes. What better way to bring people together than with a big party?”

BTC Media has enlisted US-based full-service entertainment firm Coalition Entertainment to handle talent buying and production for Sound Money Fest.

Entry to the festival comes with conference registration but fans interested in attending just the festival can buy tickets separately with regular US dollars or Bitcoin.


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Crypto.com currency ‘up 70%’ after LA arena deal

Crypto.com’s currency, CRO token, surged almost 70% in the wake of the platform’s naming rights deal for AEG’s Staples Center, according to a new report.

The 20-year deal with the Singapore-based cryptocurrency company is reportedly worth US$700 million (€622m), with all of the 20,000-cap venue’s external signage to be replaced by June 2022.

However, Forbes reports the coin’s value has risen 69.9% since last week’s announcement that the 20,000-cap Los Angeles venue is to be renamed the Crypto.com Arena from 25 December following an agreement brokered by AEG Global Partnerships. The news prompted Meltem Demirors, chief strategy officer at CoinShares International, to say the deal had already paid for itself more than a dozen times.

The deal paid for itself – 13x over

“Crypto.com put $700M into a 20 year sponsorship, and the resulting PR doubled its token price and led to a $9B run-up in market cap the deal paid for itself –13x over,” she tweeted, “difficult to untangle token distribution and who benefited, but smart token marketing strategy!”

The new relationship will result in the first name change in the venue’s 22-year history and will also see Crypto.com featured prominently across the venue with large-scale, premium branding and signage.

“We’re very excited about partnering with AEG and investing long term in this city, starting with Crypto.com Arena in the heart of downtown, and using our platform in new and creative ways so that cryptocurrency can power the future of world class sports, entertainment and technology for fans in LA and around the world,” said Crypto.com co-founder and CEO, Kris Marszalek.

Opening its doors in 1999, the downtown Los Angeles arena is home to the NBA’s LA Lakers and LA Clippers and the NHL’s LA Kings and LA Sparks and hosts over 240 major high-profile events a year, including 19 of the last 21 Grammy Awards shows. Upcoming concerts include Enrique Iglesias & Ricky Martin, Bad Bunny, Justin Bieber, Imagine Dragons and the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest series.

Earlier this year, Crypto.com became the first crypto platform to partner with an F1 team (Aston Martin), the first to partner with an NHL team (Montreal Canadiens), and the first to partner with a professional sports league (Lega Serie A).


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OneRepublic ‘first major US act to accept Bitcoin for gig’

OneRepublic has become the first major-label US act to accept the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as full payment for a concert, according to the band’s reps.

The payment was for an intimate acoustic show at historical venue, Haydn Hall, outside of Vienna, Austria, on 16 November.

The Grammy award-winning band used peer-to-peer Bitcoin payment app, Strike, to accept payment for the gig, which is said to have sold out in a matter of minutes.

“My band and I are so happy to be a part of something that we believe is, without question, the future of how payments are transacted for unlimited amounts of assets, performances, services, purchases, music, etc. around the world,” says OneRepublic singer Ryan Tedder, whose interest in the NFT space is well documented.

“Without question, [this is] the future of how payments are transacted for unlimited amounts of assets around the world”

“Whether it’s artists using NFTs to fund albums with their fans or bands being paid for concerts in crypto, music & tech go hand in hand. With that in mind, it only made sense for us to take the next logical step. I also have an upcoming private concert in December I’m planning on taking Bitcoin for.”

The live music industry is increasingly adopting cryptocurrency for varying purposes. Recently, it was announced that AEG’s Staples Center in Los Angeles is to be renamed the Crypto.com Arena as part of a new 20-year naming rights deal.

Elsewhere, Universal Music Group has formed an ‘NFT supergroup’ made entirely out of digital apes, which will perform across and participate in video games, virtual-reality apps and the metaverse.

Live Nation is also capitalising on the trend by collaborating with artists to launch digital collectable NFT ticket stubs.

Kings of Leon, Grimes, Shawn Mendes, Steve Aoki, Quavo, Lil Baby, 2 Chainz, Jack Harlow, Tory Lanez, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, 3lau, Ozuna are among the artists who have released collections of NFTs.


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NFTs: Umek to sell rights to live show as a token

Music analytics and data platform Viberate will tomorrrow be the first company to test the concept of a ‘live event NFT’ by selling the rights to a live performance as a non-fungible token.

The upcoming NFT ‘drop’ – ie the release, and subsequent auction, of the blockchain-based tokens – will start on 29 April at 8pm UK time (3pm EST) and run for 24 hours. Focusing on the work of techno DJ Umek, the drop will see buyers bid for rights one of three remixes of Umek’s 1999 hit ‘Lanicor‘, a livestreamed concert, or an in-person live performance.

Bidding for the livestream NFT begins at US$2,500, with the concert NFT starting at $5,000.

“We’re excited about NFTs and blockchain technology in general, as it really opens up new opportunities for artists and organisers to create transparent and secure bookings,” says Vasja Veber, Viberate co-founder and Umek’s manager.

“We hope to prove a concept with our NFT drop”

“The industry’s been in a sort of limbo this past year. As there are no live events, the artists try to make do by streaming their performances, but there’s no clear answer as to when and how things will return to normal – or even what ‘normal’ will mean by then.

“We hope to prove a concept with our NFT drop – any artist can make sure they’ll have a booking waiting for them once live gigs are back in the picture, and the terms of that booking are agreed upon in advance.”

If the concept proves successful, Viberate plans to provide its blockchain-based verification and token-minting services to the hundreds of thousands of artists in its database.

The NFT boom has so far seen artists offer VIP tickets, digital art and collectible albums in the format, though the Viberate event, in partnership with Blockparty, is the first to leverage the technology for booking artists.


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Finding gold in the glitter – how NFTs are going to impact ticketing

A recent discovery was made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that drew the attention of anyone in the vicinity: a hill was found to contain 98% gold in its soil. As can be expected after such a find, anyone within travelling distance with a shovel or fingernails has feverishly been digging away at the mountain, trying to extract its riches.

It’s not too difficult to draw a comparison between this mountain and the recent NFT hype.

If you have been consuming any type of media, social or other, chances are you will have heard the term ‘NFT’ several dozen times over the last few weeks. From Kings of Leon releasing their album as an NFT to sports mogul Ted Leonsis naming the benefits of NFTs in sports to digital artist Beeple auctioning off an NFT artwork for $69 million through esteemed auction house Christie’s.

Needless to say, there is a lot of hype around those three letters right now, as everyone begins sticking their shovels into this newly discovered mountain of gold. There seems to be no end to what it can provide; common dirt clusters are suddenly invaluable gems.

“NFT ticketing is a use case worth taking very seriously”

The obvious counter-response to a new trend that seems to be making everyone and their mother ridiculous amounts of money without any significant friction is to question its legitimacy.

However, simply dismissing NFTs as a fad or a money-grab would be a wasted opportunity. There is indeed merit to it, especially as its application and use cases are developed and fine-tuned.

For everyone in the entertainment industry, and especially the ticketing business, reading up on the possibilities and potential implementations of NFTs should be required homework.

I’ll explain why we’ve been working on an NFT ticketing approach over the past year at GET Protocol, and how we see it shaping the future of events.

But first, some basics. What is an NFT?

“The term is short for non-fungible token and, in plain English, refers to a small digital file – such as a drawing, a short video clip or even a tweet – that has been registered as one of a kind, or one of a limited batch, using blockchain software.”Decrypt

Over the past few months NFTs have proven themselves useful in allowing digital content creators to take ownership over their craft and content. An artist now no longer relies on intermediaries such as agents, galleries or publishers to get their work in the hands of their (potential) fans.

While the headlines are filled with astronomical bidding wars and overnight millionaires, there’s a lot more to it than hot shot auctions and digital art, where most of the hype has originated from thus far.

“Dismissing NFTs as a fad or a money-grab would be a wasted opportunity”

NFT ticketing is a use case worth taking very seriously. When applied correctly, it enables ticket issuers a variety of benefits that impact and drastically improve the ticketing experience. Both for the fan and the organizer or artist.

Here are three benefits of NFT tickets we are embracing and will be offering to the ticketing companies using GET Protocol. Feel free to copy, tweak or critique them at your own discretion.

A. Perpetual revenue
Since NFT tickets are programmable, it is possible to introduce a built-in ‘royalty split’ for any resale on the secondary market. Profit sharing can be tweaked to the liking of the ticket issuer and written into the smart contract code.

Finally, those who actually deliver the value can profit from secondary ticket sales, instead of greedy touts or resale platforms. All without any need for complicated accounting or external parties.

B. Tickets as collectibles
This might seem gimmicky, but the sentimental experience of fandom should not be overlooked. Think of a digitised version of sticking the ticket to an unforgettable night on your refrigerator, only with way more possibilities to maximise the memories and cultivate a longstanding connection with a fan.

As NFTs, tickets can turn into proof-of-attendance badges (we are partnering with POAP for this purpose) which can be shown off online and even traded. It can also allow you to find and reward your diehard fans who go to every show, for example by sending exclusive content to those fans in possession of a previously issued ticket. The possibilities and variations here are limitless.

C. Pre-financing of future events
We are working on a ‘DeFi’ (decentralised finance – don’t worry, we’ll save that for another blog) approach that will allow event organisers to use their ticket inventory as collateral. This will enable organisers to offer up their (NFT) tickets for investment prior to making any organisational costs.

This type of crowdfund investing can help organisers mitigate (part of) the risk of setting up a new event. Especially in a post-Covid world, this can be a welcome change. Read more about this functionality here.getNFT Smart Ticket Asset

If you want to know more about the technical workings of our NFT ticketing approach, I highly recommend this blog: Tokenizing the right of entry — Using NFTs to solve ticket scalping.

Of course, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. As with all new developments there are certain doubts and downsides being propagated which are worth mentioning briefly.

The two major counter-arguments heard right now are:

Humble advice: Be critical – but don’t miss out by being a boomer. 😉

Moving forward
As NFT applications mature we will begin to see where the longevity lies and how impactful the newly uncovered innovations are going to be. There will undoubtedly be growing pains and challenges along the way, but all signs indicate that the road ahead is worth the trouble.

As long as you look close enough, there’s gold to be found for everyone.


Olivier Biggs is a marketeer at GET Protocol and GUTS Tickets. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to get in touch via the GET Protocol website or follow the company’s developments on Twitter.

Kings of Leon generate more than $2m from NFT sales

American rock band Kings of Leon has generated more than $2 million from ‘NFT Yourself’, a collection of non-fungible tokens the band put up for sale through blockchain technology company YellowHeart.

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a form of cryptocurrency asset; a spendable token that you can exchange for other cryptocurrencies, or spend on goods where they’re accepted, on the blockchain (a Cloud for financial assets).

The ‘NFT Yourself’ sale, which ran from Friday to Monday, included the band’s new album ‘When You See Yourself’ as an NFT, as well as an auction of six different ‘Golden Tickets’.

Each ‘Golden Ticket’ would give the successful bidder four front-row seats to one show of every Kings of Leon headlining tour for life.

Of the Golden Tickets, ‘Bandit #3 Grid’ and ‘Heads in the Clouds’ sold for $91,000; ‘Golden Cherry Echo’ sold for roughly $95,700; ‘Bandit #1 Red’ and ‘Couch Distortion’ each sold for close to $97,000; and ‘Bandit #2 Wave’, which also included audio, sold for roughly $162,000.

Kings of Leon previously announced that Live Nation’s Crew Nation would receive the proceeds of both ‘Bandit Wave #2’ and the album tokens, which are priced at $50 each and include limited-edition vinyl and a digital download of the album.

The band has confirmed that $500,000 of the $2m has been donated to Live Nation’s Crew Nation fund

The band has confirmed that $500,000 of the $2m has been donated to Crew Nation fund to support live music crews during the pandemic.

The Golden Ticket auction was originally scheduled to end on Sunday but Kings of Leon ended up extending that deadline to give fans who are first-time NFT buyers a chance to partake.

“Breaking new ground is never easy….if it were, it wouldn’t be groundbreaking,” the band wrote in a since-deleted statement on YellowHeart’s website. “Many fans are first-time NFT buyers and are experiencing a learning curve. We hear you and are going to extend the ‘NFT Yourself’ Collection for an additional 24 hours, in hopes that more time allows more fans to participate in this historic offering.”

‘When You See Yourself’ can still be purchased as an NFT on YellowHeart’s website until 19 March but any limited-edition collectable NFTs that are not sold at the end of the sale will be deleted and no more will be made.

While Kings of Leon are reportedly the first act to release a new album as an NFT, a number of artists including Grimes, Shawn Mendes, Steve Aoki, Quavo, Lil Baby, 2 Chainz, Jack Harlow, Tory Lanez, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, 3lau, Ozuna have released collections recently.


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Spotify-backed crypto Libra rebrands before launch

The Libra Association, the organisation overseeing the upcoming cryptocurrency of the same name, has rebranded as the Diem Association as part of its preparations for launch.

The digital currency, which is also being renamed diem (≋), was proposed by Facebook last summer and is also supported by several music-related businesses, most notably streaming service Spotify. Other backers include Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek, which has a stake in CAA, Union Square Ventures, which owns part of Sofar Sounds, and Andreessen Horowitz, an investor in song lyric site Genius and music distribution platform UnitedMasters, as well as Uber, Lyft, Shopify and Checkout.com.

Under the new banner, the Diem Association “will continue to pursue a mission of building a safe, secure and compliant payment system that empowers people and businesses around the world”, according to a statement from the organisation.

“The Diem project will provide a simple platform for fintech innovation to thrive and enable consumers and businesses to conduct instantaneous, low-cost, highly secure transactions,” says Stuart Levey, CEO of the Diem Association. “We are committed to doing so in a way that promotes financial inclusion: expanding access to those who need it most, and simultaneously protecting the integrity of the financial system by deterring and detecting illicit conduct. We are excited to introduce Diem – a new name that signals the project’s growing maturity and independence.”

In addition to its stated mission of facilitating low-fee payments around the world, particularly in emerging markets, it has been suggested that concert ticketing companies could take advantage of the the permissionless and open-source nature of Diem.

Alongside the rebrand, the association has made a number of in recent months, including Dahlia Malkhi as chief technology officer, Christy Clark as chief of staff, Steve Bunnell as chief legal officer and Kiran Raj as executive vice-president for growth and innovation and deputy general counsel.

In addition, Diem Networks, the Diem Association subsidiary which serves as operator of the regulated payment system, has announced the appointment of James Emmett as managing director, Sterling Daines as chief compliance officer, Ian Jenkins as chief financial and risk officer and Saumya Bhavsar as general counsel.

With the executive team in place, Diem is now prioritising reading for launch, which will follow regulatory approval from the the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma), which with the association is in “active and productive dialogue”, says Levey. “The evolution of the project results from constructive ongoing engagement with governments, regulators and other key stakeholders,” he comments.


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TM targets 500m tickets on the blockchain

Ticketmaster’s vice-president of blockchain products, Sandy Khaund, says the world’s biggest ticket seller aims to have up to 500 million tickets registered and sold using blockchain-based smart contracts, following its acquisition last year of Khaund’s company, Upgraded.

Speaking at Elev8 in Las Vegas on Monday (9 December), Upgraded founder Khaund discussed the value that Ethereum-style self-executing ‘smart’ contracts can bring to the ticketing sector, telling delegates: “Our goal is to support 400–500 million tickets using smart contracts and blockchain technology.”

According to Cointelegraph, Khaund said Ticketmaster is focusing on the value that blockchain technology (best known as the framework for cryptocurrency transactions) can bring to its business, as well as how best to communicate that to its customers.

“We want fans to get more value out of their tickets, while ensuring that tickets end up in the right hands. Blockchain is the only technology that can do this by using smart contracts to digitally define the ticketing industry,” he explained.

“Ticketmaster has technology that is almost 40 years old. Using smart contracts on a blockchain network creates a unique system for Ticketmaster by writing code for each ticket we sell. We run this over a private blockchain network to ensure privacy and optimisation around tickets.

“We want fans to get more value out of their tickets, while ensuring that tickets end up in the right hands”

To explain how this works in practice, Khaund used a case study focusing on Pearl Jam, reports Cointelegraph. When Pearl Jam performed its series of Home Shows to help raise money for the homeless, he explained, the band wanted to charge US$150 per ticket, which inevitably led to their being resold for profit.

“Some people wanted to pay more than $150 per ticket, even though they were purchased at this price,” he said. “We needed to make these tickets non-transferable, so we gave out two tickets. The first went to the issuer and couldn’t be transferred. The second ticket could only be transferred once. We were able to do this in 15 minutes once we wrote a smart contract for this use case, which contained an overriding function around transfers, along with a transfer counter.”

While the blockchain tech is useful for Ticketmaster, Khaund said it should be invisible to the customer. “We want people to like our products,” he said. “It’s not about the technology for the end users.”

“Our job is to make sure the integration process for tickets is seamless with other systems, like SafeTix,” he added. “We also plan to support millions of tickets that won’t cause lag time for customers. Finally, we plan to make tickets smarter. This technology is programmable by nature and we need to continue coming up with creative use cases.”


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