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Planet launches AAA digital pass for artists

Multi-channel D2F platform Planet has launched an Access-All-Areas (AAA) digital pass, enabling artists to create customised experiences for content, tickets, and merchandise.

Planet says AAA allows artists to give fans direct, immediate access to new music, tours, or exclusive drops before, during and after shows.

The platform has been working closely with music management companies such as Verdigris, East City, Modest Management and Everybody’s to develop their interactions with fans.

British band Hot Chip were one of the first acts to come on board and found that 10% of fans utilising their AAA pass had never seen them live before. And Planet claim that K-pop girl group Everglow were able to identify, within 24 hours, the top 20 cities where planet pass holders most wanted to see them live, giving insights to route future tours, as well as what the favourite tracks and preferences on merchandise were in each market.

“What this unlocks for artists is a very exciting innovation for the industry whilst being something fans can adopt easily”

“I have been highly impressed by what Planet is offering to artists and their fanbases,” says Hot Chip’s manager Sam Denniston, MD of Verdigris. “The directness of the platform is remarkable and what this unlocks for artists is a very exciting innovation for the industry whilst being something fans can adopt easily.”

Soft launched back in late 2021, the platform has previously securing funding from TVG’s Ben Lovett and ie:music ventures, which has recently expanded to include the likes of OVG International president Sam Piccione III and Dominic Joseph of Captify Technologies, who joins the board as chair.

The recent involvement takes the total raised to date to £1.5 million, enabling Planet to expand its team across Europe and US.

“For too long, artists have had restricted access to their own fans”

“For too long, artists have had restricted access to their own fans and as a result have had to settle for one-way transactional relationships, whereas other cutting-edge companies create higher value experiences through long term reciprocal relationships,” says  Joseph. “This is a huge opportunity for artists to address given the level of fandom they have but right now don’t have the tools to do this. Planet is here to help them make this step into the future.”

Planet will be activating digital passes with a raft of established and emerging artists later this summer to provide them with actionable fan insights ahead of new releases, tour announcements or live shows this autumn.

The platform “hands back the ownership of the fan relationship to the artists” by providing them access to 100% of demand and full control of how this is activated.

 


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Ben Lovett, IE Music invest in new D2F platform

Planet, a new direct-to-fan (D2F) live music platform, launches today (26 July) with investment from Ben Lovett, member of Mumford & Sons, co-founder of Communion and CEO of Venue Group, and IE Ventures, the investment arm of artist management company IE Music (Robbie Williams, Passenger, Cher Lloyd).

Founded in early 2020 by James Morrison, former senior director of global partnerships for AEG, Planet enables artists to sell tickets, products and fans directly to fans, who in turn can influence “everything from tour locations to support acts”, according to the company, which describes itself as a “crowd-powered community where artists and fans come together as a collective”.

“Now is the moment to put fans back at the beating heart of live music” says Lovett, whose Venue Group added its latest property, the Social in London, late last year.  “Planet has been designed to bring music fans and artists closer together, providing a platform for artists to build a deeper understanding of their fans wants and needs.”

The new company’s website, planet.fans, is powered by an insights engine dubbed the Beat, which gathers and interprets data on consumer behaviour to provide artists with a greater understanding of their fans.

“As we emerge from lockdown … the opportunity for artists to reinvent and rewire their relationship with their biggest fans grows stronger”

Accoring to Morrison, the Beat engine helps artists plan what to ‘drop’, when to do it, and who to drop it to, “enabling artists to connect with fans more effectively and more directly in the biggest moments”.

“The more fans participate the better chance they have of getting more of what they want, like great-value tickets, backstage access and first-release drops, straight from the artist,” he explains. “As we emerge from lockdown and live events return, the demand of the crowd beats louder and the opportunity for artists to reinvent and rewire their relationship with their biggest fans grows stronger.”

The platform is starting to power artists’ early release presales from September 2021.

“We have long supported artists going directly to their fans”, says Stephen O’Reilly, managing director of IE Ventures, “largely because it improves the experience and creates new value from already captive audiences, and there’s none more so than live music fans right now, so we are looking forward to working with James and the team to understand the levels of demand for our artists as things open up.”

 


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PledgeMusic seeking partnership or acquisition

Direct-to-fan marketplace PledgeMusic has announced it is in talks with “several interested parties” regarding a potential partnership or acquisition. The company admitted to owing significant sums of money to multiple artists last week.

The PledgeMusic board and management released a statement today, announcing discussions with parties wanting to enter into a partnership with PledgeMusic, or acquire the company.

“These conversations , if successful, would lead to a transaction which would allow us to meet all of our outstanding obligations. As a result, we are hopeful that, as long as the company is given some breathing space to operate, a solution to these current problems will be found,” reads the statement.

The company is also in “advanced discussions with an independent third-party company” that will take control of “all artist funds going forward.”

PledgeMusic co-founder, Benji Rogers, has returned to the company as a volunteer strategic advisor and observer to the board of directors.

“For a lot of you patience must be wearing very thin, but we can only reiterate that we are fully focused on making this situation right”

“Benji will assist and advise the new management and finance team on the inherited and existing issues, as well as with the forward planning for the company,” says the PledgeMusic board.

Rogers comments: “I am convinced that they [PledgeMusic management team and board] are committed to fixing the artists payments situation as their first priority. I have seen first hand how tirelessly the team, management and board have been working to right the ship and that is why I have agreed to help where I can.”

PledgeMusic owes thousands to artists who have raised funds through its platform, a situation the company has called “unacceptable”.

The PledgeMusic team states that its priority is to settle all remaining back payments owed to artists and asks for “patience”:

“We know that for a lot of you this must be wearing very thin, but we can only reiterate that we are fully focused on making this situation right.”

The full statement can be read here.

 


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Direct-to-fan platform PledgeMusic owes artists $1,000s

The artist-to-fan marketplace PledgeMusic is behind on payments to multiple artists who have raised funds through its platform, prompting criticism from the music community.

Reports started to circulate that PledgeMusic was failing to pay musicians on time in June last year. Multiple prominent artists are now owed large sums of money from the company.

In September, chief executive Dominic Pandiscia stepped down from his position and the company reshuffled the senior management team, pointing to new investors.

Music industry pundit Bob Lefsetz brought attention to the issues this week, writing that American rock band Fastball “can’t get paid”. PledgeMusic reportedly owes the band US$20,000.

Over 25 artists and agents responded to the letter, citing similar grievances.

PledgeMusic issued a statement stating it is “committed to serving artist and fan communities”.

“We deeply regret that recently we have not lived up to the high standards to which PledgeMusic has always held itself”

“We deeply regret that recently we have not lived up to the high standards to which PledgeMusic has always held itself. We acknowledge that many artists have and continue to experience payment delays. These delays to artists are unacceptable – not only to them but to us.”

The company states that it expects to bring payments up-to-date within the next 90 days.

PledgeMusic cofounder Benji Rogers, who left the company in 2016, apologises to artists and fans: “To the artists, their teams, managers, labels and fans, and to all who have been negatively affected by the issues at PledgeMusic, I am truly sorry.”

PledgeMusic was founded in 2009 by Benji Rogers and Jayce Varden. The platform aimed to connect fans directly with artists, facilitating the sale of tickets, vinyl, CDs and merchandise without the need for a middleman.

Fans also contributed towards recording costs through a crowdfunding service and received regular updates on artists’ progress.

 


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Bandcamp protests ‘Muslim ban’ with ACLU donation

Bandcamp, a platform for artists to sell tickets, music and merch direct to fans (D2F), has announced it will donate all profits this Friday to the American Civil Liberties Union in protest against US president Donald Trump’s so-called ‘Muslim ban’.

In an open letter, company founder and CEO Ethan Diamond attacks the introduction of executive order 13769, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, which bars the entry of Iraqis, Iranians, Libyans, Somalians, Sudanese, Syrians and Yemenis into the US for 90 days and has been criticised by the president’s opponents as Islamophobic.

“Like 98% of US citizens (including the president), I am the descendant of immigrants – my great-grandparents came to America from Russia and Lithuania as teenagers and worked in sweatshops until they were able to afford to bring the rest of their families over,” he writes.

“Last week’s executive order barring immigrants from seven Middle-Eastern countries from entering the US is not simply immoral, it violates the very spirit and foundation of America”

“[Almost] everyone you speak to in this country has a similar story to tell, because we are, in fact, a nation of immigrants, bound together by a shared belief in justice, equality and the freedom to pursue a better life. In this context, last week’s executive order barring immigrants and refugees from seven Middle-Eastern countries from entering the United States is not simply immoral, it violates the very spirit and foundation of America. […]

“And so all day this Friday, 3 February (starting at 12.01 am Pacific Time), for any purchase you make on Bandcamp we will be donating 100% of our share of the proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union, who are working tirelessly to combat these discriminatory and unconstitutional actions.”

Bandcamp announced last April it had paid US$150 million to artists on the platform since its founding in 2008.

IQ spoke to promoters and agents in the Americas in November about what Trump’s shock election means for the international live music industry.

 


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Musictoday finds a buyer

Musictoday, the formerly Live Nation-owned direct-to-fan (D2F) platform which filed for bankruptcy in September, has found a buyer in the form of one of its lenders, Hillair Capital Investments.

Investment firm Hillair was last month accused of seeking to acquire Musictoday and parent company Delivery Agent at a less-than-competitive price, to the detriment of other creditors. However, no other buyers have come forward to match its offer – which wipes out close to US$20 million of Delivery Agent’s debt – and an agreement was reached yesterday, between Hillair and the previously hostile committee of unsecured creditors.

“The parties acted in good faith with regards to the sale process”

In a court filing approving the sale, Delaware bankruptcy judge Laurie Selber Silverstein writes that he’s confident both parties “acted in good faith with regard[s] to the sale process”.

San Francisco-based Delivery Agent bought Musictoday from Live Nation in August 2014.

 


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D2F platform Musictoday files for bankruptcy

Delivery Agent, the parent company of direct-to-fan ecommerce site Musictoday, has gone into administration.

The San Francisco-based company’s founder and CEO, Mike Fitzsimmons, describes the move – which, like SFX Entertainment, sees it file for chapter-11 bankruptcy protection in the US bankruptcy court of Delaware – as a “very positive development for our company and our customers”.

“Through these proceedings we’re initiating a process that preserves company value, allows the company to reorganise its business affairs and establishes a necessary foundation for future growth and profitability,” adds Fitzsimmons (pictured). The company will continue to trade as normal until a buyer is found.

“Through these proceedings we’re initiating a process that preserves company value, allows the company to reorganise its business affairs and establishes a necessary foundation for future growth and profitability”

In addition to merch marketplace Musictoday, which Delivery Agent purchased from Live Nation in August 2014, also for sale are promotional marketing company Clean Fun and T-commerce platform Shop the Shows (trading as ShopTV).

In a statement, Delivery Agent – represented by financial advisors Matthew English and Howard Bailey, of Arch + Beam, and financial advisors Keller & Benvenutti and Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl & Jones – affirms its commitment to “maximising value for all stakeholders” and says it expects the sale to be completed “before the end of the year”.

 


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